Sunday, July 3, 2022

Initial Thoughts On The Bears Hiring Ryan Poles And Matt Eberflus

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Well, it’s official.  The Chicago Bears have their new general manager and new head coach, and have officially named both.



Ryan Poles signed on as the Bears’ new GM, replacing Ryan Pace.  And a couple days later, he hired Matt Eberflus, replacing Matt Nagy.

Ryan and Matt together again, replacing Ryan and Matt.

It would be the perfect acquisition, to top it all off!

As we wait for the introductory press conference on Monday, January 31, I had some initial thoughts I wanted to share, based on what we’ve learned and heard so far.  And the fact that the news has been digested somewhat at this point.

Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.

Thoughts On The Bears’ Hires

  • I will say, I do credit the Bears’ process during this time.  Casting a wide net was a necessary approach, and it truly feels like they kept an open mind during the entire process.  Having five perspectives in the room, even if some of them knew nothing about football, was better than just having George McCaskey and Ted Phillips.
  • The Ryan Poles hire is exciting.  His background and specialty is on the offensive line, and Kansas City rebuilt their OL on the fly this offseason.  Give him big credit for finding and evaluating guys like Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith, two rookies who are amongst the best at their positions on the interior line.  He also had input in guys like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and others.
  • Another good thing about Poles — he has experience learning from folks like Scott Pioli, John Dorsey and Brett Veach.  He also held *several* personnel roles in KC, so he has a lot more experience in a variety of things than Ryan Pace (and is a year younger at the time of hiring).  It’s intriguing.  And given the amount of work the Bears’ OL needs, this is great.
  • Good for Poles, also, to kick Bill Polian out of the interview rooms and take on the head coach interviews himself.  That shows ownership and ability to negotiate the control he deserves in his role.  The hire was his and his alone.
  • That said, I’d have liked to see the Bears expand their HC finalist list — significantly.  I did not like any of the three reported finalists: Matt Eberflus, Jim Caldwell and Dan Quinn.  Today’s NFL is about quarterbacks and offense, and the list consisted of two defensive coaches and an offensive coach who last held a prominent role four years ago (and any role two years ago).  Not exactly inspiring.
  • The reality is — and I’ve said this on countless occasions — the highest ceiling in today’s NFL is finding an offensive coach who can call plays and design an offense, and installing them as the head coach.  Pairing them with (what is believed to be by many) a franchise QB in Justin Fields would be great.  That is the highest ceiling in today’s NFL.  Yes, coaches like Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, Mike Vrabel and Sean McDermott exist, but the reality is those are rarer success stories.
  • To the point above, just look at the final four: Zac Taylor, Sean McVay, Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan.  Look at the four coaches they ousted — two of them were Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich and Matt LaFleur.  One of them (McDermott) had a great OC/QB (Brian Daboll and Josh Allen) elevate the offense to extreme heights to overcome a collapsing defense.
  • Matt Eberflus is the new HC, and the biggest question is going to be: What is his staff going to look like and what’s his plan for Fields?  It is, and always will be, about the quarterback and the offense.  The reality is “developing a QB” is a myth.  A QB is either great and they find their footing, or they are not.  But the QB has to be in a situation where they can succeed.  What can Eberflus make of this.
  • The other challenge is defensive coaches, historically, are much more conservative.  There is a newer age with guys like Brandon Staley and, occasionally, Sean McDermott bucking that trend.  But conservatism has plagued defensive coaches at times — Tomlin, Vrabel, etc.  Given Eberflus reminds many of Lovie Smith, who was conservative to the max, the Bears must hope he bucks that trend.
  • Let’s see what happens.  At the very least, a new era of Bears football is here.  Whether it’s any different than the previous eras remains to be seen.

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