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updated: 3/14/2012 10:24 AM

Nice start for Bears GM, but still work to do

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  • Brandon Marshall, here pulling in a touchdown pass for the Miami Dolphins in December, rejoins quarterback Jay Cutler after Tuesday's Bears trade.

    Brandon Marshall, here pulling in a touchdown pass for the Miami Dolphins in December, rejoins quarterback Jay Cutler after Tuesday's Bears trade.
    Associated Press


Nice start, rookie.

Now let's see what else you have for us.

Phil Emery's first major move as Bears general manager was a blockbuster trade Tuesday afternoon, filling a longtime crater at wide receiver.

In this town, acquiring Brandon Marshall might be the most remarkable development since the flow of the Chicago River was reversed.

The Bears have a legitimate wide receiver? What's next, Northwestern making the NCAA Tournament this decade? The Cubs winning a World Series this century?

OK, slow me down. One transaction doesn't certify Emery for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Deals still must be made, Super Bowls must be won, and a dynasty must be established.

All that this new beginning is right now is a new beginning. Ah, but what a brave new beginning it is.

For the past few weeks the conversation was which free agent the Bears should pursue, wide receiver Vincent Jackson or defensive end Mario Williams.

Deposed Colts general manager Bill Polian settled the argument on one of ESPN's family of outlets Tuesday morning. Without hesitation, Polian opted for the pass rusher. His rationale was that they're more rare than wide receivers.

Bingo! Yes, bingo now that Emery has arrived. Hello, Brandon Marshall.

After decades of stumbling over, under, to the left of and to the right of a top wide receiver, Emery landed squarely on a 6-foot-4, 230-pound beast nicknamed The Beast.

Not only did Emery find him, he did so easily what previous Bears GMs and personnel directors made look so difficult.

The Bears merely sent two third-round draft choices to Miami for Marshall when many around here would have surrendered the Harold Washington Library, McCormick Place and Theo Epstein to the Dolphins.

On paper, the Marshall acquisition is brilliant as long as the paper isn't a police blotter.

Marshall's brushes with the law are legendary -- among them assault on a law- enforcement officer, domestic violence, driving under the influence.

Marshall's medical issues are, too -- among them borderline personality disorder and stab wounds inflicted by his wife.

Hey, let's not quibble here. A Pro Bowl wide receiver is worth gambling that the Bears can manage his personal problems.

Emery isn't building a Cub Scout pack; he's building a pro football team.

Marshall had a relatively uneventful season off the field with the Dolphins in 2011, but he does remain mercurial.

The Bears clearly are wishing, praying and hoping that the presence of quarterback Jay Cutler and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who were with Marshall on the Broncos, can temper his behavior.

If so, the Bears have something special in Brandon Marshall and potentially the start of something special in Phil Emery.

A lot can be speculated about a new GM after a deal like this.

One is that Emery recognizes the Bears' need for offensive weapons. Another is that he'll take a chance on characters with dubious character. A third is that he's splashier than he appeared to be at his introductory news conference.

Approval is a fluid commodity, however, and at least second, third and fourth impressions will define Emery.

Can Emery acquire an effective pass rusher? Can he provide reinforcements for the offensive line? Can he find a cornerback?

For now, Emery deserves a benefit of doubt that nobody else associated with the Bears has earned for a while.

Now let's see what else you can do with it, rook.

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