Chicago Bears: Pressure now on Matt Eberflus to produce an NFC North contender in 2024

Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles did a huge job of rebuilding a contending team in 2024. Now it is up to head coach Matt Eberflus to show results on the field.
Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The NFL free agency has died down. The draft is now behind us. Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles has done a huge job of building a contending team in Year 3 of his rebuild. When he became the GM, he said he set out to build a complete team that would contend consistently.

Previous GMs failed to build a full team. Sure, there were winning seasons here and there. However, those seasons were few and far between. There were many more losing seasons and the team became irrelevant. The franchise's focus on a strong defense seemed out of place in the modern, pass-happy NFL.

On paper, Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles did a good job of building a complete team that could consistently contend. Now it is up to head coach Matt Eberflus and his staff to produce results on the field.

Poles came to Chicago and wanted to change all of that. He built up the defense, yes. While the overall numbers last season were not one of an elite defense, they were certainly playing well after a slow start.

In the first four games of the 2023 season, the Bears defense allowed 34.2 points per game. For the rest of the season, they allowed just 18.6 points per game. If they did that for the entire season they would have ranked sixth in scoring defense.

Looking at it from afar, it seemed as if Poles was doing the same thing previous GMs made -- a strong defense and a mediocre offense whose only strength was the running game. This offseason, Poles changed all of that.

Poles made the offense a priority this offseason. He brought in running back D'Andre Swift, tight end Gerald Everett, offensive linemen Ryan Bates, Coleman Shelton, and Matt Pryor. Then he added six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen. Having the new guys join DJ Moore and Cole Kmet, the offense now has multiple weapons.

Poles was not finished, however. In the draft, he selected two elite prospects. He used the number one pick on a "generational" talent, former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams. Then, with the ninth pick, he selected wide receiver Rome Odunze. Now the Bears have a great quarterback who can make any throw and who has three WR1s to target.

Later in the draft, Poles felt he needed more on offense. He selected offensive lineman Kiran Amegadjie in the third round. Suddenly, this offense looks like it can cause some major damage in the league in 2024. Chicago could have a must-see offense, something fans are not used to seeing.

Poles then made a surprising move. He drafted a punter, Tory Taylor, with his fourth-round pick. The Chicago Bears ranked last in net punt yards in 2023 (38). They also ranked 25th in average punting yards (46.1). Poles felt the team needed something better in order to win the field position battle.

As a result, Poles went after Taylor. While Williams is considered a generational quarterback talent, Taylor is considered a generational punter. In 2023, he broke the NCAA record for most punt yards in a season. The previous record stood since 1938. Later, the Bears waived Trenton Gill.

Now Taylor strengthens the special teams. He joins the extremely accurate kicker Cairo Santos to perhaps give the Bears one of the top punter/kicker duos in the league.

Now Eberflus has to put it all together

Now head coach Matt Eberflus and his staff have the pressure of putting everything together. Ebeflus has to feel fortunate that he survived the purge of the coaching staff at the start of the offseason. There was a lot of criticism thrown his way after a 10-24 record. Additionally, the Bears had three sure wins that turned into losses after late collapses last season.

Some of Eberflus' decisions failed to succeed and resulted in those losses. Now he has a full team and he needs to make sure things go well. He has a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron. Waldron has had success with quarterbacks with the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks. Now Eberflus and the Chicago Bears hope he does the same with Williams.


The pressure is high for Eberflus and his staff. Their jobs, as well as Poles', are on the line. The eyes of the NFL are now on them. The Chicago Bears are becoming the league's darlings. Many expect them to have a big season. A lot of people expect to see a lot of prime-time games for Chicago. They do not want to fall flat on their faces. Eberflus needs to put his best foot forward and put the players in a position to succeed or it will be time for yet another change in Chicago.