How much can change?

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How much can change?

One of the strongest points GM Phil Emery made this week was that the new head coach would need to be someone capable of working with talent in place, at least for a year. The assumption was that he was referring to the defense, not going to a 3-4 built around wide-bodies when the roster is built for speed and a 4-3.

(Four of the top five scoring defenses and four of the top six yardage units are 4-3s so why change that anyway?)

More intriguing, however, given that the biggest single reason for the coaching change was the offense, is what might be done on that side of the ball.

Jay Cutler chafed under Ron Turners iteration of the West Coast system. He eventually soured on Mike Martzs more vertical system. And Mike Tices approach allowed Cutler to play catch with Brandon Marshall but nothing else really worked.

Next?

As long as we score points and have balance, Emery told CSNChicago.com. Looking at all of the rankings, Green Bay wins because of the guy they have on the trigger Aaron Rodgers, and theyre 66-percent pass. That works for them.

What I want is a candidate who convinces me on whats going to work for us.

Could the Bears adapt their offensive personnel, for instance, to the scheme of someone like Houstons Rick Dennison, who used zone blocking under Alex Gibbs in Denver (with Cutler as his quarterback) and Houston?

RELATED: Temper the enthusiasm for Lovie successor

Using Houston as the template, the Bears may be too big (i.e., not quick enough) to fit a zone-blocking mold. The Texans biggest lineman is Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown at 320; JMarcus Webb is 333. Houston center Chris Myers is 290; Roberto Garza is 310. Right guard Lance Louis is 320 (although very mobile); Houstons guards are 307and 303.

If Emery and the new coach want to make changes, are the free agents there? ESPN draft maven Mel Kiper posits that there are five tackles worth first-round picks in the draft. One should be there at No. 20, but a fit for a new scheme?
Ego-lite

One thing conspicuous in its absence during Phil Emerys Q&A session on Tuesday was ego. Emery has strong ideas and perspectives, which doesnt remotely guarantee that hiring someone with no head coaching experience will be the right move.

But Plato once remarked, the surest way to lose truth is to believe that one already wholly possess it (and no, he didnt say it to me; I read it). I was less impressed with Emerys supposed candor than how little puffy-chesting he did. If you think you have all the answers, thats the surest sign that you dont, and Emery tend toward the self-effacing rather than self-important.

What that suggests is that he has a clear notion of what works and what doesnt, things like who makes roster calls. And if a candidate can convince Emery of an approach head coach as his own offensive coordinator, for instance Emery may not agree but hell listen.

Did he really say that?

Keep a casual on how relations go between the defense and certain members of the Bears offense. Not because of the way 2012 played out; members of the defense blame themselves for letting Seattle go on those last two drives, for instance.

But Phil Emery was very explicit about the two main reasons for firing Lovie Smith: One was failing to make the playoffs and the second, related directly to that, was the failure to resolve problems on offense.

So the defense loses two men held in the highest regard both professionally and personally Smith and Rod Marinelli because the guys on the other side of the ball couldnt get it done.

Yet there was Jay Cutler on Monday being sorry Smith was out but also suggesting that, Change isnt always a bad thing. Sometimes, it can be good.

He probably shouldnt try selling that at the other end of the locker room anytime soon. And if change can be a good thing, with Cutler having gone through four coordinators in five years and a gaggle of quarterback coaches (three in Chicago alone, including a second spin with Jeremy Bates), then

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Franchise-QB search expected to continue sooner rather than later

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Franchise-QB search expected to continue sooner rather than later

CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2017 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what draft day could have in store. Sixth in a series.

Bears pre-draft situation

Jay Cutler lasted through two years under the John Fox coaching staff while his 2014 contract still contained some guaranteed money. The new regime under GM Ryan Pace was given the option by Chairman George McCaskey of cutting ties earlier regardless of financial commitment but Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains as coordinators made a go of it before Cutler's injuries (shoulder and thumb last season) and mediocre play regardless of supporting cast made the organization's decision for it.

