The Chicago Bears ended a busy week of hirings by putting two young, inexperienced men together to lead a new rebuild.
Well, when the week started many people expected the Chicago Bears to move quickly on finishing their searches for a new general manager and head coach. That certainly happened.
After hiring Ryan Poles to be their new general manager, he hit the ground running, interviewing three head coach candidates. Two days after Poles’ hiring, he and the Bears hired former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus to become the head coach.
It was a bold move to pair two young, inexperienced people to run the team. Chicago Bears Chairman of the Board George McCaskey promised to not meddle in the process and it appeared that he was true to his word.
As reported on ESPN Chicago’s Waddle and Silvy show, McCaskey and Bill Polian wanted to hire Jim Caldwell. Ted Phillips and the other members of the search committee, LaMar “Soup” Campbell and Tanesha Wade, were In favor of Dan Quinn. Early on Thursday, however, Quinn removed his name from consideration and decided to stay with the Dallas Cowboys.
It was Poles who wanted Eberflus and he made the final decision.
McCaskey and Phillips have taken a lot of grief for some of their moves throughout their time. They deserve some credit here, though. They, just like many Chicago Bears fans, must feel really nervous pairing two inexperienced people to run the team. Having Caldwell would be a safe choice.
With his vast experience, there is nothing that he hasn’t seen in the NFL. Additionally, Caldwell is a great communicator so he could mesh with the young Poles in ways that John Fox and Ryan Pace weren’t able to when they got together. Fox was too entrenched in his ways and wasn’t open to what Pace wanted. That resulted in three straight last-place finishes.
It is important for the general manager to have a good rapport with the head coach, especially when starting out. They need to have the same vision so the general manager could get the players the head coach feels he needs to succeed. Poles feels comfortable with Eberflus. Poles and Eberflus are friends and share an agent so that helped with that comfort. McCaskey, even though he likely had his doubts, let Poles make the decision.
Some may criticize the Bears for going with another Ryan/Matt pairing of inexperienced choices. We saw how it didn’t work with the first pair. However, there are some differences. Many people clamored for an offensive-minded head coach to help develop the offense and young quarterback Justin Fields. That didn’t work with Nagy because he was too stubborn to adjust his system to his players’ abilities. That is something many offensive “gurus” do — they feel that their system is superior so they expect the players to adjust.
That won’t happen with Eberflus. He doesn’t have an offensive system he feels is superior. He’ll be more open to doing whatever it takes to put Fields in a successful position and to develop a great offense. Of course, hiring the right offensive coordinator will be crucial for success.
With Pace, he got enamored with finding the diamond in the rough. He found a few but missed badly on a lot of the early picks in the draft. He also whiffed on some free agents. Poles won’t be trying to hit a home run with every pick or a free agent. He’ll do what he did with the Kansas City Chiefs — he’ll go with the best player available even if it isn’t a big name.
Having the two new hires come in together also helps. Nagy came in after Pace was in place for three years. Nagy inherited Mitchell Trubisky and some of the other players. Poles and Eberflus come in together and with all the openings on the roster (over 30 free agents and another few eligible for buyouts), this pair will make the choices in unison. Eberflus won’t inherit any players that Poles chose. Poles and Eberflus will get to know each other and know what players they need to succeed.
The Chicago Bears made bold choices for their replacements. Yes, it is also nerve-wracking. There may be some growing pains, but having two guys working and growing together should make the team better. Of course, we won’t see that until the games begin.