Emery to expound on Bears' coaching move

A day after the Chicago Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith, general manager Phil Emery explained his decision to the media at Halas Hall.

The Bears scheduled the news conference for 10 a.m. on the first day of the year.  As soon as the session is over, Emery was expected to kick the search for Smith’s replacement into high gear.

"It was a tough day in many ways," Emery said of Smith's firinig. "It was a tough decision. Lovie had a good run here with good, competitive teams."

Missing the playoffs and struggles on offense were the key factors in Emery's decision.

"The end result was we didn't have enough consistecy," Emery said. "We need to consistently be in the playoffs competing for championships.

"We haven't had the balance, we have not had consistency on the offensive side of the ball. We have gone through a number of coordinators."

Emery said he discussed his decision with team chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips but was given the authority to make the call.

Emery said he would be looking at all levels -- former head coaches, current coordinators, college coaches -- for potential candidates. He said being an NFL head coach was a "24/7 job."

"I want somebody with high energy," Emery said. "Someone who pulls together everyone in the building."

Emery said working well with the media and presenting a good public image also were important factors.

"I want this person to stand up and represent us well," he said.

Emery said he would conduct the search "with a sense of urgency," but "we have to be thorough."

He said "the playoffs are a consideration ... there may be a candidate who is in the playoffs and we may have to wait on that."

He already got started Monday, setting up interviews with Atlanta Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.  Those interviews are scheduled for this week.

Many more interviews are expected to follow, as Emery is likely to have an expansive search process that encompasses many kinds of candidates.

Smith was fired after a 10-6 season.  The Bears missed the playoffs, as they had in five of the previous six years.  His inability to fix the offense was an issue throughout his nine seasons in Chicago.

But Smith also will be remembered for his excellent defenses that came up with takeaways better than any team in the NFL throughout his tenure.

While the Bears are looking for Smith’s replacement, Smith is expected to be a candidate for other NFL head-coaching jobs.  ESPN’s John Clayton reported Smith has been contacted by four teams, and Smith is expected to be a candidate for the Cardinals and Bills jobs.



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