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.
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.