Chicago Bears: Front office

Source: Bears to work out QB Russell

June, 4, 2013
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Former Oakland Raiders No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell gets his first shot at returning to the NFL on Friday when he visits the Chicago Bears for a workout that will include three other signal callers, according to an NFL source with knowledge of the situation.

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Isaacson: Emery understands risks of job

April, 29, 2013
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It's one of the biggest mistakes a general manager or coach can make. The grand proclamations, you know the ones.

Our No. 1 goal is to beat Green Bay.

We get off the bus running the football.

We only want good character people.

I like that Phil Emery and Marc Trestman have not yet, and are not likely to in the future, utter any of the above three.

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Jerry Angelo in running for Jets GM

January, 13, 2013
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The New York Jets will hold follow-up discussions with at least two of the general manager candidates they already have interviewed and hope to finalize their decision this week, according to sources.

The name to watch is former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, who is high on the Jets' radar. Angelo had an impressive interview, sources said.

Read the entire story.

Should Angelo get chance as Carolina GM?

October, 22, 2012
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Jerry AngeloJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJerry Angelo's strong relationship wtih Ron Rivera probably wouldn't hurt his chances in Carolina.
If the Carolina Panthers go out-of-house to hire a new general manager, a case can be made that former Bears boss Jerry Angelo should be included in the list of qualified candidates to replace the recently fired Marty Hurney.

With Angelo at the helm from 2001-2011, the Bears won 95 regular-season games, four division titles and earned a berth in Super Bowl XLI. While there were certainly draft-related issues that should not be ignored or overlooked, Angelo was responsible for the selections of Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Matt Forte, Devin Hester and Henry Melton, not to mention the free agent signings of Julius Peppers, Tim Jennings, Thomas Jones, John Tait, Ruben Brown, Robbie Gould and Roberto Garza, plus the trade that brought Jay Cutler to Chicago from Denver in 2009.

Angelo also hired Lovie Smith who appears on the verge of inking his third contract extension in the offseason and is already one of the most successful head coaches in team franchise history.

In regards to the current situation in Carolina, Angelo worked with current Panthers head coach Ron Rivera for three seasons when Rivera served as Smith's defensive coordinator from 2004-2006. Whenever a new general manager walks into a situation where he has a pre-existing relationship with the head coach, it tends to put the entire building at ease and place the focus squarely on the business of winning football games, not on worrying about who's going to get fired.

Angelo also thought highly enough to bring Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski in for an interview for the vacant Bears OC job in 2010 that ultimately went to Mike Martz.

He did make a mistake trading tight end Greg Olsen away to the Panthers, but Angelo clearly values Olsen's talent, otherwise the Bears wouldn't have selected him in the first round in 2007.

Certainly, Angelo's resume isn't without blemishes. The 2007 draft that yielded Olsen turned out to be a disaster when high picks Dan Bazuin and Michael Okwo flopped. Then there was the release last week of 2008 first-round choice Chris Williams who never panned out the way the Bears envisioned. Same with Cedric Benson in 2005. Free agent signings Brandon Manumaleuna, Marion Barber, Sam Hurd and Roy Williams were also suspect to say the least.

And it is fair to wonder if he'd be the right guy in Carolina since the Panthers are searching for a way to build the offense around quarterback Cam Newton, and offense, as we know in Chicago, isn't Angelo's strong suit.

But to simply brush off Angelo as a viable candidate would be a mistake. He did some good things in Chicago. People who have done much less in the NFL have received second chances.

Why shouldn't Angelo?

McCaskey: Emery can decide on Lovie in '13

July, 27, 2012
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Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey said Friday that when Phil Emery was promoted to general manager, he was told Lovie Smith would be the head coach for 2012, but Emery would have the freedom to make a change after that.

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The next step for Bears, Emery

January, 30, 2012
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Phil Emery certainly looks the part.

Of a scout, I mean. A football lifer. A well-tanned man’s man who also knows the isolation of a video room.

"Football is all in the tape," said Emery, the new general manager of the Chicago Bears, at his introductory press conference at Halas Hall on Monday.

Like I said, he looks like a scout, and he sounds like one too.

I’d grade his tan a solid 6.7, for instance. He hangs his glasses around his neck, like a wise old soul, all the better for easy access at a pro day. I bet his thumb is stuck in the stopwatch position. He spoke mostly in football generalities, teamwork, being a teammate, all the cliches one could expect.

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A quick look at Phil Emery's philosophies

January, 30, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS -- With the Chicago Bears missing the playoffs four of the last five years under former general manager Jerry Angelo and current head coach Lovie Smith, their fans were eager to hear new boss Phil Emery lay out his new vision for the organization moving forward.

