Chicago Bears: What Fans Should Consider a Successful Season from GM Phil Emery

William GrantContributor IIIJuly 12, 2012

LAKE FOREST, IL - JUNE 12: General manager Phil Emery of the Chicago Bears watches a minicamp practice at Halas Hall on June 12, 2012 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bears fans have long lamented the poor decisions of Jerry Angelo when he was the general manager. From ignoring the huge needs of the offensive line to overpaying for free agents that were well past their prime, Angelo had certainly worn out his welcome by the time he was fired at the end of last season. 

Now Chicago has Phil Emery, who comes into the GM position with a ton of expectations.

Trading for Brandon Marshall was a big way to start the free agency season. Adding Michael Bush and Jason Campbell provided depth at two positions that was needed last season.

But since then, there have been a few moves that have people scratching their heads. Can Emery live up to the hype? Here are some realistic expectations that fans can have of Emery and the Bears this season and what can be used to measure success by the time the 2012 season is over.


Just Win Baby!

Al Davis may be gone, but his sound bite still means a lot.

Chicago finished 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs, but there is little doubt that the lack of depth behind Jay Cutler and Matt Forte were a big part of that. With one or two key additions, they could have been 10-game winners last year.

If Chicago only wins eight or nine games this year, most fans will be asking Emery why those key acquisitions didn't pan out. At the minimum, the Bears need to make the playoffs if Emery's first season is to be considered a success. 


Better Offensive Line Play

There is little debate about the fact that the offensive line had serious issues last season. The frequent sacks and constant pressure made passing a nightmare, and even the casual football fan could see that changes needed to be made.

But, despite big-name free agents like Eric Winston and Carl Nicks being on the market, the Bears made no significant free-agent additions.

In the draft, the Bears could have added Riley Reiff or David DeCastro with the 19th overall pick. Instead, they passed it up to bolster the defensive line. In fact, they ignored the OL for the entire draft.

If the offensive line gives up 49 sacks again this season, Emery will be the guy the fans blame for repeating the mistakes of the past. 


Shea McClellin Needs to Start

The Bears can't afford to spend the 19th overall pick on a guy who doesn't have an immediate impact, especially when many scouts had McClellin listed as a second-round pick.

Chicago fans are giving Emery the benefit of the doubt on this one, but they will quickly turn on Emery if this pick turns into another project. If Emery is going to ignore the obvious needs at offensive line to draft a pass-rusher like McClellin at No. 19 overall, he better start and have an impact this season.


Brandon Marshall Needs to Walk the Walk

Even if the Bears make the playoffs, their offensive line holds up and Shea McClellin is an impact rookie, Brandon Marshall needs to live up to the hype for Phil Emery to consider 2012 a success.

The acquisition of Marshall was the biggest move that Chicago made this offseason. While the Bears only gave up two third-round picks for him, if Marshall doesn't post 1,000 yards receiving this season, Emery can't be considered a complete success.