Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Atlanta Falcons are set to hire former Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery as part of their previously announced front-office shakeup. Pro Football Talk reports that the Falcons are set to hire to former Tennessee Titans GM Ruston Webster as well.
Emery rejoins the Falcons after serving as the team’s director of scouting from 2004 to 2008. In 2009, Emery left to join Scott Pioli’s front office in a similar capacity as director of college scouting before taking over as the Bears’ general manager in 2012. He served in that capacity for three years before being replaced in 2015 by Ryan Pace. Emery was last seen working with the Falcons during training camp and attending at least one home game in 2015 according to ESPN.
Webster is very familiar with Falcons president Rich McKay, as the pair worked together extensively during their shared days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1993 through 2003. After McKay became Falcons GM in 2004, Webster joined the Seattle Seahawks as vice president of player personnel in 2006. He served in that capacity until he briefly worked as interim GM for a month at the end of the 2009 season before the hiring of John Schneider in January 2010. Webster took on VP of player personnel duties with the Titans in 2010 before being elevated to GM in 2012.
Emery’s experience with both Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and assistant GM Pioli make him a prime candidate to replace former Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital, who was dismissed earlier this month, as part of the team’s front-office shakeup. Emery’s move to Kansas City in 2009 was largely at the behest and recommendation of Dimitroff despite the fact that the former was demoted in 2008 to regional scout from his previous status as a scouting director.
It’s also possible that Webster could take on that role as well, given his experience working in that capacity both in Tampa Bay, Seattle and Tennessee. During his time in Seattle, Webster overlapped with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn for one season when the latter worked as defensive line coach under former head coach Jim Mora in 2009.
UPDATE: The Falcons officially announced the additions of both Emery and Webster as national scouts.
Webster got his start in pro personnel back in 1988 as a regional scout for the Buccaneers. He served mostly in that capacity until 2001 when he was promoted to director of college scouting. He also worked for three years as a director of pro personnel from 1989 to 1991. In 2005 during his final year with the Buccaneers, Webster added director of player personnel to his resume.
Emery and Webster will give the Falcons six former and active general managers in their front office. McKay, Dimitroff and Pioli are also joined by former St. Louis Rams GM Billy Devaney.