Bears

Bears hire Emery as GM

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Bears hire Emery as GM

The last time Phil Emery was a member of the Bears organization, the likes of Lance Briggs, Mike Brown, Tommie Harris, Olin Kreutz, Charles Tillman and Brian Urlacher were acquired via the NFL draft.

All that is expected now is for Emery to deliver something close to that.

Emery emerged from a field of five semifinalists and two finalists to become the fifth general manager in franchise history, reaching agreement with the Bears on a multi-year contract with the prime directive of getting the Bears firmly into the ranks of the NFC elite.

Emery interviewed Friday with Bears President Ted Phillips for the second time and was then approved of by team ownership as the successor to Jerry Angelo, fired shortly after the end of the 2011 season.

The end-game selection process began with five candidates interviewing with Phillips and other members of the Bears front office: Emery, Jason Licht from the New England Patriots, the other finalist along with Emery; Jimmy Raye from the San Diego Chargers; Marc Ross from the New York Giants; and Tim Ruskell, currently Bears player personnel director. It was not immediately clear whether Ruskell will remain with the organization.

Among the major responsibilities, short term and long, waiting for Emery are the 2012 draft, in which the Bears hold four picks in the first three rounds, and free agency, in which the Bears are expected to be an impact player in search of a wide receiver.

Coach Lovie Smith is in place for this season and is under contract for 2013. Smiths future after this season will be an Emery decision in the future, including whether or not to extend Smiths contract assuming a strong 2012 season.

This will be Emerys second stint with the Bears after working as an area scout for the franchise from 1998-2004.

From 2004-08, Emery served as director of college scouting for the Atlanta Falcons. During that time, two of the three Falcons first round draft picks developed into Pro Bowlers: WR Roddy White (2005) and QB Matt Ryan (2008). Emery also worked as a regional scout for the Falcons leading up to the 2009 draft. The Falcons made two trips to the playoffs during that time including an appearance in the 2004 NFC Championship game.

Emery, a native of Michigan, is a 31-year football veteran, starting his career serving as a student assistant at his alma mater, Wayne State, before joining Central Michigan as a graduate assistant (1981-82). He went on to become the offensive linestrength and conditioning coach at Western New Mexico for three seasons (1982-84) before becoming a defensive line coach at Georgetown College from 1984-85.

Emery went on to serve as the defensive line and strength and conditioning coach at Saginaw Valley State from 1985-87 before joining Tennessee as the Volunteers assistant strength and conditioning coach from 1987-91.

His tenure at Tennessee was highlighted by back-to-back Southeastern Conference Championships in 1989 and 1990. He made his last collegiate stop as director of strength and conditioning services and as an associate professor at the U.S. Naval Academy (1991-98), where the Midshipmen won the Aloha Bowl in 1996.

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

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USA Today

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

Chicago Bears training camp is right around the corner with the first practice (non-padded) scheduled for July 21. 

Bears veterans and rookies will report a few days ahead of that first session to acclimate themselves to their new (for some) surroundings. Rookies report on July 16, with veterans coming three days later on July 19.

All eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky and the potentially high-flying offense under coach Matt Nagy. Training camp will take on extra importance because of the plethora of new faces on the roster and coaching staff as well as the installation of a completely new offensive scheme. It's critical that Trubisky builds chemistry with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Kevin White, all of whom he's never thrown a regular-season pass to. Add Trey Burton to that mix and a lot of miscues should be expected in the preseason.

The rookie class is led by linebacker Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned. With less than 30 days until rookies are required to report, a greater sense of urgency -- even if it's not quite a panic -- is certainly creeping in. Assuming he's signed in time, Smith should earn a starting role early in training camp and ascend to one of the defense's top all-around players. 

The Bears have higher-than-usual expectations heading into the 2018 season making fans eager for summer practices to get underway.

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

The Chicago Bears need a big season from outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He's the team's best pass-rush option and the only legitimate threat to post double-digit sacks this year.

Floyd joined the Bears as a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in 2016 and has flashed freakish talent at times. The problem has been his health; he's appeared in only 22 games through his first two seasons. 

Floyd's rookie year -- especially Weeks 5 through 9 -- showed a glimpse of the kind of disruptive force he's capable of becoming. He registered seven sacks and looked poised to breakout in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only 10 games and four sacks.

Despite his disappointing sophomore season, NFL.com's Gil Brandt has high hopes for Floyd in 2018. The long-time NFL personnel executive named Floyd as the Bear with the best chance to earn a first-time trip to the Pro Bowl.

CHICAGO BEARS: Leonard Floyd, OLB, third NFL season. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie in 2016, but missed six games last season due to a knee injury. He's a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season. He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.

The Bears will be in a heap of trouble if Floyd doesn't emerge as a Pro Bowl caliber player. There aren't many pass-rushing options on the roster outside of Floyd aside from Aaron Lynch and rookie Kylie Fitts. Neither edge defender has a resume strong enough to rely on as insurance.

It's a critical year for Floyd's future in Chicago, too. General manager Ryan Pace will decide whether to pick up Floyd's fifth-year option in his rookie contract next offseason. If he plays well, it's a no-brainer. If not, Pace could be looking at two straight first-round picks (see: Kevin White) that he's declined the extra year.

We're a long way from that decision. Until then, the Bears' season may sink or swim based on its pass rush. It begins -- and ends -- with Floyd.