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updated: 1/31/2012 12:07 PM

Bears' Emery meets low expectations on first day

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In most cities, the hiring of Phil Emery as general manager would have engendered outrage.

Fans would have been screaming about the need to find someone qualified, with a great track record and years of experience as an NFL GM.

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But this is, after all, the Chicago Bears and while there was a time in history when that meant the Bears would find the best of the best, that time passed decades ago.

Obviously, acquisitions will ultimately define the Phil Emery administration, and if he moves quickly to bring in Dwayne Bowe or Brandon Marshall, he will score big points and move right into the honeymoon phase.

But the paying customer has every right on Day 1 to be inspired by a hire and that didn't happen Monday.

Instead, it was business as unusual.

What we heard from Emery is all the same nonsense we always hear from Bears executives about how great the team is, and how through Emery's "extensive research" he discovered there is "a good core of playmaking players on this team."

How many people simply turned off the TV or radio after hearing that?

Just one time at a Bears news conference it would be heartwarming to hear a GM describe clearly how things will be different than they've been for years.

Needless to say, that can't occur when a GM inherits a team president, a coach and so many others who have been part of the problem for so long.

And when asked repeatedly about his authority, Emery didn't go all Alexander Haig on the organization, as many Bears fans had hoped.

Rather, he channeled Jackie Mason while saying he's in charge but not completely in charge and he's totally in charge but not so much in charge unless he's in charge at the moments he's in charge.

See, when you think of Bears management now you think of George McCaskey, who appears as passive and interested in shaking it up as the brother he succeeded.

And you think of team president Ted Phillips, an accountant given the title so that Mayor Daley would allow the Bears to land a spaceship on the lakefront.

Phillips had so much football knowledge the first time around that he hired a search firm to find an unqualified GM candidate within his own division, and Jerry Angelo did just about what you would expect for someone with his resume: 3 playoff victories in 11 years.

But Phillips is so certain of his own NFL abilities now that he fired Angelo, kept head coach Lovie Smith and went out on his own to search for Emery, who worked for the Bears from 1998-04.

It's a safe and comfortable hire for Phillips and Smith, who managed to save their own jobs while sacrificing Angelo, and then Phillips included Smith in the interview process by having Smith "meet" every candidate.

So first Bears fans were aggravated that ownership didn't clean house, and now are underwhelmed by the GM hire, but expectations were low and that's probably why there was little reaction to the hiring.

The collective sigh wasn't so much directed at Emery as it was at the process and the history.

Emery might be great, or he might be another disaster, but on Monday as Emery was introduced to Chicago, thanking just about every person he's ever met in football, the reaction was one you wouldn't expect from Bears fans.

More than anything else, it was indifference.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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