INDIANAPOLIS -- With the Chicago Bears missing the playoffs four of the last five years under former general manager Jerry Angelo and current head coach Lovie Smith, their fans were eager to hear new boss Phil Emery lay out his new vision for the organization moving forward.
"I know we found the right guy," Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said to kick off the festivities.
Only time will tell if Phillips is right.
Here is a brief overview of Emery's philosophies, or at least the ones he was willing to share to an auditorium full of reporters Monday at Halas Hall.
Lovie Smith: Emery said he was “excited" about being involved with the Bears’ head coach, which was actually a pre-requisite for the job. But he dodged multiple questions about Smith's future, saying on numerous occassions that his “head isn't there right now.” Emery went as far as to say he and Smith will work together to form the final vision of the roster and the draft.
Draft: Emery said he has “a very good feel for the composition of this draft,” which is what you would expect to hear from a veteran college scouting director. The plan, according to Emery, is to "raise your own", building the team through the draft and augmenting the roster via free agency. Perhaps the most interesting part of the media session came when Emery described the differences between the way he approaches the draft compared to Angelo. According to Emery, "how we grade players is different, how we structure the staff, the grading scale is different, how we apply the grading scale, our balance between the pro and college sides [are different].”
Staff: Emery praised the current group of Bears scouts, but plans to hire more talent evaluators following the draft. According to Emery, "we'll have the resources we need to build our staff." Expect the Bears to hire a seperate director of pro personnel and a director of college scouting in the wake of Tim Ruskell leaving the organization on Monday.
Forte's contract: Emery labeled the specifics about Matt Forte "an internal matter", but did call the franchise tag a tool that was collectively bargained and is fair to the players and the teams. "I do know Matt the player and we have evaluated Matt extensively," Emery said. "But that's an internal matter. We don't discuss those things -- contracts, contract statuses. We are not going to show our cards."
Wide receiver: Another "internal matter". Emery said he will not discuss potential players or specific areas of need.
No. 2 quarterback: That also falls under the category of an internal matter.
Current Bears roster: Emery called Jay Cutler "a fine quarterback." He called Brian Urlacher "a player who is still making plays." The age of the defense is not a problem for Emery, as long as the players continue to be "playmakers".
Personal: Emery models himself most after Kansas City Chiefs executive Scott Pioli, who enjoyed tremendous success with Bill Belichick in New England. Emery says he is quite familiar with “the Patriot way,” but that new situations sometimes call for the plan to be altered to a certain degree.