Emery takes solid approach with meticulous search

In 1998, Bill Belichick was a secondary coach for the Jets after flaming out as head coach of the Browns when he got a call from Davis about the Raiders' head coaching position.

When he sat down to interview with Davis, his first question was: "What am I doing here?" Belichick knew Davis was the de facto defensive coordinator of the Raiders and his intent always was to hire an offensive-minded head coach.

And sure enough, Davis hired the young offensive coordinator of the Eagles, Jon Gruden. But Davis didn't waste his time with Belichick. Davis picked his brain about defensive strategies, techniques and trends.

In a league of closely guarded secrets, the interview process presents an opportunity to peer into other organizations' souls.

So maybe Davis inspired some of Emery's approach. You never know what benefits could be derived from getting to know a candidate.

In 2007, Davis interviewed Steve Sarkisian, then an assistant at Southern Cal. Davis asked him who his offensive coordinator would be, and Sarkisian introduced him to Lane Kiffin. Sarkisian eventually backed out, but Davis' open mind led him to naming Kiffin his head coach.

If nothing else, Emery is getting a lot of free, professional, unbiased evaluations of his own team. Some teams pay independent scouting services big money for self evals, just to hear outside voices.

And on the subject of voices, all the talk about the hiring process merely is noise.

All that will matter is where it leads.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei

CHICAGO

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