The Chicago Bears parted ways with Lovie Smith after 9 season which included a run to the Super Bowl. Smith boasted a record of 81-63 but fizzled down the stretch last season after a 7-1 start. Their 3-5 finish to the season had them fall from first place in the NFC to out of the playoffs.
Phil Emery sat down with SI’s Peter King and explained why he made the tough call.
“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.”
“I like our quarterback,” Emery said. “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.”
Marc Trestman is known as an offensive guru and notably worked with Rich Gannon during his MVP year. He took a detour as head coach in the CFL and that had people raising eyebrows initially.
“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.”