Chicago Sun-Times

'What, Chief?' Emery era begins under cone of silence

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As expected, the Bears are battening down the hatches and activating the cone of silence in preparation for their first NFL draft under general manager Phil Emery.

The Bears have alerted the media that only coach Lovie Smith will be available for an interview -- and only one -- during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22-28. In previous years, Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo would meet with Bears beat reporters and scouts or assistants in Indy for the Combine usually would be accessible.

But Emery, who spent eight years at the Naval Academy, where ''Loose Lips Sinks Ships'' was born, made it clear that under his leadership, the Bears will divulge as little information about their wants and needs in the draft and free agency as possible.

''When it comes time to publicly assess our needs or publicly talk about players that we may target, we will not do that. OK?,'' Emery said in response to the very first question asked of him at his introductory press conference on Jan. 30. ''Because I feel that's a competitive disadvantage to do so.

''We will know internally what our needs are. We will know internally the players we are going to target. We will not give away our competitive advantage to outline who those individuals are or at what position they are.''

All Emery would promise is that the Bears would target ''good football players, producers, dynamic playmakers that can help this football team grow.'' Good to know that! But as reassuring as it might be, Emery's plan of attack in acquiring talent is the same as every professional franchise in sports history, with the possible exception of the Washington Generals.

In all objectivity, there is much to be said for maintaining "radio silence" when it comes to acquiring talent. While many needs are obvious, even from a reporter's perspective it doesn't seem to make much sense to address them too specifically in a public forum.

Every so often it at least appears to make a difference. In 2001, the Bears had the No. 8 pick in the first round and did not hide their interest in a defensive end. In NFL circles and publicly, it was clear they had their eyes on Cal defensive end Andre Carter.

The 49ers, who had the ninth pick, also wanted Carter and leapfrogged the Bears in the draft order by trading with the Seattle Seahawks for the No. 7 pick and selected Carter. The Bears were happy to get Michigan wide receiver David Terrell -- a supposed top-3 pick who was still available -- with their pick at No. 8.

Whether or not the Bears lost Carter by publicly or privately telegraphing their intentions, there's an obvious premium on information and mis-information prior to the draft. Jim Finks, who built the Bears' Super Bowl championship team, was a master at disguising his intentions.

In Finks' first draft with the Bears in 1975, he refused to tip his end on what he might do with the No. 4 overall pick, but did mention that he liked Texas A & I fullback Don Hardeman, then drafted Jackson State's Walter Payton. As it turned out, they would have drafted Payton with the No. 1 pick if they had it, coach Jack Pardee said.

In fact, almost every key Finks No. 1 pick -- Payton, Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson, Dennis Lick, Ted Albrecht -- had one thing in common: Finks never said a word about them. It wasn't until Mike Ditka was hired by George Halas and given some of Finks' say in the draft room that the Bears started showing more of their hand.

It's in the Bears' best interest to not reveal anything regarding who they like or what they're looking for. But if their silence on personnel matters under Emery is going to be absolute, it's a policy that's likely to backfire in Chicago.

Bears fans like to know what their GM is thinking. Does he think the quarterback makes the wide receiver? Does he need a clear ''No. 1'' wide receiver. Will he take players who are red-flagged for injuries? How much of a chance will he take on players with personal issues? And what about the backup quarterback?

Unless he drafts as well as Jim Finks did, Phil Emery is going to have to find a way to answer those questions without revealing whom he's drafting. It's not that difficult. You just have to have an appreciation for the fact that Bears fans have a more vested emotional interest in this team than anyone at Halas Hall except maybe Virginia McCaskey. And they want to know not only that you plan to win, but how you're going to do it.

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17 Comments

The Bears have been notorious for telegraphing everything they are trying to do, both from a free agency perspective, and a draft strategy. We made no secret of our liking of Joe Flacco when he was coming out of Delaware, and never got a chance to draft him. Everyone knew what position we were taking in the first round every year of Jerry Angelo's regime, and in almost every case, we had no backup plan, so we traded out of the round, or traded back while we figured out what the heck to do.

Emery, if nothing else, is a refreshing dose of professionalism and competency. Gee, not telling everyone what we are going to do? Who would have thought that could have some benefit?

