According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Phil Emery, ex-Chicago Bears GM, will join the Falcons' scouting and personnel department. Pro Football Talk reported Atlanta will also add Ruston Webster, who was recently fired by the Tennessee Titans.
For the time being, Emery is remaining mum about the news, per ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure:
Asked former Bears GM Phil Emery 1 hour ago if he was joining the Falcons staff. He said "I don't know what you're talking about."— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) January 26, 2016
Emery has some history with the Falcons, working in their scouting department from 2004-2008 before moving to the Kansas City Chiefs and eventually joining the Bears in 2012. His addition to the team won't come as a surprise after McClure reported on Jan. 18 he had shown up to a team practice on Aug. 13 in addition to a Falcons home game, where he was taking notes in the press box.
Emery failed to turn the Bears' fortunes around, and his decision to hire Marc Trestman as head coach ahead of Bruce Arians was a major mistake in retrospect.
Webster had a similarly spotty record as GM of the Titans. After he was hired in January 2012, Tennessee posted an 18-46 record in the following four seasons. During that stretch, first-round draft picks Kendall Wright and Chance Warmack have been somewhat disappointing, while second-rounders Justin Hunter and Bishop Sankey have failed to become key contributors in the offense.
While Emery and Webster both struggled when in charge of a team, they obviously proved themselves to be adept talent evaluators; otherwise, they never would've received GM jobs in the first place. They will join what is already a front office flush with experience, per McClure:
Falcons will have four former GMs in Webster, Emery, Pioli, and Devaney along with Dimitroff— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) January 26, 2016
Matt Chernoff of 680 The Fan in Atlanta wondered whether that could turn into a problem for the Falcons:
How many cooks will be in the Flowery Branch kitchen?!?! https://t.co/keHR0MwfTj— Matt Chernoff (@RealMattlanta) January 26, 2016
As long as general manager Thomas Dimitroff retains the final say on any personnel decision, having so many former GMs shouldn't become an issue. There's no harm in soliciting the input from additional experienced voices.
The timing is also good since Emery and Webster will have plenty of time to assess this year's draft class and identify their preferred targets.