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updated: 2/20/2014 8:02 PM

Bears' LB experiment worth a shot

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  • Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

    Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.


There's delusional ...

As in, Phil Emery delusional, as it applies to Shea McClellin.

He sounded Thursday morning at the NFL Combine like a GM protecting a first-round pick, refusing to see what everyone else has seen to this point, a player incapable of playing an NFL position.

Instead, he saw McClellin -- who is being moved to linebacker -- as the Bears' best pass rusher.

"It would be to our advantage to use players who have skills to rush the passer," Emery said, sharing great insight. "So we want to get him involved in that role, whether it's from a linebacker alignment, or on the (defensive line).

"His athleticism allows him to pressure the quarterback. We want to put him in a position where he can make more plays."

That's GM delusional. That's your everyday, NFL-GM, protect-your-top-pick delusional.

Head coach delusional is Marc Trestman saying McClellin could be effective wherever he plays.

"He knows he's gonna be a linebacker," Trestman said. "He knows that we're gonna work with him at the strong (side) to start, but he should expect to work at both (linebacker) positions as he comes back."

Then, you listen to Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and suddenly Emery and Trestman sound quite sensible. Just that quickly, you think they're merely trying to salvage a two-year investment in a high pick and have nothing to lose by trying McClellin at linebacker.

Philbin gives you that perspective. That's Joe Philbin delusional.

Forced to finally address Richie Incognito's abuse of Jonathan Martin Thursday morning, Philbin sounded like a sheriff promising to clean up the town.

Of course, he was the sheriff while the cattle were stolen, the bank robbed and the town burned to the ground.

How exactly did he miss that?

"I want everyone to know that I'm the one responsible for the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins' facility," Philbin said. "I'm in charge of everything they do in the facility."

Um, yeah. So how did you miss the little matter of harassment that went on so long and was so cruel that virtually everyone on the property knew except you?

"When I read the (Ted Wells) report, some of the facts, the behavior, the language," Philbin said, "was unacceptable."

Well, good for you, Joe. Way to have a complete grasp of the situation.

"We're gonna do things about it," Philbin said. "We're gonna have a better workplace."

Sure, that helps Jonathan Martin now, doesn't it? One coach resigned, another was fired and a trainer let go. Somehow, Philbin -- the man in charge of the workplace -- knew nothing about anything, and still has a job.

This man is either entirely vapid or entirely corrupt.

Even Lovie Smith, perhaps the most insipid coach to come through these parts, insisted Thursday at the Combine that he is a "nosy coach" who wants to know every single thing that's happening in his locker room.

Compared to Philbin, Smith is completely engaged.

There's probably not a coach in history so thoroughly unaware of what was happening in his locker room, unless Philbin has been dishonest and has somehow escaped without anyone figuring out his culpability.

"I'm the head football coach…so it falls on my shoulders," Philbin said. "I'm gonna have a better pulse on things."

How about a clue?

"The majority of things, I did not know about when they were going on," Philbin said. "I don't have the benefit to look back. Certainly, I would hope I would have noticed some of these things."

One has the right to hope.

"I can tell you that I never turned my back on these kinds of acts," Philbin said. "Now, we just have to focus on the future."

Playing Abbott to his own Costello, Philbin's story seemed implausible at times, and at other times he appeared just bland enough to sell the notion that he was totally unaware.

Either way, it's remarkable he still has a job in Miami.

If there's a positive here, it's that after suffering through Philbin's babble, Emery and Trestman looked like just a couple of football guys trying to maximize value on an asset, with nothing to lose and hoping to get something out of a first-round pick by exploring all the possibilities.

Makes all the sense in the world.

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

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