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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
BBAO: Minimal criticism of Phil Emery hire

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

In many ways, it's tough to criticize the Chicago Bears' hiring of Phil Emery as their new general manager. He is by all accounts a highly respected figure in NFL scouting circles, someone who has demonstrated the willingness to work all day and every day to unearth talent and separate the so-called contenders from pretenders. As we discussed Monday, his character and approach are that of an ex-Naval Academy conditioning coach, and he sounded in his introductory news conference like a fine person to work for.

About the only criticism I could find in the Chicago media was the suggestion that the Bears swung low in their search to replace general manager Jerry Angelo, valuing competence but also requiring a level of conformity to their existing structure that might have disqualified higher-profile candidates. Here's how Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times put that sentiment:
"You get what you ask for. What the Bears asked for was a GM who has no desire to fire a middling head coach, a GM who thinks the team isn’t far away from being great and a GM who is extremely happy to be here. Check, check and check. Emery sounds like a man who can work with anyone who is put in front of him. That includes [coach Lovie] Smith, the scouting staff and, presumably, Staley the mascot, as long as he's a team player."

Regardless, I think we can use baseball terms to put this hire in proper perspective: The Bears put a runner in scoring position even if they weren't swinging for the fences.

Continuing around the NFC North: