Sunday, August 14, 2022

Ian Cunningham Wants Bears To Operate Like Baltimore Ravens

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GM Ryan Poles knew when he took over the Chicago Bears he would have to change how the organization thinks when it comes to team-building. The philosophy they embraced under Ryan Pace didn’t work and left the franchise with a big mess to clean up. Part of the reason it didn’t work in the mind of new assistant GM Ian Cunningham was simple. They weren’t drafting the right types of players.



Physical talent is important, sure. However, Cunningham was taught to believe that mentality is just as if not more vital to success in this sport. That is why he’s setting forth a plan along with Poles to shift team preferences towards a different kind of player. According to Dan Pompei of The Athletic, he learned to appreciate a specific type during his time as a scout with the Baltimore Ravens.

Poles said Cunningham leans toward the types of players the Ravens are known for acquiring — passionate players who want to be great and play with chips on their shoulders.

“They have to have the right makeup for the game, and that always sticks out to us,” Poles said. “You want the guys you acquire, especially at the top of the draft or in free agency, to reflect the culture you are trying to build.”

Before last year’s draft, Poles and Cunningham had several conversations about how both were drawn to Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson in part because of his intangibles. He was a warrior, a leader, a tone-setter, and he played with an element of nastiness.

It seems the Bears are already operating with that in mind.

Look at the players they’ve acquired thus far, like Lucas Patrick, Nicholas Morrow, and Byron Pringle. All were undrafted free agents coming into the NFL. They had to fight their way onto rosters and fight even harder to get playing time. Hence when watching them play, it feels like there is a greater sense of urgency. Sure they may not be the most talented on the field, but nobody is going to outwork or out-effort them.

The goal for Ian Cunningham is to fill up the entire Bears roster with such players. Success tends to follow when the entire team is made up of that same character. Baltimore has proven that for over 20 years now with two Super Bowls championships and 15 winning seasons. That kind of success rate is something Chicago is desperate to experience after getting a taste of it in the 1980s.

It is impossible to fault the team brass for making such an adjustment in thinking. Whatever was being done before hasn’t worked. Change is often the only course of action in such situations.

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