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updated: 1/31/2012 12:09 PM

New Bears GM Emery's credibility points sorely lacking

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  • New Bears general manager Phil Emery talks to the media Monday at Halas Hall.

    New Bears general manager Phil Emery talks to the media Monday at Halas Hall.
    Associated Press


The Bears introduced a general manager Monday but didn't restore much credibility in the process.

Bears' ownership and management cite Phil Emery's attributes as a leader, evaluator and communicator.

A good guess is that the public and media are much more skeptical.

Monday's news conference was an opportunity for Emery to score credibility points -- but, speaking only for myself, he didn't do much in that area.

One issue dropped my jaw: Lovie Smith.

It's OK that the Bears head coach's job security is untouchable at least through the 2012 season.

Giving Smith another season isn't all that bad. All Emery would have had to do was say something like this:

"I know Coach Smith but in recent years mostly from a distance. I am looking forward to working with him in the short term and seeing how he fits in for the long term."

Instead, Emery essentially gushed over Smith and the entire Bears' operation.

Emery likes the McCaskey ownership. He likes the way club president/CEO Ted Phillips conducted the interview process. He likes the Bears' scouts. He likes Smith. He likes Smith's assistant coaches. He likes the core of players on the roster.

To fans, each of those is a hard sell on the credibility scale, some more than others.

I wondered out loud why -- considering that everything about the Bears' organization is so great -- the pieces in place hadn't translated into championships.

The answer from a Halas Hall insider not named Phil Emery was, "It's hard to win Super Bowls."

We can only hope that it gets easier under Emery's heralded leadership, evaluation and communication skills.

But considering Emery hasn't ever filled the GM position before, it's difficult to assess yet whether he will be a general manager or general mismanager.

Emery did and said little during his debut media briefing to inspire confidence or bolster Bears' credibility.

Others will pick their own nits over how Emery did, but mine is that he echoed the faith in Smith that others up there have expressed.

Emery began one answer to a question with, "By extension of my admiration of Lovie ..."

Sorry, but I don't get it. I don't understand what warrants this Lovie love.

Is it his dubious evaluation and deployment of players? Is it his questionable game-day decisions? Is it his inability to construct an enduring staff of assistants? Is it his flawed logic that insists the Bears already are 1-0 going into next season? Seriously, what is it?

"I have great respect for what Lovie has done," said Emery, who added that he's excited about working with him.

I guess that means the new GM appreciates the old head coach's 71-57 record, which averages out to a mediocre 9-7 average over his eight seasons here.

To Emery's credit, he did say he will evaluate Smith. However, he said it in the context that everybody including himself will be evaluated and held accountable.

Look, Smith isn't a terrible coach. Nor is he a terrific coach. He's somewhere in the middle, which isn't good enough to merit so much support inside Halas Hall.

Maybe Lovie Smith will reward that faith now that Phil Emery instead of Jerry Angelo will provide him with players.

Until that happens, however, the Bears' credibility will remain in doubt.

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