Bears

Emery will change Bears, but not in a rush

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Emery will change Bears, but not in a rush

If Phil Emery believes the Bears need to upgrade at wide receiver, cornerback, offensive line or anywhere else, he isnt saying. And the new Bears general manager doesnt plan to, either.

If getting running back Matt Forte signed to a long-term contract or whether the Bears will use their franchise tag. Same thing.

When it comes time to publicly assess our needs or players that we have targeted, we will not do that, Emery said on Monday at his introductory press conference at Halas Hall.

I feel that is a competitive disadvantage to do so. We will know internally what our needs are We will not give away our competitive advantage to outline who those individuals or at what position they are. What is going to be targeted are good football players, producers, dynamic football players who can help this team grow.

The Bears believe that growing began in earnest with the hiring of Emery to replace Jerry Angelo, general manager for the last 11 years.
Philosophy changes coming

As expected, player personnel director Tim Ruskell did not stay around Halas Hall long after failing to make the cut as a finalist. Ruskell departed Lake Forest Monday morning after an announced mutually agreed upon parting of the ways.

His exit leaves Emery without a college or pro scouting director, two jobs that had been combined in Jerry Angelos final years. Ruskell was primarily responsible for both areas.

Emery said that he has a planned organizational structure in mind but will not make major changes until after the draft.

What will be happening as of Monday is a shift toward a Bears version of the Patriot system, which Emery learned working for former New England executives Thomas Dimitroff, with Atlanta, and Scott Pioli, with Kansas City.

And while Lovie Smith treasures speed over size, its a big-mans game, Emery said. There are smaller players that have success but overall, history will show you this is a big-mans game.

The Lovie Smith relationship

Emery took the job with the understanding that Smith will remain as head coach for 2012, with a contract that runs through 2013. No relationship is more important in the immediate future of an organization that prizes consistency.

Weve had consistency in our coaching staff, Emery said. I have great respect for what Lovie has done, the consistency, the teaching, being systematic.

When I watched Lovie Smiths defense, those players played fast because they know the scheme. So consistency is important.

Emery stressed that he and Smith would develop their plan on players that they agree upon. That would also include the plan for the player after the draft, not simply on what is done on draft day.

Emery will have final say on the 53-man roster.

I have that authority, Emery said. But thats not where my head is. My mind is on helping everyone in this buiiding advance and have a consistent winner.

Franchise-tagging

He, like Angelo, will have the primary say over what the Bears are willing to do for running back Matt Forte.

Forte is unlikely to be heartened by Emery replacing Angelo, who made no secret of his comfort level with the franchise tag in the event that contract agreement cannot be reached.

Emery knows where the tag came from and said he considers it fair to both sides.

It is a tool that has been collectively bargained, Emery said. It is fair to the player and fair to the club. Thats part of the collective bargaining agreement.

When Emery was a college scout for the Atlanta Falcons, he evaluated Forte extensively. He has done some evaluating since then.

But in terms of franchise tags and where we are, thats an internal matterthat we will not discuss as a competitive matter and showing our opponents our cards.

Putting Bill Belichick’s complimentary comments about the Bears in context

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USA TODAY

Putting Bill Belichick’s complimentary comments about the Bears in context

Bill Belichick had plenty of good things to say about Matt Nagy and the 2018 Bears during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Some of the highlights:

 

On the Bears’ season as a whole:

 

“The Bears have lost two games, one on a game when they were in control of the game and another one they lost in overtime. This really looks like a 5-0 team to me, if you change one or two plays. You can say that about a lot of teams, but that’s the league we’re in.”

 

On Mitch Trubisky:

 

“I think he’s done a good job of getting ball to the players that are open or in space and letting them be playmakers. He has a lot of them. That’s the quarterback’s job is to deliver the ball to the playmakers and let them go. I think he’s done a good job of that. He’s a tough kid, which I respect. That’s what we would ask our quarterbacks to do, to make plays to help our team win, to get the ball to the players that are open and in space. It’s not about stats. It’s about doing what you need to do to win.”

 

On Tarik Cohen’s usage:

 

“He plays about a little bit less than 50 percent of the time and he’s in a lot of different places, he’s hard to find. He’s a dynamic player that can run, catch, really threaten every yard of the field from sideline to sideline, up the middle, deep. You can throw it to him, you can hand it to him and he’s elusive with the ball and he’s elusive to be able to get open so the quarterback can get him the ball. Those are great skills to have. Any one of those is good and he’s got several of them.

