What’s the best-case scenario for Bears GM Ryan Poles, coach Matt Eberflus in Year 1?
A look at that and six other questions the Bears face as they embark on a new era.
The Bears’ three-week search for a general manager and coach is finally over, and it’s up to Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus to turn around a team that went 22-27 and scored the sixth-fewest points in the NFL over the last three seasons.
Now that Poles and Eberflus are in place, here’s a look at where the Bears are headed:
The Eberflus hire was...
Normal. And it’s a relief anytime the Bears do something that qualifies as such.
Eberflus wasn’t one of the hottest candidates like Brian Daboll or Brian Flores, but he also wasn’t in the high-risk, high-reward category like Byron Leftwich or Nathaniel Hackett.
He’s a steady, defensive-minded coach with three decades of experience. He stayed at Toledo nine years, Missouri for eight, the Cowboys for seven and the Colts for four. He’s far from a mercenary. He could be just the right fit as the Bears try to establish long-term stability.
The Ryan Poles hire was ...
Exciting. Poles comes from the most compelling team in the NFL. Not only have the Chiefs been the winningest team in the league the last four seasons, they’ve been the most watchable. They’ve put up 30.3 points per game over that span.
That’s a dream for those who have trudge through the slog of a Bears game every week. Hiring someone who helped build the Chiefs into an incredible machine is cause for optimism.
Other than Poles and Eberflus, who would have been your picks?
If not Poles, Eliot Wolf was intriguing.
If not Eberflus, Brian Flores seems like the best coach available, followed by Dan Quinn. Quinn interviewed with six of the nine teams that needed a coach before withdrawing and returning to the Cowboys as defensive coordinator.
How will their hires affect Justin Fields?
Hopefully Fields will be so good that it won’t matter. But both Poles and Eberflus will be judged primarily on the moves they make to surround him with the right pieces and maximize his skills in the scheme. Eberflus has a very difficult task of maintaining offensive stability despite being a defensive coach.
What’s one thing Poles and Eberflus need to do differently than their predecessors?
Be honest with the public. Chicago has been through enough nonsense the last four seasons with Ryan Pace hiding and Matt Nagy rambling. Just be real.
What’s the best and worst thing about how the Bears handled this process?
They did a great job forming a pool of candidates. For all the warranted criticism about putting this in Bill Polian’s hands, the Bears mostly interviewed the right guys.
The concern, however, is that they did so before hiring Poles. By the time he arrived, they already had three finalists scheduled for second interviews. If Poles chose Eberflus completely of his own judgment, that’s how it should be. If he was handed a list of candidates the Bears liked and candidates they didn’t, that’s already too much meddling.
What’s a best-case scenario for Poles and Eberflus in Year 1?
Realistically, improving this offense and getting back to .500 would be considered a success. For that to happen, the Bears need to beef up the offensive line in free agency, add a top-line wide receiver and put Fields in an ideal position to flourish.