I am really mad at myself right now. When the rest of the Chicago Bears media and I met with general manager Phil Emery on Thursday, I didn’t ask the most important question of all, and nobody else came up with it either.
Who exactly wears the pants in the Bears' draft war room these days?
OK, unless Terry Boers is suddenly working on the draft for the Bears, I assume everyone in the room has pants on, but do you get where I’m heading here?
I don’t ever remember hearing a line of questioning as to exactly what the relationship is between Emery and coach Marc Trestman when it comes to the draft and player procurement?
Emery did talk about assigning reports to his coaches and getting their help in evaluating players.
But when the club is on the clock and the decision has to be made who they are going to take, how much if any input does Trestman have?
I’m under the impression that Emery picks talent and Trestman coaches football. But in every GM/head coach relationship there are blurred lines when it comes to just how much input the head coach has in picking players.
Who can forget the famous quote by Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells: “If I'm going to be asked to cook the meal, I'd like to be able to pick the groceries.”
Just how much does Trestman enjoy shopping?
Situations like Lovie Smith now has in Tampa where he was allowed to hire his own GM and has full say over the roster are extremely rare. And when it has been tried, it’s usually been a pretty bad idea.
It clearly didn’t work for Mike Holmgren in Seattle or Mike Shanahan in Washington, a couple of really good coaches.
But Parcells made it work after he left the Giants including the only small successful window Jerry Jones has had in Dallas since he chased Jimmy Johnson out of town, and Bill Belichick seems to make it work in New England.
This of course was a constant storyline when Jerry Angelo and Smith were together here.
Early on Angelo was clearly in charge of the roster and there were some success stories in the draft we tend to forget like Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Ian Scott, Tommy Harris, Bernard Berrian, Nathan Vashar, Kyle Orton and Devin Hester.
It is widely perceived, however, that after the Bears' 2006 Super Bowl loss and Smith’s subsequent contract extension, Lovie also was allowed to flex his muscles quite a bit more with personnel decisions and the bottom began to fall out.
That next draft started with Greg Olsen but then went, in order: Dan Bazuin, Garrett Wolfe and Michael Okwo to be followed in subsequent years with No. 1s such as Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi and other high picks such as Jarron Gilbert, Juaquin Iglesias, Major Wright and Chris Conte. Angelo began billing himself as the great facilitator, watching Lovie add free agent blunders like Adam Archuletta and Orlando Pace that eventually cost both men their jobs.
That is really the ultimate irony of Lovie’s situation today, but it’s a Buccaneer issue now.
What kind of talent evaluator is Trestman? We don’t really know.
We’re starting to suspect he’s a very good offensive coach, and he was prescient enough to see he could start Kyle Long and Jordan Mills from Day One as rookies.
Of course, he was also forced to start rookies Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene, and we know what a disaster that was.
It seems clear the draft is Emery’s show for the moment and Trestman is along for the ride, but just how good of an eye for talent the head coach has, and how much Emery is willing to listen to him, is going to go a long way in determining how successful this current Bears regime is, and how long they keep their jobs.
Please remind me to ask the question the next chance I get.
• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Shaw Media and ChicagoFootball.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org