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Phil Emery Chooses Upgrading Over Relying on Trend Development

Bears' general manager Phil Emery went out and got two new receivers last season, and this season added a tackle and tight end.


By and large, I'm not one that's given to running counter to moves made by my favorite team's general manager - I trust the guys running the team to make better evaluations than I could and make the appropriate transactions, even if I disagree. Frankly, there's probably a reason that I am not in charge of the team, so I try not to criticize those that actually are.

So when a move happens like picking up Jermon Bushrod, I had a little pause. It's not that I don't think Jermon Bushrod is a good player; nor do I think J'Marcus Webb is a better player. With the other needs the Bears have, I think the Bears could have spent Bushrod's money a little more productively.

But, then again, I'm not in charge of the Bears, so I have to look at what the current general manager might be thinking, whether they're right or wrong. And admittedly, I like how Emery approached the Bushrod signing.

"But Steven, you just said you'd have started with Webb at tackle!" Again, that's why I'm not in charge.

A lot of why I would accept Webb still at left tackle hinges on his development continuing to improve. We've seen Webb's floor; it's about as pretty as a Packers' Cheerleader meme. We've also seen that Webb over the last couple years is improving decently... And yet, he's still not statistically up to Bushrod.

Meanwhile, in Bushrod, you have his former offensive line coach from New Orleans (and, well, his current coach). Bushrod's also young and entering his prime and played in a high-volume passing offense, which gave him more chances to make plays.

It's certainly possible Emery just isn't a member of J'Webb Nation - after all, Webb was a Tice guy. It's also cleaning out some of the older regime's players and getting the new regime's guys in there.

But what Emery's chosen to do by signing Bushrod is not accept development for granted; he acquired a good young talent and reunited that talent with its coach. He identifies a weakness, he identifies a guy to fill that weakness and he attacks it with fervor. He did it last year with Brandon Marshall, he did it first this year with Martellus Bennett, and he's doing it again with Bushrod.

That doesn't mean that Emery won't develop players under his watch - after all, the roster does have Shea McClellin and Brandon Hardin. But Emery isn't averse to going out and getting what he views are net upgrades.