Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery will now enter his second year with the Chicago Bears facing the biggest decision of his career. Will Emery keep Lovie Smith as head coach, or will he go in a new direction, his own direction.
With teams like the Vikings, Colts, Redskins, Seahawks, 49ers, and Seahawks; just to name a few showing the ability to go from really bad to really good in a couple of years there is pressure. The onus is on Emery to make a decision to get the Bears to the playoffs within the next two seasons.
Jay Cutler will turn 30-years-old before the start of the 2013 season and the Bears will have to take advantage of the window in which he'll be in the prime of his career. Emery's decision will have to be geared towards getting the best out of Jay Cutler.
If he retains Lovie Smith, then he needs to be the man who makes the next offensive coordinator hire. Offense has to be the focus to get this team back on the winning track. The Bears can no longer rely on their defense to keep them competitive.
Emery will have to take over full responsibility for the 53-man roster and have little to no input from Smith. Smith allowed Martz to make moves on offense that weakened the team. Notably trading away Greg Olsen while assuming that Kellen Davis was on his level.
Smith has had too much input within the overall structure of the roster from hanging on to Mark Anderson, Tommie Smith, Devin Hester and Mike Brown far too long. Emery has to take control of the team and shape it's destiny.
If that destiny is to be shaped under the direction of Lovie Smith then you can likely expect more of the same. That means drafting yet another safety, while passing on an offensive linemen or a play maker on offense.
The way the league is structured now, it is incumbent on Emery to make the Bears competitive and soon. The idea that organizations can't be turned around in one to three years is a thing of the past.
Look no further than the Jim Harbaugh hire as an example of a coach that didn't need to completely overhaul a team to be successful. Then look to the Indianapolis Colts who essentially overhauled their team and went from worst to a playoff team in year one under Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians.
Even the Minnesota Vikings turned it around in one year like the Colts going from the second worst record in the NFL to the playoffs.
Those are the results Emery needs to get out of the Bears starting today. Emery has a leg up, he has a franchise quarterback in place. He has two of the best offensive skill position players in the NFL in Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. Now he must use those assets to make the Bears a Super Bowl contender within three years.
As it stands now Emery has a lot to improve upon from year one. His biggest splash move was the Brandon Marshall trade, which he gets great credit for. However his failure to address the offensive line in the draft or during free agency stands out as a glaring problem.
Emery has plenty of time to not let his first year define his legacy, but retaining or firing Lovie Smith will be his legacy. The shift to the Bears becoming a top offensive team needs to happen now, and Emery has to be the catalyst.