 

“He’s very hard to tackle. But they do a great job mixing him, not just putting him in the game but who he’s in the game with, what the combinations are and then where they locate him and so forth. There are a lot of multiples. It’s hard. Coach Nagy does a good job with that and he’s a special player that you gotta know where he is at all times.”

 

On Trubisky’s 54-yard bomb to Taylor Gabriel on Sunday:

 

“That’s about as good a throw and catch as I’ve seen all year. The execution on that was like 99 out of 100. It was a great, great throw, great route, great catch. There was like a few inches to get the ball in there 50 yards downfield and that’s where it was.”

 

On Akiem Hicks’ impact, who played for the Patriots in 2015:

 

“He’s hard to block. It doesn’t make any difference what the play is, you can run to him and he’s hard to block. You can run away from him, and he makes tackles for loss on the back side. He’s quick and can get around those blocks when there’s more space back there because everybody is going to the front side. He can power rush. He can rush the edges with his quickness. He’s a very, very disruptive player. He’s hard to block on everything.

 

“I appreciate all of the plays he makes. He makes plays on all three downs, against all types of plays, whether it’s reading screen passes or power rushing the pocket to help the ends, to help (Leonard) Floyd and Mack and (Aaron) Lynch rush on the edge. He’s a powerful, disruptive guy. (Eddie) Goldman has done a good job of that. (Bilal) Nichols has done a good job of that too. They have some really powerful guys inside that are hard to block, and they change the line of scrimmage in the running game and the passing game. It really creates a problem, frees up the linebackers in the running game and helps the ends because the quarterback can’t step up in the pocket in the passing game.”

 

On Matt Nagy:

 

“Obviously he's done a great job, as has Ryan with building the team. They have a lot of good players. They have a really experienced staff and they do a great job in all three areas of the game. They're good in the kicking game, they're good on defense they're good on offense. They have highly-skilled players in all three areas.

 

“It's a well-balanced football team that does a lot of things well. Run the ball. Stop the run. Throw the ball. Rush the passer. Intercept passes. Return kicks. Cover kicks. Cover punts. They're at the top of the league in all those categories. Turnovers. Points off turnovers. It doesn't really matter what area you want to talk about, they're pretty good at all of them. That's why they're a good football team.

 

“Coach Nagy and his staff certainly deserve a lot of credit. It's not a one-man band. They're all doing a good job. It's a good football team. I'm sure there will be a lot of energy in the stadium this week. It will be a great test for us to go into Chicago and be competitive against them.”

 

While listening to Belichick rave about the Bears, this missive from former Patriots general manager Michael Lombardi stands out:

 

“Whenever Belichick tells the media on Mondays or Tuesdays that he has already moved on to the next game, trust me, he’s not lying. I worked with Bill for five years in Cleveland, and then during the 2014 and 2015 seasons in New England. Belichick treats every game like a Super Bowl; no detail is too small, no possible scenario or situation goes overlooked. I have heard Belichick break down a bumbling Jaguars team as if it was the reigning two-time Super Bowl winner and treat Blake Bortles like he’s the second coming of Aaron Rodgers. Belichick does it with tape to back up his claims, only showing his team the opponent’s greatest strengths. (With Bortles, I swear, he must have used George Lucas to doctor the video.) No Patriots opponent is underestimated or taken lightly — EVER.”

 

One of the myriad things that make Belichick the best coach in the NFL — and maybe the best coach in NFL history — is how he never takes an opponent lightly, and then how he’s so successful at scheming against what an opponent does best.

 

The Bears are undoubtedly better in 2018 than they were in the John Fox era, or when these two teams last met in 2014 (when New England waxed a moribund Marc Trestman side, 51-23). And a lot of Belichick’s points are valid – that throw Trubisky made to Gabriel was outstanding, for example.

 

But Belichick talks this way about every team he faces. And that, again, is part of what makes him the best at what he does.

Under Center Podcast: What will we learn about the Bears against the Patriots?

Under Center Podcast: What will we learn about the Bears against the Patriots?

On this week's Under Center podcast, JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin look at how Bill Belichick and New England will attack Matt Nagy and the Bears on Sunday, and if Mitch Trubisky can get to the point where he can reliably lead a late-game scoring drive like Tom Brady is so good at doing.

You can listen to the whole thing here, or in the embedded player below: