Since the olden days of George Halas, the hallmark of Chicago Bears football was defense. In the space of three years, one man has caused a revolution. Has Jay Cutler finally forced the NFL founding franchise to change?
The Phil Emery show started with Brandon Marshall through NFL draft
When a team featured perhaps the best defense in NFL history, a defense that led the way to a dominant championship win in 1985, it's hard for a franchise to forget it. For that reason it's easy to understand why the Chicago Bears have put their trust and their money in a proven formula of strong defense and power running offense. However, the league has evolved. Now more than ever the championship destiny of a team gets driven through the quarterback and Chicago has easily its most talented in decades. Former general manager Jerry Angelo made the trade for Jay Cutler back in 2009 but in three seasons failed to put a talented supporting cast around him. His replacement, Phil Emery, made sure he wouldn't repeat the same mistake. In a two-month span from the start of free agency through the draft, Emery put the Chicago roster through a transformation.
Alshon Jeffery and Evan Rodriguez show the shift in front office thinking
It started with a trade for Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall, a former teammate and favorite target of Cutler. Then it continued by drafting South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery and Temple tight end Evan Rodriguez. While experts wondered why Emery ignored the offensive line, a unit that tallied 105 quarterback sacks in two seasons, the Bears GM stated plainly that his goal throughout the 2012 offseason was one thing: give Cutler more weapons. If it was Angelo saying that, fans would have laughed him off the podium because they wouldn't believe him. He got stuck in the old way of defense, defense, defense first. Adding four new wide receivers and a pass catching tight end shows Emery is very different. For added measure, he quieted the criers for offensive line help when the Bears snagged a top undrafted free agent in Troy tackle James Brown hours after the draft ended. Brown was given a 4th round grade by experts, a nice snag at a cheap price for Chicago.
Phil Emery came to the Chicago Bears with over thirty years of football experience. He knows the many ways it takes to win. Almost all of them go through the quarterback. For that reason he used Jay Cutler as the means for sweeping changes. Signings like Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Evan Rodriguez weren't his only moves, but they did send the loudest message. Evolution is happening up at Halas Hall.