Ryan Poles: Bears can compete now, no rebuild needed


On Sunday night, the Bengals gave hope to every struggling team in the midst of sweeping changes. Two years after hiring a head coach, one year from drafting a new quarterback, and one year removed from a 4-11-1 record, Cincinnati punched their ticket to the Super Bowl. Back in Chicago, the question was, could this be the Bears soon? Or is a rebuild on the horizon with a new GM and head coach taking over the program.

In his introductory press conference, Ryan Poles put to bed the notion of tearing things down to the studs, in an effort to rebuild for a championship run down the road.

“Absolutely do I think we can be competitive,” Poles said. “The beautiful thing about football is what we just saw with the Bengals. Everyone, once the Super Bowl is played goes back to 0-0 and has the ability to improve their roster, make changes, we all know it’s fluid on a yearly basis so we’re going to attack it. Our goal is always going to be in contention and win games.”

For Poles, that started with hiring Matt Eberflus, and will continue by heading to the Senior Bowl to check out some players coming up in the draft, then diving in free agency. There will also be an emphasis for Poles on continuing to build out the offensive line.

“It’s always going to be a point of emphasis,” Poles said. “Your starting five rarely ends up being the five at the end of the season, so not only do you need really good starters, but you need depth as well. I’ve always felt that’s the foundation. Establishing the run game, having protection, allows you to dictate the game. Especially here, having to go up to Lambeau in December, or games at home late in the season, you gotta be able to have that line to be successful, in my opinion. So it’s definitely going to be an emphasis.”

That protection should help Justin Fields succeed. And if Fields can succeed, it will obviously go a long way towards the offense succeeding as a whole.

“There’s always talented players in every organization, and that’s especially true here,” Poles said. “I’m excited to have Justin and put him in a position to succeed and get players in the building who are going to help amplify his ability.”

The Bears likely need a lot more than a bolstered line to help Fields and the offense take off. One or two playmaking wide receivers are a must. It will likely take some time for Eberflus’ program to take hold in the building, as well. But it seems like Poles is going to push to compete right away.

“The last thing, the most important piece, is we’re gonna take the North and never give it back.”

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