It’s hard not to hear the Chicago Bears new regime of Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus speak and not come away feeling as though they saw the same things we did. As if their hiring was not enough of a signal. A team that goes 6-11 has plenty of warts that aren’t hard to find. But the Bears presented a special case in many aspects.
The Chicago Bears New Regime Sounds Like They Saw It Too
Wide receiver Allen Robinson is the perfect example. Both Poles and Eberflus spoke on the embattled and disgruntled pass catcher. He is coming off of the worst season of his career. That is, aside from his injury-shortened 2017 when he played just one game before tearing his ACL. The Bears got Robinson for a bargain because of that injury.
He gave them their first 1000-yard wideout since Alshon Jeffery’s 2014 season.
That’s why the stories about how former Bears head coach and new Kansas City Chiefs senior assistant and quarterbacks coach, Matt Nagy cut off the communication with Robinson were so appalling.
The gist of both posts was that last season was extremely trying under Nagy. Well, Eberflus tried to address situations like Robinson’s and others in the locker room at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday.
“For a lotta the guys, it’s a clean slate. I told the guys, hey, you’re walking on fresh grass here.”
Poles also spoke on Robinson, in a more direct fashion, and what his plans may be for the biggest offensive free agent signing of former Bears boss Ryan Pace’s tenure.
“It’s communication. Establishing that things are going to be a little bit different. That’s a tough one to answer specifically, but I think it’s more of a fresh start for everyone.”
He also didn’t rule out tagging Robinson again. Though, an $18.5 million price tag and limited resources could force their hand. They’ve already started trying to repair some ties that had been frayed. Other players, or rather, position groups were not as lucky.
Poles, a former lineman in his own right, has been very vocal about his displeasure with the Bears offensive linemen and their lack of protection for Justin Fields. Specifically, he was upset with how many times Fields would get knocked down and was left to pick himself up off of the ground.
There was also the locally infamous blowup by right tackle Germain Ifedi on Teven Jenkins for getting a little payback for Fields after the whistle. The action drew a flag but the message was one that should have been sent during the beatdown Fields took versus the Cleveland Browns.
“It agitates me to see a QB get hit and be on the ground. If I see my guy on the ground, I’m running over there, getting him up, making sure he’s clean, ready to go. I don’t know if I saw that enough on the tape that I watched, and that’s critical.”
We also learned that they want the line to get “quicker and lighter”. All of this is to build the proper support system for Fields. Both Poles and Eberflus have said that is their primary focus. The quarterback was mishandled by the previous regime that moved up to take him 11th-overall last year.
Poles used familiar terminology to describe Fields as “stoic” adding, “…(he’s) serious and locked in and ready to go”.
His comments on Darnell Mooney also stood out. The Bears general manager said the third-year receiver is “hungry to be special” and that he was “blown away by the person”. That isn’t insignificant given the Bears needs and criteria.
“I think it comes down to playmakers. … Guys that can make plays when their number is called, and that’s what we look for, and you can see that on college tape.”
War of Words
It’s hard not to like what we’ve heard from the new guys in charge up at Halas Hall. But be cautious at the same time. Nagy was big on communication. At least that between him and Pace during at the combine in his first season as Bears head coach. Though, to be fair he did praise Pace’s communication skills.
Still, it sounds like many of the concerns those on the outside had will be addressed from the inside.
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