The Chicago Bears struggled to find an identity the last few years as it often seemed like the players, the scheme, and the coaching were at odds with each other, but the plan that was unveiled by general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus on Monday morning gives me hope for the future.
Poles talked about building his team from the trenches, calling the o-line a “focal point,” and as a former offensive lineman himself I’d expect nothing less, But he also talked about building through the draft and putting an emphasis on speed, which is something Eberflus discussed as well. The last regime seemed to acquire players that the coaches didn’t always use to their strengths, which pointed to a disconnect between the front office and coaching staff, but today’s press conference presented a unified voice.
“In terms of building through the draft, I think what’s key is knowing what scheme you’re running and finding players that fit that,” Poles said at today’s presser. “That’s first and foremost. If I bring someone in going against what we’re running, it’s not tied together and that’s hard to fit.”
It’s almost like Poles did his homework and saw the last regime add a plethora of speedy receivers last offseason only to watch the offensive scheme feature stagnant routes.
“We will play a high tempo, a high effort, attacking, physical style, built upon speed, quickness and explosive athletic ability,” Eberflus said. He’ll demand maximum effort from his team, not only on game day, but in practice as well. “Get your track shoes on because we’re running.”
Eberflus even dropped a “Chicago tough” at one point, and while it may be cliché, it also resonates with the fans, the players, and the city.
Poles was specifically asked about an identity for his team in a Q&A on the team’s site and he said, “tough and violent. A team that strains, that finishes. And the other thing is the ability to overcome adversity.”
While the defense will give fans a sense of déjà vu, but with an evolved twist, the offense will be built around the players on the field and not shoehorned into a specific scheme.
“It’s absolutely critical that a general manager and a head coach are aligned on a vision and a philosophy for moving the franchise forward,” said Chairman George McCaskey. “We believe we have that in Ryan Poles and coach Eberflus.”
Time will tell whether or not the product on the field will take on the qualities the new regime laid out, but at least the beginning of their journey has them in lockstep.