Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus aren’t wasting any time creating a new culture in Chicago.
Poles was hired in January to replace former Bears general manager Ryan Pace, and Poles selected the defensive-minded Eberflus to fill the shoes of ex-coach Matt Nagy shortly after that. Together, the two are rebuilding a franchise that has finished first in the NFC North twice in the last 15 years, with just four winning seasons since 2007.
Poles was hired by a five-person search committee that consisted of Bears’ chairman George McCaskey, president and CEO Ted Phillips, former Bills, Panthers and Colts general manager Bill Polian, ex-vice president of player engagement Lamar “Soup” Campbell and Tanesha Wade, the team’s senior VP of diversity, equality and inclusion.
On the July 7 episode of the Hoge & Jahns podcast, Bears insiders Adam Hoge of CHGO Sports and Adam Jahns of The Athletic discussed the recent firing of Campbell, who was a beloved former member of the staff. Poles fired Campbell over the phone while he was on vacation, a move Hoge called “surprising” when it happened.
According to Jahns, it’s possible Campbell’s firing was the result of a no-nonsense new culture Poles and company are instilling.
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Jahns: If You’re Not on Board With Poles & Eberflus, ‘Get Out of the Way’
“It wasn’t an impulsive thing. It wasn’t based on any specific incident that happened,” Hoge said about Campbell’s release. “Sometimes people just don’t gel and the timing is weird. I think that’s probably more of the issue there.”
Jahns noted that while he wasn’t sure why Campbell was let go, he has been told there’s a new vibe in the building.
“I was told this,” Jahns said. “If you’re not on board with what Eberflus and Poles are doing, it’s almost like: ‘Get out of the way.’ They’ve got this philosophy, this plan that they believe in, this culture they want to build, certain players they want to target, coaches, what have you … and if you’re not on board, get out of the way, or you’re going to get out of the building.”
Jahns wasn’t saying Campbell disagreed with Poles or Eberflus about anything; he was more sharing what he has learned about the new team and culture Poles and company are trying to build.
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Poles Has Overhauled Bears’ Roster, Coaching Staff
Since getting hired, Poles has revamped Chicago’s roster, trading away veteran Khalil Mack, while also releasing several of the team’s longtime starters, including Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan and Tarik Cohen. Additionally, he has brought an entirely new coaching staff in, while retooling the front office, also creating an assistant GM position for former Philadelphia Eagles executive Ian Cunningham.
Dionne Miller of ABC 7 Chicago, who was a guest on the Hoge & Jahns podcast, said she was a fan of Poles’ approach so far.
“I’ll be honest,” Miller replied. “I don’t hate that. I kind of like that approach. They know what they want it to look like, and if you can’t get on board with them, they don’t have time to address your issues with it: ‘See ya’. I don’t hate that.”
Jahns also noted that while the new culture was certainly going to allow dissent and differing opinions, “If there’s concern that that differing opinion is going to result in conflict — like unnecessary conflict — then you have a problem.”
It sounds as though Poles knows exactly what he wants — and who he wants to surround himself with. Time will tell whether he has been making the right decisions.