Thorough Emery gets his Trestman
BY SEAN JENSEN Twitter: @SeanKJensen firstname.lastname@example.org January 16, 2013 11:36PM
Phil Emery might conclude his search for a new coach sooner than later, perhaps in time for the East-West Shrine Game next Saturday. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 2:23PM
He hasn’t been on the job a year, but Bears general manager Phil Emery diligently navigated the franchise-defining process of hiring a coach and selected longtime NFL assistant and CFL championship coach Marc Trestman early Wednesday morning.
Emery’s search was distinctive, according to league sources, for several reasons.
Despite stiff competition — seven of the NFL’s other 31 franchises also were in the market for a coach — Emery laid out an ambitious plan and seemingly avoided any major setbacks or issues.
“He was as thorough as anyone I’ve ever heard of,” one league source said.
A college scouting director before the Bears hired him, Emery vetted numerous candidates and interviewed at least 13 of them over two weeks.
Some of the interviews were short — Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison’s was believed to be about three hours — while others were more than eight hours.
There were rumblings that some executives and owners on other teams thought Emery was using the opportunity to gain inside knowledge.
But league sources indicate that Emery grilled candidates on the usual elements (plans, coaching staffs and philosophies) but emphasized all things Jay Cutler.
Cutler rated 20th in the NFL with an 81.3 passer rating, and he enters the last year of his contract. But Emery reiterated in his postseason news conference what he believed when he took the job.
“I see Jay as a franchise quarterback,” Emery said two days after the 2012 regular season ended.
“We’ve got to build around him. That’s been the goal from the beginning, to build around Jay and to build our team toward championships.”
Cutler was so integral to the process that he visited with the three finalists: Bruce Arians of the Indianapolis Colts, Darrell Bevell of the Seattle Seahawks and Trestman.
The candidates were groomed in a range of offensive systems with vastly different approaches, yet Emery apparently coveted the different insights.
He also wanted information on everything from protection schemes to the way practices would be run to how a candidate would deal with the media.
Emery informed a few candidates days ago that they had been eliminated, invited Arians, Bevell and Trestman for second interviews at Halas Hall that included chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips and suggested at least four other candidates stand by until further notice.
Trestman was first, followed by Bevell and Arians, who wrapped up later than expected Tuesday evening. It’s believed Emery received input from several executive members of the team on whether Arians or Trestman would be the franchise’s 14th coach.
After midnight, Emery determined Trestman was his man and began contract negotiations, which were finalized hours later.
“It’s a great hire. I couldn’t be more excited,’’ Cutler told the team’s website. ‘’I’ve talked to guys around the league and did my own research on him.
“He’s an offensive mind, a great person and a guy that’s going to come in and hopefully lead us to many victories in the future.’’
That’s what Emery and the Bears are counting on.