"I know we found the right guy," Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said to kick off the festivities.

Only time will tell if Phillips is right.

Here is a brief overview of Emery's philosophies, or at least the ones he was willing to share to an auditorium full of reporters Monday at Halas Hall.

[+] EnlargeLovie Smith
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesLovie Smith will play a role in determining the Bears roster, according to new GM Phil Emery.
Lovie Smith: Emery said he was “excited" about being involved with the Bears’ head coach, which was actually a pre-requisite for the job. But he dodged multiple questions about Smith's future, saying on numerous occassions that his “head isn't there right now.” Emery went as far as to say he and Smith will work together to form the final vision of the roster and the draft.

Draft: Emery said he has “a very good feel for the composition of this draft,” which is what you would expect to hear from a veteran college scouting director. The plan, according to Emery, is to "raise your own", building the team through the draft and augmenting the roster via free agency. Perhaps the most interesting part of the media session came when Emery described the differences between the way he approaches the draft compared to Angelo. According to Emery, "how we grade players is different, how we structure the staff, the grading scale is different, how we apply the grading scale, our balance between the pro and college sides [are different].”

Staff: Emery praised the current group of Bears scouts, but plans to hire more talent evaluators following the draft. According to Emery, "we'll have the resources we need to build our staff." Expect the Bears to hire a seperate director of pro personnel and a director of college scouting in the wake of Tim Ruskell leaving the organization on Monday.

Forte's contract: Emery labeled the specifics about Matt Forte "an internal matter", but did call the franchise tag a tool that was collectively bargained and is fair to the players and the teams. "I do know Matt the player and we have evaluated Matt extensively," Emery said. "But that's an internal matter. We don't discuss those things -- contracts, contract statuses. We are not going to show our cards."

Wide receiver: Another "internal matter". Emery said he will not discuss potential players or specific areas of need.

No. 2 quarterback: That also falls under the category of an internal matter.

Current Bears roster: Emery called Jay Cutler "a fine quarterback." He called Brian Urlacher "a player who is still making plays." The age of the defense is not a problem for Emery, as long as the players continue to be "playmakers".

Personal: Emery models himself most after Kansas City Chiefs executive Scott Pioli, who enjoyed tremendous success with Bill Belichick in New England. Emery says he is quite familiar with “the Patriot way,” but that new situations sometimes call for the plan to be altered to a certain degree.

Five key issues awaiting new GM Emery

January, 28, 2012
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The Chicago Bears' search for a new general manager concluded on Saturday when the club named Phil Emery as the fifth GM in franchise history. Here are five issues facing Emery, who meets the Chicago media for the first time Monday afternoon at Halas Hall:

1. The upcoming NFL Draft: The Bears’ failure to draft enough impact players, especially in the years following the 2006 Super Bowl berth, ultimately proved to be Jerry Angelo's undoing. Currently holding four picks in the first three rounds, it's critical for the Bears to hit on at least two impact players who can step in, stay healthy and potentially start. There are to be no more redshirt seasons. The Bears can no longer afford to draft the likes of Jarron Gilbert, Juaquin Iglesias, Dan Bazuin, Marcus Harrison and Michael Okwo in the earlier rounds. Emery was hired, partly, because of his extensive college scouting background. The quickest way to get a franchise back on the track is to draft well. The quickest way to destroy a franchise is to draft poorly. More than anything, Emery's tenure as Bears general manager will be defined by his draft record in the month of April.

2. Forte's deal: For whatever reason, the Bears and Angelo were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Matt Forte last summer. Now that Forte is an unrestricted free agent, Emery has three choices; (1) sign Forte to a new contract, (2) apply the franchise tag or (3) trade the star running back. The best-case scenario would be for the two sides to resume talks and begin to try and find some common ground in regards to guaranteed money. If Emery can step in and close a fair deal that benefits both parties, it would earn him instant credibility with the fan base. Where Angelo failed, Emery could succeed.

[+] EnlargeMuhsin Muhammad
Bruce Kluckhohn/US PresswireThe Bears haven't paid big money for a free agent wide receiver since signing Muhsin Muhammad in 2005.
3. Repairing the offense: The Bears have the quarterback (Jay Cutler) and the running back (Forte), but are in bad need of playmakers in the passing game at both wide receiver and tight end. Under Angelo, the Bears drafted a receiver in either the first or second round just once (Mark Bradley, 2005) and haven't paid a large sum of money to a wideout in free agency since Muhsin Muhammad that very same year. That needs to change. Mike Martz ruined the tight end position in Chicago. That needs to be fixed. If the Bears and Emery are smart, both can be accomplished this offseason.