Resolving a now-decades-old problem position has been goal No. 1 of Pace, with all indications that the process will be ongoing, vs. the Cutler's-fine approach of the past eight years. Step one was signing Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup Mike Glennon to a three-year deal but with $16 million of the $18.5 million guaranteed coming in 2017. The situation establishes Glennon as the starter, with a chance to put a hold on the job beyond this season with a breakout year.

"It's a leap of faith to some degree," Fox acknowledged during the NFL owners meetings. "But I think you do that in a lot of different positions and evaluations of personnel and people. The big thing with him is that he has been in NFL football games. He has been in a lot of systems and around different players and personalities and, I think, handled it well."

The decision was made to move on from Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as backups, signing Mark Sanchez, 30, to a one-year pact worth $1 million guaranteed plus a per-game bonus that allows the deal to top out at $2 million. Connor Shaw showed promise before going down for the year with a broken leg suffered in preseason.

Pre-draft depth chart
 
Starter: Mike Glennon
Reserves: Mark Sanchez, Connor Shaw

Bears draft priority: High

The Glennon and Sanchez signings were modest financial and time commitments by NFL standards. Their depth chart has no "elite" in place and does not need another mid-range quarterback; they had that for eight years in Cutler and know what limitations a limited quarterback brings to a franchise.

Using Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints experience as the template, Pace has been clear that he is seeking a quarterback with the intangibles to do more than post statistics, going further to lift the collective team mojo, something too often painfully lacking during the Cutler tenure.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bears tickets right here!]

All of which makes the quarterback draft options a level more interesting than the basic talent/traits assessments and evaluations that have circulated. The Bears have done extensive research on the quarterback prospects, and few envision scenarios where the Bears do not strike for one within the first several rounds.

The overarching No. 1 question: Will the Bears disregard draft slot (No. 3) and land a quarterback perhaps not graded that highly but with the intangibles the organization craves?

Question No. 2: Could quarterbacks go a surprising 1-2 with the Cleveland Browns tapping Mitchell Trubisky and San Francisco 49ers snatching Deshaun Watson?

As far as this year's class, "I'm not banging the table for any of them," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who tapped Clemson's Deshaun Watson as the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 draft class.

Keep an eye on:

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame — The Bears sent a task force to South Bend for Kizer's Pro Day, in addition to a Combine interview and private meeting. Athletic but INT rate (2.7 percent), accuracy (60.7 completion percentage) and W-L record (14-11) nothing special.
 
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech — Has been likened to both Cutler and Brett Favre for big-play predispositions, mobility and arm abilities. May have widest hit-miss potential, with major upside but also weaknesses in decision-making that concern some. "I just think his fundamentals break down too many times," Mayock said.
 
Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh — Bears coaches worked with him at Senior Bowl. Not as highly touted as others in the class but among most pro-ready and rates as possible nugget in mid-rounds — if left on the board that long.
 
Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina — Bears were scouting him intently early last college season and invested a Combine interview and private workout in additional time with what some rate as the best-available at his position in a class short on "elite" talents. But opinions vary widely, with Trubisky being mentioned for Cleveland at No. 1 or for No. 12, for example.
 
Deshaun Watson, Clemson — Unquestioned intangibles leader with curious "negatives:" accuracy (67.4 career completion percentage) and turnovers (2.7 INT percentage). Two full years as starter, two appearances in national championship game.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Ohio State OL Pat Elflein

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Ohio State OL Pat Elflein

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Pat Elflein, OL, Ohio State

6'3" | 303 lbs.

Projection:

Second-to-third round

Scouting Report:

"Elflein is a smart, tireless worker with a winning background and experience at all three interior offensive line spots. While his feet are just average, his core strength and wrestling background could make him a favorite of teams looking for more strength at the center position. Elflein will have occasional issues in pass protection, but his strength as a run blocker and ability to play with excellent hands and plus body control should make him one of the first interior linemen to come off the draft board." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles