We won’t know the outcome of Bears’ new General Manager Phil Emery’s roster decisions until the season is over, but as a Bears fan, you have to be impressed with Emery’s approach toward improving the overall talent on the roster. Emery has stood by his introductory press conference when he said he would do just that.
Something Emery has done, where former Bears’ G.M. Jerry Angelo failed miserably, has been to surround Jay Cutler with weapons that will help maximize his potential. Emery didn’t give Jay a Roy Williams-type reclamation project, but instead a top-flight WR in Brandon Marshall who has on-field chemistry with Jay.
Emery compounded the Marshall acquisition by drafting a similar type player once considered a top-15 talent in former South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery. And just when you thought Emery was done putting weapons around Jay in the Draft, he selected hybrid FB/TE Evan Rodriguez in the fourth-round. Rodriguez has drawn comparisons to Patriots’ dual-weapon Aaron Hernandez.
While there are still some fans who feel the Bears’ front office should “Pay Da Man,” Emery has handled the situation in a way I wasn’t expecting a rookie G.M. to handle it. He has set up the dominos in such a way so that all the little leverage Forte had is now gone. Michael Bush might not be the top-end talent that Forte is, but he’s a starting caliber back, and when you combine that with the weapons complimenting the run game, Forte’s value to the team diminishes a bit.
While Emery has put his stamp on the offense, making sure Cutler is surrounded by as much talent as possible, he also bolstered some spots on a defense that’s already built to compete for a Championship. Additional outside pass rush, defensive back and linebacker depth were the most pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball, and for the most part, Emery has answered those needs.
First-round draft pick Shea McClellin is thought of to be the answer for outside pass rush help opposite Julius Peppers, while third- and sixth-round draft picks SS Brandon Hardin and CB Isaiah Frey are expected to bolster depth in the defensive backfield. The draft picks add to the depth created signing veteran free agents Kelvin Hayden and Tim Jennings, who Emery brought back on a 2-year deal.
The roster moves Phil Emery has made in his first season as Bears’ G.M. justify the characteristic owner George McCaskey, Team President Ted Phillips, scouts, and media around the NFL had associated with Emery. Seems to me Emery evaluated this team thoroughly using not only last season, but many seasons.
What killed this team last season were depth problems at key positions, and Emery in his first year has created a team with good depth, and with some positions likely to create fierce training camp battles.
It’s early in Emery’s tenure as Bears’ G.M. but judging by the moves and personnel decisions in his first year, he has this team’s arrow pointing in the right direction.