Emery's presser falls nothing short of impressive

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Emery's presser falls nothing short of impressive

Bears general manager Phil Emery addressed the media today to discuss his controversial decision to fire Lovie Smith and also provide perspective on what he is looking for in a new head coach for the Chicago Bears.

It was one of the most impressive, insightful, and informative breakdowns of a football team fans or media get the pleasure of experiencing. Emery took everyone on a well-detailed ride into the multiple variables that earned him his role as a general manager in the NFL.

Emery journeyed from one place to another; from the complexities of the draft to statistics gathered during free agency player ratings for team construction. The information he shared also included a brief tutorial on the checks and balances of the federal government in comparison to the synergy Emery believes is a vital quality between himself and the Bears' next head coach.

RELATED: No playoffs = no championship chances cost Smith his job

Overall, Emery gave everyone a glimpse into the fine-toothed comb of data collection in order to make informed sound decisions to build a championship-caliber football team. Getting to experience the leadership displayed by the Bears' top decision maker was a breath of fresh air. Emerys delivery was confident, sound, and fact based. He did not hide or run away from any tough question asked by the media.

In fact, at one point during the press conference, Emery encouraged them: I will stay here as long as you need to answer any questions. True to his word, he did just that.

There wasnt any aspect concerning the Bears that Emery did not cover, other than personal future player contracts. Instead, he preferred to keep that information between himself and the player.

But he did discuss extensively what he is looking for in a new head coach.

"The next head coach must display expertise to take all of the unique talents we have to build a championship team," Emery said, although he did not look to put the blame on Smith. "I needed to provide more talent. Put in on me."

But Emery did expect Smith and will hold his next head coach accountable to utilize the talents available.

They must have the knowledge and flexibility to transform talents we have into a winning formula for a championship team," the Bears GM said.

The Bears offensive failures played a huge part in Smiths dismissal, but Emery made it clear its not all about quarterback Jay Cutler.

There are 10 other guys where the coach much maximize their talent, Emery said before commenting on Cutler's future with the franchise. I am convinced of Jays talents as a franchise quarterback, but we must build around Jay.

Clearly Emerys next step for the Bears is to find a head coach who can adapt Cutlers talents towards winning a championship.

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule:

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

Quintin Demps set a career high in interceptions last year by not doing anything different. And that’s the message he’s sending a defense that generated only 11 takeaways in 2016, tied for the lowest single-season total in NFL history. 

Demps went from picking off four passes in both 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs and 2014 with the New York Giants to notching just one interception with the Houston Texans in 2015. In 2016, though, Demps intercepted six passes, broke up nine more and totaled 38 tackles. 

“Turnovers are like, it’s not something that you go get, it’s something you let come to you by doing your job first and then helping out,” Demps said. “And then you’d be surprised how they come to you by doing your job and being aware of when you can help somebody out. A lot of times when you get help is when you get picks and turnovers.”

The danger for a defense coming off a historically bad takeaway is sort of a whiplash effect, where there’s an over-emphasis on creating turnovers and not enough attention paid to, as Demps said, “doing your job.” There’s a fine line between being opportunistic and undisciplined.

“I tell my safeties all the time, we gotta tackle first,” Demps said. “Tackle first, don’t miss any tackles and then the picks are going to come. I promise you that.”

The Bears felt positively after signs of being more opportunistic as a defense during shorts-and-helmets practices in May and June, though if that was because of any real improvements or because the defense is usually ahead of the offense is hard to tell at this stage of the year. 

The offseason program was valuable for the Bears’ secondary in growing trust within a group that had — no pun intended — plenty of turnover after the 2016 season. The hope is that the offseason additions of Demps, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Eddie Jackson will solidify the secondary and lead to something better than last year’s historically-low turnover total. 

“We’re still trying to build something, but the actual, real building happens in training camp because I think then you start to see the group start to get formed and yo know who’s going to go with the one’s, who’s going to go with the two’s, stuff like that,” Amukamara said. “So I think that starts to get formed. But I think with a lot of guys now, I think what that creates is competition and guys trying their hardest to make the team.”