One of the bigger surprises of the past week came from the revelation that the Chicago Bears requested an interview with Indianapolis Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds. The surprise wasn’t that the Bears made the request, mind you. It was that Dodds accepted it. Over the past few years, his name has consistently been high in NFL circles as a future GM. However, it is also becoming clear that he won’t jump for just any job.
In 2020 he declined a chance to interview for the Cleveland Browns’ top position. Then last year he backed out of the same job with the Carolina Panthers. It was evident that Dodds doesn’t feel any pressure to leave Indianapolis unless it’s for a spot he thinks is worth something. Given the current state of the Browns and Panthers, he might’ve made a good call. That is why his decision to interview with the Bears is rather encouraging.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 17, 2022
It offers an indication that he likes what he sees in Chicago.
Maybe it’s the young quarterback he’d inherit in Justin Fields. Starting with a talented player like that under center is always a big benefit. Or perhaps he was encouraged to take the job by his friend Chris Ballard, the Colts GM. Ballard spent several years as a scout and executive in Chicago. He knows their operation well and has a deep understanding of their inner workings. Last but not least is ownership. For all the talk about George McCaskey being out of his depth, the fact is he’s known for being patient and non-invasive. Exactly what a GM wants.
Here is something else to remember. The scouting community is large but also interwoven. Everybody knows everybody. Dodds has been around a long time, so people have known him as both a scout in Seattle and now an executive with the Colts. According to Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog, there are several people inside Halas Hall that are fans of his. Not only due to his excellent track record as an evaluator, but also his different mentality.
The Ed Dodds interview today feels important. Lot of enthusiasm for that guy in the building.
“Top of the league evaluator”
“Chris Ballard with an edge”
“Would be complete personality departure from Ryan Pace”
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) January 17, 2022
Ed Dodds is known for being blunt and relentless
Ryan Pace had a likable personality. He was smart, spoke with conviction, and had a knack for communicating with people. He was well-liked in Halas Hall. There was something missing though. Many felt the Bears’ GM didn’t have an alpha personality. He had a tendency to avoid confrontations whenever possible. His style was about building a family culture. That isn’t a bad thing, but at some point, it can tend to let people relax too much.
Ed Dodds is not the sort of guy to let something like that happen. Need proof? Zak Keefer of The Athletic did an outstanding profile on the assistant GM. Two quotes stood out. One came when Dodds spoke to his scouts following the conclusion of the 2018 season. Many were happy and encouraged they’d returned to the playoffs, even beating the Texans in the wild card round. He was not.
Moments like that made it clear who Dodds was.
When it came to setting the standard for the organization he worked for, there were zero compromises. Either you win the Super Bowl or your season was a failure.
“I just felt like everyone was jacked, we’re on this win streak, and I’m kinda like, what the fuck does it matter?” Dodds said a few months later. “If we don’t go to a Super Bowl, so what? A couple of injuries, bomb a couple of draft picks, no one in the pipeline to replace the players you lost? You gotta be relentless. You can’t stop. I don’t.”
No doubt this is something a lot of people in Halas Hall feel is missing. That edge. That uncompromising mentality. The Bears seemed to have it in 2018. Then they lost it, convinced they’d arrived and a Super Bowl wasn’t too far off. They were wrong. Dodds seems like the sort of person that would’ve never let that happen. His mentality fits the blue-collar style of Chicago and people in Lake Forest seem to sense that.