The Chicago Bears have reportedly parted ways with general manager Phil Emery, the team announced. The franchise failed to make the playoffs in any of his three seasons making the personnel decisions.
Emery spoke about his exit on Monday, via John Mooney of CSN Chicago and Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune:
Brandon Marshall reacted to the news, via Twitter:
The Bears came into the season with high expectations. They had no shortage of talent on the offense and improvement was expected on the defensive side following the additions of Jared Allen and first-round draft pick Kyle Fuller, among others.
Things didn't come together as Emery and Co. hoped. The offense was a disaster at times with Jay Cutler continuing to make too many poor decisions, Matt Forte lacking the explosiveness of years past and injuries to the receiving corps.
The defense didn't make nearly enough progress to make up for those shortcomings. It once again ranked near the bottom of the league in yards allowed, in large part due to a shaky secondary.
Though the team's struggles had already put Emery in the spotlight, the situation became even more tense in early December. That's when offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer revealed himself as the source of criticism about Cutler for an anonymous report by the NFL Network.
It raised questions about the general manager's handling of the organization. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune provided remarks from Emery, who was disappointed about the situation but remained focused on regaining the trust of fans.
"A mistake was made, so when you make mistakes you have to learn from them. And if you learn from them, you will grow," he said. "You will move in a positive direction. And if we do that as a team, we will earn the trust of our fans and earn the respect of our fans moving forward."
Now it appears he won't get that opportunity.
The move doesn't come as a complete surprise. The team has been trending in the wrong direction over the past couple years. The roster choices made by Emery played a role in that decline and there wasn't an easy fix available looking toward 2015.
There are some promising pieces on the roster, but it's going to take some work to get the group back to a level where title contention is a serious expectation. The first major decision for the new general manager will be deciding what to do at quarterback.
Emery should land on his feet somewhere. He has previous experience as director of scouting for the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs. Things just didn't work out with the Bears.
Soon the team will start moving in a new direction.