GM Ryan Poles raises expectations for rebuilt Bears as training camp opens

Poles set his sights on the wide-open NFC North, which the Bears haven’t won since 2018.

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Bears general manager Ryan Poles speaks to reporters Tuesday during a news conference on training camp arrival day at Halas Hall.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles opened training camp Tuesday by talking about “raising the standards” for his team and shooting to win the NFC North.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Bears general manager Ryan Poles opened training camp Tuesday by talking about “raising the standards” for his team and shooting to win the NFC North.

It’s a different tone than the team took a year ago, when Poles was in the demolition phase of his rebuild after taking over a roster short on star power and overextended financially.

“I don’t want to put a ceiling on what we can be, but I know our goal is to always win the division and be a championship-caliber team,” he said. “I’m happy with where we’re at right now and where we’re going.”

The Bears will hold their first practice Wednesday and begin with four consecutive days before taking their first break, and their first padded practice is Aug. 2. They open the preseason Aug. 12 against the Titans and start the season Sept. 10 against the Packers at Soldier Field.

Until then, they’ll be fine tuning a roster that was upgraded almost across the board in the recent offseason. The Bears signed linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, traded for wide receiver DJ Moore and used the No. 10 overall pick on offensive tackle Darnell Wright.

Nonetheless, the biggest factor in whether the Bears can meet Poles’ elevated standard is the progression of quarterback Justin Fields. Fields was the top rusher at his position, but last in the NFL in yards passing last season.

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