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Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery Talks to Sports Illustrated

May 23, 2012; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery in attendance during organized team activities at Halas Hall.  Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
May 23, 2012; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery in attendance during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

In yesterday's Bears Den, Spongie brought Peter King's Monday Morning QB column to our attention, but with Memorial Day putting a dent in our usual readership we wanted to bring the piece to light again for those that may have missed it. King talked to Chicago Bears General Manager Emery about his past, his philosophy, and his new receivers. After the jump some highlights...

Emery learned a lot about scouting from Steve Belichick, yes, Bill's father.

At Navy, Emery spent time with Steve Belichick, the academy's original strength and conditioning coach, and learned much about scouting -- because at the time Steve was doing some of it for son Bill, then the coach of the Browns. "Just sitting and talking football with Steve was invaluable,'' Emery said.

Even though Emery never worked closely with five time Super Bowl head coach Bill Belichick, he learned from three men that that were very close to him, the elder Belichick, and former Patriot employees Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff. Pioli has worked in the front office of five different franchise's including his current job as GM of the Chiefs. And Demitroff, who started his scouting career as an NFL Scout for the World League, has been on scouting staffs of four NFL teams, and is the current GM of the Falcons. Emery has has a very fortunate upbringing in the scouting world, but his career path isn't withough bumps in the road;

But when Dimitroff took over as GM of the Falcons in 2008, he demoted Emery to regional scout, something that Emery -- if you believe his strident words -- never took offense to. "I never thought of quitting,'' he said. "I've always thought, whatever my task is, just do it.''

I think his 'put your head down' work ethic is something that has endeared him to Bears fans so far... well either that or his revamping of the receiving corps.

Here's his philosophy as told to Peter King;

Emery's philosophy, he said, is to find players with growth potential, who make plays, who play like they love football. "I want the players with the high ceilings, with the largest capacity for growth,'' he said. "And I believe every aspect of that player is on tape. You can see him, you can read him.''

He aggressively moved to get two receivers that he loved on tape. He moved up in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft to tab Alshon Jeffery, but the biggie was trading two 3rd round picks for 3 time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall.

Marshall is arguably one of the most productive wide outs in the game today. In the last five years there are only three players with 80+ receptions and 1,000+ yards in each of those seasons, Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, and Roddy White. So getting him for a paltry couple of thirds was a steal, or a gamble if you take into account his past. Something Emery obviously did.

"People have the capacity to change,'' Emery said. "He's an intelligent guy, and he's accepted his faults, and he's working toward improving them. I thought about it a lot. Isn't that what we'd want out of our children? They might stumble, but when they do, they seriously try to improve their lives. We felt if there was a place Brandon would fit, it was here.''

In just one off season Emery has managed to drastically change the Bears offense, on paper at least, and he realizes he has more work to do. Be sure to check out the full Peter King article, then come back here for some always astute Bears discussion.