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Straight from the GM’s mouth

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 12:43 a.m. CDT

By TOM MUSICK

tmusick@shawmedia.com

Bears general manager Phil Emery left his options open Tuesday at Halas Hall as he described his search for Lovie Smith’s replacement.

On most important criteria: “We’re going to look at a wide variety of candidates. We’re going to look offensively. We’re going to look defensively. We’re going to look special teams. We’re going to look NFL. We’re going to look college. Whatever combination that person possesses in terms of excellence in combination with the individuals that would comprise his staff will have a lot of weight on that person being right for the Chicago Bears.”

On previous head-coaching experience: “No. 1 criteria is that they have excellence in their role. Being able to, when they talk and present themselves, being able to project themselves as our head coach, whether they’ve been a head coach in the past or not.”

On whether candidates’ ages matter: “It only would affect me if I don’t feel the energy from the person. If I don’t feel that they’re ready to go and attack our team in terms of helping it reach its goals, that would be [a problem]. It would be more of an energy than an age issue.”

On whether the Bears have put him on a budget for the next coach: “Money has never been a discussion. It wasn’t a discussion when we had the discussions and I led the analysis in terms of what my final decision was [with Smith]. It never came up. It has not come up in this process of putting together candidates and scheduling.”

On whether Jay Cutler is the Bears’ long-term quarterback: “That answer is going to come as we move forward with a new head coach. Am I convinced that Jay has the talent to be that? Yes, I am. I’ll say the same thing that I said this summer: I see Jay as a franchise quarterback. We’ve got to build around him. That’s been the goal from the beginning.”

On whether he prefers a 4-3 defensive scheme (‘43’) or a 3-4 scheme (’34’): “I’ve seen both. We have 43 personnel. For somebody to move from 43 to 34, they’re going to have to convince me that we have the players with the skill sets and the body types to move towards that defense.”

On whether he would share power over personnel decisions: “The government has checks and balances. … [Our system], that’s a check and balance. If you’re going to hand that all to one person, I think you’re not developing personnel talent, you’re putting it all in one person’s hands. … I just don’t see that to be a good mix.”

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