I look for Phil Emery to go with a receiver in the first round unless he signs a big name receiver via free agency, maybe Dwayne Bowe? The thing is, Chicago is gonna have to spend money to bring back Pro-Bowl runner Matt Forte, and like or hate him, you do not let a Pro-Bowl running back walk. Contrary to popular belief (especially on this board), Pro-Bowl running backs don't grow on trees. If Forte walks, Chicago will have to spend an early round pick on a runner, and the Bears have to many other needs to do that. Chicago could also place the ol franchise tag on Forte and then sign a big name free agent. If Forte gets the tag, I say sign defensive end Cliff Avril and pair him with Julius Peppers, then get a receiver in the first round. My guy is Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu, I think he's the best receiver coming out. Sanu has great hands, 210 career grabs, a Big-East record, and size 6-2 to man the split end position, and most scouts say he's the most NFL ready of all the prospects coming out, I'd take him. Heres my Bears pre-free agency mock draft.
1st Mohamed Sanu Rutger WR
2nd Leonard Johnson Iowa St CB
3rd Vinny Curry Marshall DE
3rd Mitchell Schwartz California T
4th Mike Brewster Ohio St C
5th Jarius Wright Arkansas WR
6th Jacquies Smith Missouri DE
7th Derek Wolfe Cincinnati DT
GO BEARS!!

I look for Phil Emery to go with a receiver in the first round unless he signs a big name receiver via free agency, maybe Dwayne Bowe? The thing is, Chicago is gonna have to spend money to bring back Pro-Bowl runner Matt Forte, and like or hate him, you do not let a Pro-Bowl running back walk. Contrary to popular belief (especially on this board), Pro-Bowl running backs don't grow on trees. If Forte walks, Chicago will have to spend an early round pick on a runner, and the Bears have to many other needs to do that. Chicago could also place the ol franchise tag on Forte and then sign a big name free agent. If Forte gets the tag, I say sign defensive end Cliff Avril and pair him with Julius Peppers, then get a receiver in the first round. My guy is Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu, I think he's the best receiver coming out. Sanu has great hands, 210 career grabs, a Big-East record, and size 6-2 to man the split end position, and most scouts say he's the most NFL ready of all the prospects coming out, I'd take him. Heres my Bears pre-free agency mock draft.
1st Mohamed Sanu Rutger WR
2nd Leonard Johnson Iowa St CB
3rd Vinny Curry Marshall DE
3rd Mitchell Schwartz California T
4th Mike Brewster Ohio St C
5th Jarius Wright Arkansas WR
6th Jacquies Smith Missouri DE
7th Derek Wolfe Cincinnati DT
GO BEARS!!

I believe they'll try for Bowe, if not VJax. That said, I'm liking Curry with the 1st number 3. And Johnson or Prater from Iowa/Norman from Coastal Carolina at CB with the second #3.

1st round, if Cordy Glenn is still there, take him so he can play G/T for the next decade.

How about a SS at Number 2? What about Lavonte David, the undersized but outstanding LB from Nebraska? I understand he's
got fluid hips and quick feet which sounds obscene but makes a good
safety.

Go Bears

Which scouts said Sanu was the most ready? Personally I am not a big fan of a guy who only had 12 receiving TD's in three years starting and spent that much time in the Wikdcat. I wouldn't call it a great year for the Big East either. You always have loved the climbers. He is a nice player, but to say he is better than Blackmon is huge stretch. Blackmon put up 224 receptions, 3118 yards and 35 TD's in two years, to Sanu 210 rec. 2201 yards and 12 TD's in three years starting.

You had to pick a guy named Wolfe didn't you? Mike Brewster that late in the 4th round probably won't happen, and he really belongs in a zone. Johnson is a little small but a good player. I think Curry is a bloated 3-4 OLB. Schwartz is a nice pick but the Bears are not moving Carimi cause Webb is just to damn good.

Jarius Wright? Are you kidding me? They already got one midget reciever the Bears don't need another one. 5'8 175 pound reciever, plus he got shut down against LSU.

Interesting take, Kevin.

I think the Bears should try and get a proven WR if possible. They don't really have one, and that is arguably the weakest position on the team. I have concerns about starting a new offensive system with a sh!thead 1st round WR diva.

Obviously, they're going to need to draft at the position ... I agree with you there. And I also think your list is okay. I am just tired of poor route running and dropped passes.


i have not followed the college players, and since keeping one's mouth shut on issues one knows nothing about, I'll pass on this one and wait and see .

Regarding the silent approach, it only makes sense. What advantage is there unless disinformation is the approach, like Fink's approach in landing Peyton? i'm sure games are played in the picks, but team needs and sal;ary cap issues are more significant elements.

Sanu looked like a #3 at best in his bowl game for Rutgers. Not real physical and not real fast.

Creighton, remember one thing before you compare Blackmon to Sanu stat wise, Blackmon had Brandon Weeden throwing him the ball the last 2 seasons, not saying Weeden is the second coming of Dan Marino, but he is one of the top 5 rated QB's coming out this april. Quick, who did Sanu have throwing him the ball? Exactly. The main knock on Sanu is he doesn't have elite straight line speed, if he did, he'd be a top 5 pick. Never ever toss a prospect to the side simply because he doesn't run fast in shorts. And again, had Sanu had a passer like Weeden throwing him the ball, his stats probably would have been a little prettier. Sanu will be one to keep an eye on at his pro-day, if he can get hi 40 time to at leats a 4.4, he'll up his stock.

