Sunday, May 22, 2022

Ryan Poles Has Already Demonstrated How Different He Is From Ryan Pace

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The Chicago Bears‘ search for a head coach ended on Thursday when it was discovered that the team would be hiring Indianapolis Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as the new head coach. New general manager Ryan Poles made the hire on his own. Poles deciding to hire Eberflus without any influence from George McCaskey, Ted Phillips, or the consultant team, already shows that he is different from the general manager he replaced in Ryan Pace.



Bears Ownership Failed Already When They Influenced The Previous General Manager

When the Chicago Bears hired Pace to be their general manager back in January of 2018, ownership still influenced the new general manager who the potential head coaching hire should be. Chicago would hire John Fox as their head coach as consultant Ernie Accorsi encouraged the new general manager to give the coaching job to Fox. The problem was that Pace had already had his preferred candidate in mind with then Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Quinn had overseen a Seahawks defense that had been the best defensive unit for two seasons, leading to two Super Bowl appearances.

There is a belief that Pace and Quinn had a verbal agreement, but the Bears’ ownership did not want to wait until after Super Bowl 49 to hire their head coach. Accorsi and McCaskey persuaded their new general to hire Fox instead. The move would prove costly as the Bears would win only 14 games from 2015 to 2017, while Quinn became the head coach for the Atlanta Falcons and led them to a Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl 51.

The problem with not allowing Pace to hire his preferred choice demonstrates an issue of trust and an inability on ownership’s part to enable their executives to make decisions. McCaskey should have enabled his general manager to hire the new head coach and should have been more open to having a Super Bowl-caliber defensive coordinator as a future head coach for Chicago. Pace is also responsible for allowing this to happen and not being more steadfast in wanting to hire his candidate.

The Eberflus Hire Demonstrates Poles’ Desire To Be Fully In Charge

The Eberflus hire demonstrates that Poles wants to be in charge and free from any added or costly influence. Chicago hired Hall of Fame football executive Bill Polian to search for the new general manager and head coach. Although it was always the newly-appointed general manager’s responsibility to hire the head coach, Bears’ ownership and Polian were going to make recommendations on who to hire for the head coaching role. Quinn and former head coach Jim Caldwell were finalists, along with Eberflus, for the opening and were recommended by those who conducted the searches, but Poles chose to make the coaching hire on his own.

Poles’ decision not to be influenced by Polian or McCaskey matters significantly for his general manager tenure. If Eberflus becomes a successful head coach for the Bears and hires an offensive coordinator that develops quarterback Justin Fields, Chicago’s general manager will be viewed as an excellent executive. If Poles hired either Quinn or Caldwell due to influence from Polian or McCaskey only to have the decision backfire, the general manager would have received all the blame with ownership, and the hired consultant being free of any consequences.

Poles wanting to make the head-coaching hire on his own should significantly impress Bears’ ownership as the conviction demonstrates full trust in a plan. When Fox was let go as Chicago’s head coach in 2017, Pace was finally able to make the head coaching hire that he wanted, which unfortunately led to the hiring of Matt Nagy. Had the Bears’ previous general manager been able to hire his head coach sooner, Chicago would have known how good or bad their general manager was a lot quicker.

 

The hiring of Eberflus already demonstrates that Poles has a vision of how he wants to build the Bears moving forward and that he wants to be fully responsible for it. If Chicago’s general manager has total control of football operations for the Bears, then none of his football-related decisions should be influenced by ownership or by a consultant. Polian’s role of overseeing a search was no longer needed once the new general manager was hired. The Hall of Fame executive may have had good intentions and believed that Caldwell was the best candidate for the head coaching role, but it was Poles’ responsibility to hire the coach in the end.

 

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