Ryan Poles

Ryan Poles explains how the front office operates with contradicting opinions

Poles prides himself on not surrounding the front office with yes-men

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When you're the general manager of a football team, every route you think is best for the team might not resonate with the others in the room.

For Ryan Poles, that's Kevin Warren, Ian Cunningham, Matt Eberflus, Shane Waldron, etc. Not all of them are going to agree with Poles on his ideas to shape the roster.

That's a good thing. How do the Bears operate with contrasting opinions?

"I think the big thing is you kind of talk about whatever process you're in --- if it's the draft --- kind of what your standards are, how you want to operate, what you're looking to accomplish," Poles said Tuesday during the Bears' pre-draft press conference. "And you lay that out --- it's a conversation --- but in some kind of outline. Often times there are situations that start to push you outside of what you said you wanted to accomplish; what we all agreed as a coaching staff and as a front office, what we want to accomplish. And there are things that happen that start to push you outside those lines.

"With all of those things happening, sometimes as a leader, you do get distracted. There are things that pull you outside. Maybe we shouldn't do this, maybe we need to shift gears. And you need people like Ian [Cunningham], like Flus [Matt Eberflus], like Kevin [Warren] to say 'Hey man, we want to accomplish this. We want to stay in these lines. We want to do it this way.' And once they kind of see that you're getting off that track [they] nudge you back into where you should be.

"I think I've been fortunate and blessed enough to have the skill set to take in that information, not to take it personal and to say 'Well, I'm running the show. It's all about what I want to do.' It's listening to people that you trust so that you stay in the lines of doing things that how you want to do it and how you want to accomplish your goals."

Watch Ryan Poles' full press conference here.

Ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, those situations have likely come up often. Think about it. They traded Justin Fields, re-signed Jaylon Johnson, signed Kevin Byard, traded for Keenan Allen. Those moves don't happen without Poles seeking out his cohort for a co-sign.

Not everyone is going to agree with Poles', or Cunningham's or Eberflus' ideas for how to shape the roster. But that's OK. Would you want to make decisions of that gravity without the co-sign of your peers?

"Collaboration" was a significant buzzword with the former regime of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy; it's ironic, seeing as they struggled to do that precisely.

If you recall, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy weren't on the same page about Mitch Trubisky. When the Bears drafted him, Nagy was with the Chiefs, where he offered a helping hand in drafting Patrick Mahomes.

But Nagy was never really on board with Trubisky when he got to Chicago, according to a prior report from The Athletic.

"After the 2019 season concluded, Trubisky prepared to meet with Nagy. They needed to have a conversation. How were they going to make this work? The quarterback prepared notes for the meeting. Nagy, though, didn’t make it — 'He no-showed him,' a source said. Trubisky left his notes behind."

That type of dysfunction is what implodes a team, leaving them unlikely chances of success before they step out onto the field. But that behavior doesn't seem present with the current regime.

The staff the Bears currently employ appears to be one solified group. Poles calls the shots. But he inhales advice of Cunningham --- his 'best friend,' according to the latter --- Eberflus, who Poles opted to retain as head coach after a disappointing second season with the team, and Warren, who Poles greatly respects as the team's CEO/President.

It's a collaborative effort. And that's why the Bears have been able to churn out an exciting roster heading into the 2024 season, even before the draft.

"The job's never done but we have had those conversations and it does put a smile on your face in terms of the work that we've done," Poles said. "I feel like we've done a good job getting the roster where it is. It makes me feel really fortunate about some of the things that happened to allow us build a roster maybe a little bit more efficiently. It's something to be proud of but at the same time the job's not done."

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