As the Bears' list of candidates to replace Lovie Smith grows daily, so does talk around the NFL that Phil Emery is abusing the interview process. As a Bear fan, I am loving this approach.
There are no rules in the NFL stipulating that a GM can only interview a set amount of candidates. Such a rule would clearly be handcuffing teams: if a GM interviewed ten candidates, yet did not find any of them to be the right fit, it would be in the NFL's best interest to allow that team to continue to interview until the right coach for that team was found. While this may not be the exact case with Phil Emery, the point remains that the Bears' GM is simply doing whatever he can to improve this team as much as he can during this off-season. For that, I applaud him.
I understand that critics of Emery's approach feel he is abusing the head coaching vacancy on his team in order to gain as much insight into his roster as possible. The issue with that argument is that there are no existing rules to prohibit such actions.
Bears fans are used to GMs providing mind-numbing press conferences and head-scratching roster decisions. Since Emery's dazzling press conference upon Lovie's release, the GM has only continued to surprise. Emery has a unique opportunity right now to hear as many opinions about his team as possible, and he is using it to the fullest extent.
Let the critics cry in an uproar that such a technique should be frowned upon. If they were Bear fans, I doubt they would care, and any GM who wouldn't do the same thing in Emery's position is not deserving of their title. For once, Bears fans know that the GM has a brain, and is not afraid to use it.
Perhaps, in his extensive amount of interviews, Emery will be "wowed" by a candidate that he did not originally expect to be a serious contender for the position. As long as he is allowed to be as thorough as he wants, the more thorough Emery is, the better. Every piece of information Emery hears during this search could be valuable to the Bears moving forward.
This is not cheating: it's not the Patriots having having secret tape of their opponents' practice. This is not Emery colluding with coordinators or other candidates. Emery is simply interviewing everyone he can, which clearly gives him the best opportunity to hire the best coach for the Chicago Bears.
For every outcry that this is unacceptable, I say Emery should tack on another interview. If people in the NFL have an issue with this, then it needs to be taken up with the league so that some remedy can be found. This would require an almost impossibly specific set of guidelines (how could the league prove any candidate interviewed by a GM was done so simply to gain information?), and that is likely why no such guidelines exist as of yet.
To those complaining about Emery's tactics, I recommend holding your breath. Given the opportunity, unless they were narrow-minded, every other GM in the league should be committed to their team the way Phil Emery is. He obviously is not concerned about what his critics are saying, and deserves a round of applause for his dedication to improving the Bears.
I know now that Emery wants the Bears to be as good as possible as quickly as possible. For once, the Bears have a GM who is proving that with both his words and his actions.