Chicago Bears: Phil Emery Has Put the Bears in the Right Position

Matt EurichAnalyst INovember 17, 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

Last year, after compiling a 7-3 record, the Bears appeared right on track toward making a playoff berth. Following a 31-20 win over the Chargers in Week 11, it was discovered that quarterback Jay Cutler broke his thumb and would likely be out for the remainder of the season.

The Bears moved forward with backup Caleb Hanie. Then-General Manager Jerry Angelo felt strongly enough about his abilities as a backup and failed to sign a more proven veteran.

Many felt Hanie's NFC Championship Game experience from the year prior where he came in for the injured Cutler and went 13-20 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, was proof he could be a viable option.

Hanie struggled mightily in his four starts, going 51-102 for 613 yards, three touchdowns, nine interceptions with a 41.8 quarterback rating.

The Bears started veteran Josh McCown, who was signed as insurance following the Cutler injury, for the final two games, going 1-1, losing to Green Bay and beating Minnesota.

Following the struggles of 2011, the Bears management decided to part ways with Angelo, hiring former Kansas City Chief's director of scouting, Phil Emery.

Emery made it abundantly clear that he wanted to improve the roster and fight for a championship (h/t Chicago Sun Times):

“My job moving forward ... is to continue to build this team so that we can be consistent winners and consistently be in the hunt to win championships.”

Emery made his splashes early, trading for the much maligned yet extremely talented Brandon Marshall and signing one of the best quarterbacks on the market, Jason Campbell.

Marshall's impact has been immediate, currently second in the league with 67 catches, third in receiving yards with 904 and is tied for third in touchdowns with seven. Marshall's connection with Cutler has led to his big numbers, despite often being double teamed.

Following a concussion suffered last Sunday night against the Texans, the Bears will now turn to Emery's hand-picked backup in Campbell.

Campbell was selected 25th overall in 2005 following an undefeated season at Auburn his senior year. His career has had its ups and downs from injuries to constant changes of offensive coordinators.  A broken collarbone ended his 2011 campaign in Oakland and midseason trade for Carson Palmer all but signed his walking papers.

Emery realized the impact that a backup quarterback can have on your season and signed Campbell to a one-year $3.5 million deal. He has thrown for over 14,000 yards and 71 touchdowns in his career and protects the ball well, having only thrown two interceptions in a game twice.

Can Campbell lead the Bears to a victory over a very tough 49ers' defense on Monday night? Who knows. But in the very least, Phil Emery has already put this team in a better position than Jerry Angelo did.

Matt Eurich is a contributor to Follow Bears Backer on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute news about the Bears. Also, check out Matt’s work on and follow him on Twitter @MattEurich.