The Bears have undergone an incredible amount of upheaval this year. It started with the team firing GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, and replacing them with Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus. It continued with a change in philosophy, a blockbuster trade to send Khalil Mack to the Chargers and nearly 20 new free agent signings. The organization is radically different from top to bottom, and changes may not be done yet.
“I said it from the beginning, our front office is not going to stop just chipping away and bringing good football players on this team to compete and make the whole team better,” said Poles.
The declaration came on the heels of yet another free agent signing, announced minutes before Poles and Eberflus’ press conference to kick off training camp. In back-to-back days, the Bears signed veteran offensive linemen Michael Schofield and Riley Reiff. That’s given coaches more tools to work with as they try to find the best starting five among a group of players filled with question marks. Another area filled with more questions than answers are the pass-catching playmakers. So could they be the next unit to receive a boost this summer?
“I don’t think you ever have enough (playmakers), but I’m happy with the guys that are in the building,” Poles said. “We’re gonna stay active, trying to find playmakers and continue to make it competitive. Again, it’s on paper right now, so we’ve got to see what these guys do. We’ve got to see what they do in pads. And we’ve got to see what they do in preseason. So there’s a bunch of steps along the way, and yeah, you feel great about it now. But we’ve got to actually see it happen against opponents.”
Adding the pads in practice will be a huge step in the Bears’ evaluations of their roster. Watching guys run around in shorts is great and all, but you can’t really judge a player until the hitting starts. Until then, the team will test their mental capacities.
“They've gotta know the playbook and be where they're supposed to be,” said Poles.
But bottom line, the NFL is a production-based league, and Poles knows that too.
They've gotta make plays,” Poles said. “I'll lean on Tyke and Luke to coach those guys up and we'll see where the room goes.”