As far as Jarius Wright, I think he'd be a great kick-off returnman, and maybe a slot guy down the road.

Chicago needs a swing tackle for 2 reasons, 1) so Lance Louis can concentrate on playing guard, and 2) so Frank Omiyale can go play in the CFL. I'm not saying Swartz will come in and start, but he'd be a great swing tackle and maybe a guy to push Webb. Chicago should move Carimi to left tackle, are they gonna? That remains to be seen, should be interesting. Believe it or not Creighton, I actually enjoy your critiques on my mock drafts GO BEARS!!

Better to pick up a pro go to receiver like Bowe or Jackson, since 1st round wr
picks many times are iffy at best. Top de, ol or cb could be best pick. Even deCastro as OG would be a great pick at #1.
I agree with Creighton on his talent pro bowl potential.

Kevin I never said one word about Sanu's speed. I said he doesn't score enough, which he doesn't. Sure he needs a better QB, but you said he was Better than Blackmon, I said he wasn't. I will tell you exactly why, Blackmon is better rout runner, quicker out breaks, gets great seperation, breaks tackles and is built like a truck. Sanu does not get great seperation, he is a possesion reciever and he reminds me of Earl Bennett except taller. Well you already have Bennett and as you see with Bennett he does not get much seperation and has little in the way of yards after the catch and does not score much in the nfl. I don't think he is a bad prospect but I don't think he is better than Blackmon and I would not take him in the first round. I think Floyd is a better reciever than Sanu but have no clue how he is going to act once he gets paid. I think Kendall Wright is better as well and if he was 6'2 he would be fighting to be the number 1 reciever.

I don't agree on Wright and I would be surprised if he got drafted before the 6th round. I said I liked the Swartz pick. Do always read what I write cause you respond like I said something negative about Swartz. I said it was a nice pick, that's it.

Tice said in his most recent interview he would not move Carimi. As for Webb, Kevin he is worse than Omiyale. they both should be off the team.

Looking at money the Bears don't have as much as people think. They 18.2 million in cap room and 7 million exemption they can use if they choose too. What are the Problems they have six starters who are Free Agents and basically no corners or ends on the roster. They have no depth at safety as well. Hell they have no starters at safety. Then you have the reciever situation. And the O-line situation.

So lets say 25 million.
Forte = 7.7 Franchise tag Or about 7.5 Million a year to sign, cause that's what he wants.

So now your down to 18 million.

Your gonna need about 5 million for the draft.

Now your down to 13 million.

You want Jackson? That's 10 million

Now your down 3 million.

Any problems? Yep You have no corners Safeties, or Ends, and you have not improved your offensive line at all. A line that gave up about 50 sacks again and can't run block. So you need a starting end, a starting Corner, a number 3 corner, a backup QB, at least one starting safety, a starting TE, a number two 3 tech, a LT (dude Webb is brutal) and if they move Carimi you need RT. My guess is they take the same players and move them around again. You got 3 million to spend and you have that many starters to sign? You can't even get Izzy for under 3 million anymore. Your number 2 corner? Jennings wants around 4-5 mil. Now sure you may hit on some draft picks. But you can't rely on a lot of draft picks to be starters. JPP didn't start till his second season and he is really good. They gonna fill out the roster with nothing but draft picks? Yeah that works really well, if you hit on all your picks, have zero injuries, and everyone you draft is worthy of being a starter and needs no adjustment time, That's all you need. And if they don't roll over that 7 million, your looking at the exact same team as last year + draft picks, no big time reciever.

Oh and around the rumor mill, word is the Bears want Finley, and then in the first round of the draft they want to trade up for Blackmon and are willing to use the 2012 and 2013 first round draft picks. I would like to see them fix the O-line but I know they won't do it. If Omiyale is on this roster to start the season, I will personally hunt Emery down like a dog. You have no left tackle, you have no legit backup tackle, your Center sucks, your left guard can't anchor, and Louis I am sorry I don't see it, he looks horrible to me. He was horrid at tackle but at guard I really didn't see anything good, other than when he got benched again at guard, and he deserved it.

The reason they don't care about the line is because Cutler is great at making plays and buying time with his feet. So once again they will rely on him to make the line look good. If Emery does something I will be thrilled. But if he doesn't then he is just another hack.

Oh and Kevin if your going to say this "Never ever toss a prospect to the side simply because he doesn't run fast in shorts." Which by the way I agree with and I have never been a big 40 time guy, that's why I never liked Knox cause that's all he is, he is just speed. And Speed can be great, but I can live without it as long as it's not horrid. But if you are going to say this "Never ever toss a prospect to the side simply because he doesn't run fast in shorts." Don't follow it up with this "Sanu will be one to keep an eye on at his pro-day, if he can get hi 40 time to at leats a 4.4, he'll up his stock."

