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.

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

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USA Today Sports Images

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

Dion Sims is still here, which is the outcome he expected but perhaps wasn’t a slam dunk — at least to those outside the walls at Halas Hall. 

The Bears could’ve cut ties with Sims prior to March 16 and saved $5.666 million against the cap, quite a figure for a guy coming off a disappointing 2017 season (15 catches, 180 yards, one touchdown). But the Bears are sticking with Sims, even after splashing eight figures to land Trey Burton in free agency earlier this year. 

“In my mind, I thought I was coming back,” Sims said. “I signed to be here three years and that’s what I expect. But I understand how things go and my job is come out here and work hard every day and play with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself and just be a team guy.”

The Bears signed Sims to that three-year, $18 million contract 14 months ago viewing him as a rock-solid blocking tight end with some receiving upside. The receiving upside never materialized, and his blocking was uneven at times as the Bears’ offense slogged through a bleak 11-loss season. 

“The situation we were in, we weren’t — we could’ve done a better job of being successful,” Sims said. “Things didn’t go how we thought it would. We just had to pretty much try to figure out how to come together and build momentum into coming into this year. I just think there were a lot of things we could have done, but because of the circumstances we were limited a little bit. 

“… It was a lot of things going on. Guys hurt, situations — it was tough for us. We couldn’t figure it out, along with losing, that was a big part of it too.”

Sims will be given a fresh start in 2018, even as Adam Shaheen will be expected to compete to cut into Sims’ playing time at the “Y” tight end position this year. The other side of that thought: Shaheen won’t necessarily slide into being the Bears’ primary in-line tight end this year. 

Sims averaged 23 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns from 2014-2016; that might be a good starting point for his 2018 numbers, even if it would represent an improvement from 2017. More important, perhaps, is what Sims does as a run blocker — and that was the first thing Nagy mentioned when talking about how Sims fits into his offense. 

“The nice thing with Dion is that he’s a guy that’s proven to be a solid blocker,” Nagy said. “He can be in there and be your Y-tight end, but yet he still has really good hands. He can make plays on intermediate routes. He’s not going to be anybody that’s a downfield threat — I think he knows that, we all know that — but he’s a valuable piece of this puzzle.”

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

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USA Today

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

The Chicago Bears logo has withstood the test of time. In a sports era full of uniform changes, the Bears have maintained the classic orange 'C' for most of their nearly 100 years in Chicago.

Unfortunately, tradition doesn't equate to popularity.

Chicago's logo ranked 28th in the NFL, according to a recent poll of nearly 1,500 football fans. Only the Redskins (29), Bengals (30), Jets (31) and Browns (32) were worse.

I’m not sure how I feel about the underbite on the “C.” I can see how this would be a polarizing feature of this logo. I wish to an extent that it met up more evenly. I think they could have had the bottom meet up in a more even fashion and still maintained the sharpness, of the “C,” which I like. I don’t mind the point [ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE “C”], without the point it would be super boring. The point actually does add something from a design standpoint that makes it stand out.

Bears fans will take exception with the results. Wins have been hard to come by in recent seasons, but there's still something special about seeing the familiar navy and orange on Sundays in the fall. The 'C' is arguably the biggest part of that. Sure, it's not a complex design overflowing with colors, but it represents a long and storied history. 

It's interesting that each of the bottom five teams have struggled to string together winning seasons. On the flipside, teams like the Saints, Falcons, Rams, Vikings and Eagles rank in the top six. Maybe it's recency bias.

In the NFC North, the Lions rank No. 2 (which is a shocker) and the Packers are No. 20.