Bears

Emery's presser falls nothing short of impressive

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Emery's presser falls nothing short of impressive

Bears general manager Phil Emery addressed the media today to discuss his controversial decision to fire Lovie Smith and also provide perspective on what he is looking for in a new head coach for the Chicago Bears.

It was one of the most impressive, insightful, and informative breakdowns of a football team fans or media get the pleasure of experiencing. Emery took everyone on a well-detailed ride into the multiple variables that earned him his role as a general manager in the NFL.

Emery journeyed from one place to another; from the complexities of the draft to statistics gathered during free agency player ratings for team construction. The information he shared also included a brief tutorial on the checks and balances of the federal government in comparison to the synergy Emery believes is a vital quality between himself and the Bears' next head coach.

RELATED: No playoffs = no championship chances cost Smith his job

Overall, Emery gave everyone a glimpse into the fine-toothed comb of data collection in order to make informed sound decisions to build a championship-caliber football team. Getting to experience the leadership displayed by the Bears' top decision maker was a breath of fresh air. Emerys delivery was confident, sound, and fact based. He did not hide or run away from any tough question asked by the media.

In fact, at one point during the press conference, Emery encouraged them: I will stay here as long as you need to answer any questions. True to his word, he did just that.

There wasnt any aspect concerning the Bears that Emery did not cover, other than personal future player contracts. Instead, he preferred to keep that information between himself and the player.

But he did discuss extensively what he is looking for in a new head coach.

"The next head coach must display expertise to take all of the unique talents we have to build a championship team," Emery said, although he did not look to put the blame on Smith. "I needed to provide more talent. Put in on me."

But Emery did expect Smith and will hold his next head coach accountable to utilize the talents available.

They must have the knowledge and flexibility to transform talents we have into a winning formula for a championship team," the Bears GM said.

The Bears offensive failures played a huge part in Smiths dismissal, but Emery made it clear its not all about quarterback Jay Cutler.

There are 10 other guys where the coach much maximize their talent, Emery said before commenting on Cutler's future with the franchise. I am convinced of Jays talents as a franchise quarterback, but we must build around Jay.

Clearly Emerys next step for the Bears is to find a head coach who can adapt Cutlers talents towards winning a championship.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game? 

Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

Collecting some final thoughts on if Tarik Cohen isn't getting enough snaps for the Bears

Collecting some final thoughts on if Tarik Cohen isn't getting enough snaps for the Bears

John Fox on Friday sought to clarify some comments he made earlier in the week about Tarik Cohen that seemed to follow some spurious logic. Here’s what Fox said on Wednesday when asked if he’d like to see Cohen be more involved in the offensive game plan:

“You’re looking at one game,” Fox said, referencing Cohen only playing 13 of 60 snaps against the Green Bay Packers. “Sometimes the defense dictates who gets the ball. I think from a running standpoint it was a game where we didn’t run the ball very effectively. I think we only ran it 17 times. I believe Jordan Howard, being the fifth leading rusher in the league, probably commanded most of that. I think he had 15 carries. 

“It’s a situation where we’d like to get him more touches, but it just didn’t materialize that well on that day. But I’d remind people that he’s pretty high up there in both punt returns, he’s our leading receiver with 29 catches, so it’s not like we don’t know who he is.”

There were some clear holes to poke in that line of reasoning, since the question wasn’t about Cohen’s touches, but his snap count. Cohen creates matchup problems when he’s on the field for opposing defenses, who can be caught having to double-team him (thus leaving a player uncovered, i.e. Kendall Wright) or matching up a linebacker against him (a positive for the Bears). The ball doesn’t have to be thrown Cohen’s way for his impact to be made, especially if he’s on the field at the same time as Howard. 

“They don’t know who’s getting the ball, really, and they don’t know how to defend it properly,” Howard said. “… It definitely can dictate matchups.”

There are certain scenarios in which the Bears don’t feel comfortable having Cohen on the field, like in third-and-long and two-minute drills, where Benny Cunningham’s veteran experience and pass protection skills are valued. It may be harder to create a mismatch or draw a double team with Cohen against a nickel package. It's easier to justify leaving a 5-foot-6 running back on the sidelines in those situations. 

But if the Bears need Cohen to be their best playmaker, as offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said last month, they need to find a way for him to be on the field more than a shade over one in every five plays. As Fox explained it on Friday, though, it’s more about finding the right spots for Cohen, not allowing opposing defenses to dictate when he’s on the field. 

“We have Tarik Cohen out there, we're talking about touches, not play time, we're talking about touches so if they double or triple cover him odds are the ball is not going to him, in fact we'd probably prefer it didn’t,” Fox said. “So what I meant by dictating where the ball goes, that's more related to touches than it is play time. I just want to make sure I clarify that. So it's not so much that they dictate personnel to you. Now if it's in a nickel defense they have a certain package they run that may create a bad matchup for you, that might dictate what personnel group you have out there not just as it relates to Tarik Cohen but to your offense in general. You don't want to create a bad matchup for your own team. I hope that makes sense.”

There’s another wrinkle here, though, that should be addressed: Loggains said this week that defenses rarely stick to the tendencies they show on film when Cohen is on the field. That’s not only a problem for Cohen, but it’s a problem for Mitchell Trubisky, who hasn’t always had success against defensive looks he hasn’t seen on film before. And if the Bears are trying to minimize the curveballs Trubisky sees, not having Cohen on the field for a high volume of plays would be one way to solve that. 

This is also where the Bears’ lack of offensive weapons factors in. Darren Sproles, who Cohen will inexorably be linked to, didn’t play much as a rookie — but that was on a San Diego Chargers team that had LaDanian Tomlinson, Keenan McCardell and Antonio Gates putting up big numbers. There were other options on that team; the Bears have a productive Howard and a possibly-emerging Dontrelle Inman, but not much else. 

So as long as Cohen receives only a handful of snaps on a team with a paucity of playmakers, this will continue to be a topic of discussion. Though if you’re looking more at the future of the franchise instead of the short-term payoffs, that we’re having a discussion about a fourth-round pick not being used enough is a good thing.