When Phil Emery entered the Halas Hall auditorium the day after firing Lovie Smith last month, the Chicago Bears general manager was prepared to cover a wide range of topics.
Emery was ready to talk about the decision to release Smith after working with him for one season. He outlined what he was seeking in a new coach and in very general terms how the search would be launched. He was also ready to cover what he did and didn’t do in outfitting the offensive line for the 2012 season – in detail.
Asked about the play of the line in a 10-6 season, Emery took more than 10 minutes and 1,400 words responding to a single question. At times it was insightful as he explained how he used data from outside sources like Stats LLC and Pro Football Focus. He finds third-party evaluations of pass blocking somewhat useful but said run blocking is more abstract. It was telling, honest and unvarnished. At times he came across somewhat defensive but he was thorough – very thorough.
Emery made what many believe was the right move when he took over – prioritizing playmakers over all else. He thoroughly explained the decision process that led to a trade for Brandon Marshall and the use of a second-round draft pick on wide receiver Alshon Jeffery instead of selecting what would have been a developmental offensive lineman.
In the process of explaining the move, Emery noted that their was a dearth of "franchise" left tackles in the free-agent market. The market is different this year with as many as seven starting left tackles coming out of contract around the league. Add a solid mix of offensive linemen in the 2013 draft into the equation and the Bears will have options when prioritizing a personnel plan for the offseason.
Roll call: Cory Brandon (signed through 2013), James Brown (signed through 2014), Gabe Carimi (signed through 2014), Roberto Garza (signed through 2013), Lance Louis (unrestricted free agent), Chilo Rachal (unrestricted free agent), Jonathan Scott (unrestricted free agent), Chris Spencer (unrestricted free agent), J’Marcus Webb (signed through 2013), Edwin Williams (signed through 2013)
Bears position analysis: Offensive line
Chicago Tribune | Feb 14