Ryan Poles: Matt Eberflus’ defensive style got my attention

Even before he met Matt Eberflus, Ryan Poles had a sense of who he’d be. That’s what’s unique about the NFL, he said: what you see in a team on tape often reflects the personality of the coordinator.

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Bears head coach Matt Eberflus and Bears general manager Ryan Poles speak to the media.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus and Bears general manager Ryan Poles speak to the media.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Even before he met Matt Eberflus, Ryan Poles had a sense of who he’d be. That’s what’s unique about the NFL, he said: what you see in a team on tape often reflects the personality of the coordinator.

And he liked what he saw in the Colts’ defense the last four years.

“It was a fast, violent effort, very good defense—but it was more the style that they played with that got my attention,” he said Monday. “Then just everyone networks and tries to get to know people throughout the league, so I was able just to call him and meet him years ago just to understand what he was all about, what kind of person he was.

“And from that—there’s a little bit of a relationship, but it went even deeper when we got into the interview process.”

It helped that the two shared and agent, former Bears player Trace Armstrong. Eberflus acknowledged it made for an “easier” transition.

Poles said that he knew Eberflus was his choice minutes after he interviewed him Wednesday.

“When I got here in person, we brought him in,” he said. “And the moment he walked in the room, I knew he was the guy, especially when he started going through his plan.The big thing to know is, I reach out to a lot of people to make sure I’m lined up the right way. I reach out to people that have done it and been successful at it, and every single person said, ‘When you know, you know. When you know you’ve got one, you’ve got one.’

“I’m a guy that when I have conviction about it, it’s time to go.”

Poles spoke Monday, six days after the Bears hired him to replace Ryan Pace. He was chosen by a five-person panel that consisted of chairman George McCaskey, president/CEO Ted Phillips, advisor BIll Polian, vice president of player engagement LaMar “Soup” Campbell and senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion Tanesha Wade.

Poles said he was given the latitude to expand the Bears’ search beyond the three finalists selected by the five-person committee. But he knew who he wanted.

“I chose him,” he said, looking to Eberflus.

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