Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/28/12

CHICAGO - JANUARY 21: General Manager of the Chicago Bears Jerry Angelo looks on after defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game January 21, 2007 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Chicago Bears have announced that Phil Emery will become the team’s new general manager replacing Jerry Angelo who was a fired two days after the final game of the 2011 season. Emery has been the director of college scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs for three years and is familiar with the Bears’ organization during his time as an area scout from 1998 to 2004. He will be introduced at a press conference on Monday January 30th at 2:00pm CST.
 
Emery was one of five candidates the Bears interviewed the week before the NFC Championship Game and was brought back for a second interview last Friday. The other four candidates that were brought in for initial interviews were Patriots director of player personnel Jason Licht, who was also brought in for a second interview, Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, and Bears interim general manager Tim Ruskell.  
Emery is expected to have full control over all Chicago Bear personnel decisions and expected to have the ability to re-evaluate Lovie Smith as head coach of the team after the 2012 season. Contracts for the Bears’ pro and college scouting staffs expire in March but most are expected to be retained with very few changes expected.
 
Emery’s main responsibility will be to improve the Bears’ draft and build depth throughout the roster. The lack of the depth behind the Bears’ starters showed itself after Jay Cutler broke his thumb during Bears’ victory over the Chargers that stretched the team’s win streak to five and put them at the top of the wild card race with a 7-3 record. Matt Forte went down with a knee injury the following week in the first quarter against the Raiders and the Bears’ season went into free-fall from there. The Bears’ lost five straight games to fall out of the race for a wild card playoff spot and finished 8-8.
 
The lack of depth in talent on the roster has also been exposed by their record of playoff appearances over the last 11 seasons with Jerry Angelo as general manager. The Bears were defeated in the Divisional Round in 2001, then were absent from the postseason until 2005, Lovie Smith’s second year as head coach. After losing in Super Bowl XLI to the Indianapolis Colts after the 2006 season they didn’t make it back to the playoffs until 2010.
 
Emery received a ringing endorsement from Chiefs’ general manager Scott Pioli who said, “He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around. I can’t overemphasize the hard working part. He’s outstanding at his job. Detailed, meticulous, organized.” He will need to be with all the position groups on the Bears that need to be addressed and upgraded.
 
Jay Cutler was brought in to be the franchise quarterback in 2009 but the team has failed to upgrade the talent on the receiving corps and on the offensive line to protect him. Jay Cutler is a quarterback who is mobile in the pocket and can run when necessary but was still sacked the most times in the league in 2010 when he was dropped 52 times for 352 yards lost.
 
On defense, four key players are over thirty years old with a minimum of eight years in the league and no one on the roster to take back them up if they go down to injury, let alone replace them as a quality starter. Brian Urlacher is 33 years old and has been in the league 11 seasons, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs are 31, and Charles Tillman is 30.
 
More specifics of what fans can expect from Phil Emery will be cleared up at the press conference on Monday but the Bears now have their choice in place to guide the team through free agency and the draft in preparation for the 2012 season.

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