Hoge: Bears have their new GM, now let him do his job


When Ryan Pace was hired in 2015, Todd Bowles happened to be at Halas Hall on the same day.

You’re hired, Ryan. Now go talk to this head coaching candidate we picked for you.

Tuesday, Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles verbally accepted the Bears’ general manager job (although as of this publishing a source said the deal wasn’t completely finalized yet) and, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jim Caldwell happened to be at Halas Hall waiting for his head coaching interview.

You’re hired, Ryan. Now go talk to this head coaching candidate we picked for you.

If the Bears are truly learning from past mistakes, then they should already know how Poles feels about Caldwell — and the 10 other coaching candidates they’ve already interviewed. 

And they should let Poles take over the hiring process from this point on. 

Pace, hired in 2015 when he was 37 years old, wasn’t granted that same autonomy. Dan Quinn — ironically also a strong coaching candidate this time around — was on the short list of coaches Pace wanted to hire. But advisor/consultant Ernie Accorsi — who helped hire Pace — stayed on to “help” the young GM find his coach. In the end, John Fox was heavily pushed onto Pace, even though the GM did sign off on the hire. 

If the Bears are smart, they will let Poles, 36, lead the coaching search from this point and let him make his choice. And from my understanding, Poles wouldn’t have taken the job without that assurance. George McCaskey and advisor/consultant Bill Polian can hand over their files on Caldwell, Quinn and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus — all of whom are being brought in for second interviews — but let Poles conduct those interviews. He wouldn’t have taken this job if he didn’t already have a strong vision for this roster and, most importantly, Justin Fields. Let Poles use that vision to select his guy. 

And the early indication is that Poles will be given that power. As much as this appears to be a rerun of 2015, this time they hired the candidate from the Chiefs that they failed to hire last time (remember Chris Ballard worked for the Chiefs at that point). And this time, the GM will report directly to McCaskey instead of to Ted Phillips (as Ballard requested in 2015). And this time, they’re going to let the GM hire the guy he truly wants to hire.

But you reserve the right to have your doubts until dust settles. The Bears haven’t earned the benefit of the doubt.

In fact, I wouldn’t even be bothered if Polian wasn’t included in the search process the rest of the way. His job could be considered done. He’s been working behind the scenes now for weeks, well before Pace and former head coach Matt Nagy were fired. He has already helped interview 10 coaches and at least 13 general manager candidates. His opinion/influence is well documented — and it all led to the Bears securing Poles as the GM instead of letting him get on a plane to talk to the Minnesota Vikings. 

Now it’s time to trust the GM to do his job. 

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