Ryan Poles

Ryan Poles ‘pissed off' about being roped into Bears' tortured quarterback history

The Bears' general manager is tired of being roped into previous regimes

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It's a well-known fact that the Bears' quarterback history is unlike any other franchise, in that it's perennially horrible, which is a telling sign of one of the NFL's oldest franchises.

Never have they ever had a true, franchise quarterback to lead their team. They've been on the search for 100+ years, and it's still ongoing today.

Some critics use that as evidence against the Bears to say they can't develop quarterbacks. For example, former NFL quarterback now ESPN analyst, Robert Griffin III, said USC's Caleb Williams should tell the Bears he won't accept being drafted by them with the No. 1 pick because of their poor résumé in developing quarterbacks.

It's a troublesome claim to be attached to, says general manager Ryan Poles on Tuesday's edition of "The Pat McAfee Show."

"It pisses me off a little bit, to be honest with you," Poles said of being attached to the Bears' quarterback history. "We were hired to break a cycle. The same thing when we were in Kansas City. Coach [Andy] Reid, all of us were brought there to break a cycle. And we did. And no one talks about those days anymore it's all about what they are right now.

"I really believe we're about to break this cycle and get this city in a really good situation and win a lot of games. The past is the past. I don't worry about that at all. It's about where we're going."

Do the Bears have perennial struggles with finding and developing quarterbacks? Absolutely. Just look at recent history. They traded up and drafted Justin Fields, who they just traded to the Steelers. Before then, they traded up in the draft and took Mitch Trubisky, who they allowed to walk away in free agency.

Does that mean Ryan Poles has perennial struggles in finding and developing quarterbacks? No, at least not struggles similar to the Bears'. When he worked for the Chiefs, Poles helped find and draft Patrick Mahomes, who is inarugably one of the best modern-era quarterbacks.

Poles doesn't inherit the quarterback flops that the Bears have encountered. That's their history, not Poles'. He's on his journey to try and find the next quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, the Bears' narrative will co-exist alongside him until their quarterbacks' curse ceases.

"It happens every year. I think that's the hardest part of being a general manager or a leader of any space," Poles said. "You're doing the homework. You're getting the correct information. You have a group of really good scouts who are giving that to you. If that goes against the narrative, you got to stand up against that."

Williams will undoubtedly be the first Poes-stamped quarterback to try and end the Bears' vicious cycle.

The Bears have checked off nearly all the boxes in evaluating him. They've watched countless hours of film, talked to him at the NFL Scouting Combine, attended his pro day and met with him for dinner.

And while Williams doesn't necessarily meet the correct narrative that some Bears fans believe is best for the team, Poles is doing the homework necessary to make sure he fits with his vision. And so far, Williams hasn't missed a step in Poles' mind.

"What makes it interesting is he's probably the biggest NIL player to come through the process," Poles said. "You kind of have to break that down because, usually, that's not the case. You want to know, does he have humility? Can he self-assess and take ownership of what he needs to continue to work on and improve? And he's checked all of those boxes so far."

Williams is undoubtedly the best quarterback coming out of the 2024 NFL draft. He's a Heisman Trophy winner and a well-rounded, unique quarterback. He's praised for his tools, specifically his off-script playmaking, arm angles and off-platform throws.

The Bears fell into a unique situation of owning back-to-back No. 1 picks in the 2023 and 2024 NFL drafts. Poles is trying to make the best of it. Last season, they traded the first pick to the Panthers for a haul that included this offseason's No. 1 pick.

But it's clear to everyone around the league that the Bears won't be trading the first pick this season. In terms of that information hurting that pick's value, Poles couldn't care less.

"When you have pretty good clarity, it really doesn't make a difference."

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