Besides combine and pro day 40 times are all pretty fake. These guys all spend months training just to do combine drills. That's not how train for a football season though. You will see more watching college games than you will at the combine. At least go on youtube and watch clips from some of the games. I do it all the time. If there is a guy like go look at the games where he played against someone else as impressive.

Great ponts, Kevin.

Burn, mr. Creighton, burn...

Some things to know about Rutgers.

Frank Cignetti, a highly reguarded OC from Rutgers who now works in the nfl, ran a pro style offense and was known for getting the most out of his players.

Greg Schiano did a great job with what he was given at Rutgers, he is now the Head Coach of the Bucs.

Sanu is a nice player but he had some very good college coaching, and while he didn't have a great QB you can say the same about most College teams. He also didn't play against many great teams or great secondaries. He is Rutgers best player, but there are much better teams out there than Rutgers and I would rather have their best players. Blackmon was the best player on one of the top 4 teams. And is a true top 5 talent. Luck, Griffin, Blackmon, Kalil, Claiborne, Ingram, DeCastro( I don't care if he is a guard), Wright(he is really talented, like Mike Wallace talented) Richardson, and Marin.

If Chicago brings in a big name receiver via free agency, yeah, Stanford guard David DeCastro is #1 on my draft wish list. If no big name receiver is brought in though, they gotta go receiver with their first rounder. I like Sanu, we'll be able to know a lot more when free agency begins GO BEARS!!

Burn? Really? It kinda looks like I am the one that made all the points and read the actual posts, but whatever. What Points did Kevin make that were great might I ask. Not that I have a problem with what he said it's more like I think your trying to stir the pot and cause friction.

You know Kevin a lot of people are ranking him as the 7th or 8th best reciever in draft. I don't think he is a first round pick man. That does not mean I think he is bad or they rankings think he is bad, it's just you know how the draft is. Anyway can probably get him in the second.

I did here this today, and that is that the Bears are very happy with there O-Line, Kellen Davis at TE and they feel Webb is elite and they love him love him love him. Either that is misinformation or they are on crack. I think it has to be misinformation, cause just a week ago I heard that they coveted Finley in free agency and that they wanted to get him and Forte and then trade up to get a reciever in the top 10 of round 1. It was only a rumor though, but it seems strange though. Nobody in the league loves Webb or Davis and the Bears come out and make a point of saying they love these guys at the combine in front of everyone while they are in so called lock down mode.

But as for having to take a reciever in the first round. I hope the Bears are aggressive, Angelo was always trying not to make a mistake and always looked at safe picks or low riske little reward picks. If they really like a certain player than go get him, make moves, make strong moves. Trade up if you have to. If nobody makes a trade with them it's not their fault, and if they do make a trade and get the guy they wanted and he sucks, well you probably were not gonna do any better anyway cause clearly they could not judge talent. But if he is good then they get the guy they wanted and look smart for making a move. Problem is you can't draft scared like Angelo did. If the guy is gonna be at 19 then you stand pat, but if you know he is gonna be gone, you better go get him. Or if you think you can trade down for a guy you really like then make that move and get more picks. But the Bears need to identify those players they really like and go get them.

I agree DeCastro would be nice but I doubt they do that, the Bears are just so wierd about their O-Line. The Bears have depth at guard, they just don't have talent. SO an interior lineman seems like a luxury i nthe first and they really want some weapons for Jay. And I get that, because he can really do a lot with his feet, and they are planning on a lot dink and dunk stuff, short drops, quick throws. But that's what Turner did and you just got stop limiting the offense at some point in what it does because you don't have the line or the recievers. They need both not one or the other, but they always treat things like it's one or the other.

Looking at the Draft I think if Martin is there they will take him, I think the top three recievers will be gone, and I think they will get a weapon for Cutler in FA. But the sudden Webb thing at the combine has me wondering. Omiyale should be cut, Webb it aweful, you will even admit Louis is brutal at tackle, and Carimi we don't know how that knee is gonna heal. Dislocations are tricky and more often than not they will pop out again. They have no depth at the position proven by the fact Louis had to play tackle and they don;t even know if they have any legit starters. They don't know if Carimi will be okay and have nobody behind him and Webb? Really? They may go tackle.

I would not be surprised if we say guard or center in the 2nd or third round though depending on the first. Maybe a James Brown from Troy moves inside get him in the 4th probably, he may climb though. Or a Kevin Zeitler in the second or third round, or Amini Silatolu not sure where he will be though, a small school kid that is gonna start climbing. Look him up you will like him. Why no Rueben Randle love Kevin? I know you like Sanu, you probably saw the NC game. But there really is not much difference between the two. Can't wait to see Jeffery I wonder if he switches to TE. I hear he is like 240 now. What a tub. Combine is coming, time to hit McDonalds again.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on February 10, 2012 1:56 PM.

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