Phil Emery tells why Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith


When Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery assumed power prior to last season, he inherited Lovie Smith. The longtime coach was a fixture in the Windy City, but Smith was fired in December.

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Despite Smith's 81-63 record in Chicago, it's not unusual for a new GM to handpick a coach of his own. Emery explained to SI's Peter King why he fired Smith.

"We were in a position where if he stayed, he would be picking his fifth offensive coordinator," Emery said. "Part of it was because I really believe looking at a team that if you're going to have success, the most important relationship is between the head coach and the quarterback."

Said Emery: "I like our quarterback. I think Jay Cutler is very talented. He wants to improve. I know he needed to improve for us to be a championship team. When we were looking at making a change we knew that if we were going to do it we were going to make that the focus point. We had to work from that end."

Not unlike Rex Ryan telling society that the Wildcat "is here to stay," Smith -- a keen defensive mind -- never got the Bears' offense off the ground. Emery's hiring of creative coach Marc Trestman had everything to do with Cutler, and rethinking how the Bears attack opponents.

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Emery said Trestman won him over right away: "When he was interviewing," Emery said, "we sat down for five hours in a hotel room outside of Chicago, one-on-one, he and I, and we talked about preparation for a game, and there was a spot in there when he said a few things to me, which made me think, 'Wow, this guy's a football coach.'

"He's here to win," Emery said. "And I see a lot of players that have bought in collectively."

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