4. Making it work with Lovie Smith: Smith has many strengths as a head coach. He treats star players like royalty, which in turn makes it easier for him to keep the locker room. He is a sharp defensive mind, even if people take issue with the actual system the Bears run. He's won his share of games, which in the end is all that really matters. And he is beloved by the McCaskey family. That last fact alone is some of the best job security a man can ask for. But Smith has issues when it comes to evaluating talent. This is where Emery needs to take control of the roster. There is nothing wrong with a coach giving his recommendations on players, but at the end of the day, Emery must be the decision maker, not Smith. Smith is a fine coach. Leave it at that.

5. Briggs situation: Don't forget about Lance Briggs. He either wants a new deal or wants to be traded. Briggs is still an elite player who was just voted to his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl. But he is under contract through 2013, and the Bears already paid him the bulk of the money in the first few years of the six-year extension he signed in March 2008. Briggs going public last year with his demands on the eve of the regular season really upset Angelo. Let's see how Emery responds.

Bears tab Phil Emery as GM

January, 28, 2012
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The Chicago Bears announced they reached an agreement Saturday with Phil Emery to become the club's franchise's fifth general manager.

The team plans to introduce Emery during a Monday 2 p.m. press conference at Mugs Halas Auditorium.

Read the entire story.

Bears to bring back 2 GM candidates

January, 23, 2012
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The Chicago Bears will conduct a second round of interviews this week with two candidates for general manager, the team announced.

Kansas City Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery and New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht will return for second interviews.

The Bears denied multiple reports on Monday that a decision has been made to hire Emery as GM.

"A decision has not been made," a team source said Monday afternoon.

Emery, however, is believed to be a strong candidate for the job, given his previous role as an area scout for the Bears from 1998-2004, plus a solid overall college scouting background.

In addition to Emery and Licht, the Bears last week interviewed New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, San Diego Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye and current Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell.

The Bears generally move at their own pace when making an important organizational decision. Phillips even hinted on January 3, the day former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo got fired after 11 seasons, that the search process could possibly extend into February, if necessary.

Bears interview K.C.'s Emery for GM

January, 20, 2012
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CHICAGO -- The final candidate of the week to interview for the Chicago Bears general manager position was Kansas City Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery, who spent Friday meeting with the teams' brass at Halas Hall.

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Source: Bears talk to Ross about GM job

January, 18, 2012
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New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross met with the Chicago Bears at Halas Hall on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the situation, marking the third interview the team has conducted in its search to replace Jerry Angelo, who was terminated on Jan. 3 as general manager.

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Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz resigned on Tuesday, hours after the team announced general manager Jerry Angelo was being relieved of his duties, and the organization also let go of quarterbacks coach Shane Day, according to multiple sources.

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Ruskell not likely Angelo's replacement

January, 3, 2012
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It's not likely the Chicago Bears will use Tuesday's press conference to announce the promotion of director of player personnel Tim Ruskell as the successor to recently fired general manager Jerry Angelo.

But it's worth pondering potential replacements.

As NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert pointed out, the Bears are operating under a new chairman in George McCaskey for the first time in nearly 30 years. So it would be unwise to assume Angelo's successor will be a traditional general manager such as Ruskell, a close friend of the departed GM who came to Chicago in 2010 after five years as the Seattle Seahawks' president of football operations.

Ruskell's perceived loyalty to Angelo might be viewed by the organization as a potential hindrance to its long-term goals because the two share similar philosophies, despite the need to find someone quickly to lead the team's draft preparations. Besides that, it's believed the organization will open up the hiring process nationally for what should be one of the most highly coveted jobs around the league.

Expect former Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian, who was fired Monday, to emerge as a candidate.

But Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie will draw the most speculation as Angelo's potential successor because of his relationship with Bears coach Lovie Smith.

It's unknown whether Smith will play a role in the organization's selection.

According to sources, Smith and McKenzie are close, and the executive's track record is undeniable since he took over as director of football operations in 2008, after working 10 years as Green Bay's director of pro personnel. Since joining the Packers in 1994 as a pro personnel assistant, the organization has won eight division titles, three conference crowns and two Super Bowls. Interestingly, McKenzie's daughter, Jasmin, attends Wheaton College outside of Chicago.

Other personnel executives around the league could be in consideration, according to sources, such as Detroit's Sheldon White, Les Snead of the Atlanta Falcons, Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore's Eric DeCosta.

Angelo downplays talk of retirement

December, 11, 2011
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DENVER -- Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo downplayed rumors Sunday that he could retire at the conclusion of the regular season, calling them "more amusing than anything."

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