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Poles' patience pays off in addition of Ngakoue


No matter where general manager Ryan Poles went during the offseason, Bears fans urged him to sign a pass rusher.

Poles, of course, already knew it was a need, but the process required patience. Waiting until the time was right, Poles signed veteran defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on Friday.

"You've got to love the Bears fan base and how passionate they are," Poles said Saturday at Halas Hall. "If it was at my son's baseball game—people yelling from the field, coaches at third base yelling to me—or literally on the beach in Maui, I was reminded that I need to sign a defensive end. Finally got that done."

In Ngakoue, the Bears are getting one of the NFL's most productive and consistent pass rushers. Since entering the league with the Jaguars as a third-round pick in 2016, the 6-2, 246-pounder is the only NFL player to record at least 8.0 sacks in each of the last seven seasons. 

"Yannick's going to bring leadership, energy and his pass rush here," Poles said, "which is going to help our defense and help our team get better—also the ability to help our young guys learn that craft and the skillset to be able to get home and be consistent and dependable like he's been throughout his career."

Ngakoue's presence figures to benefit not only his fellow defensive linemen but a promising young secondary that includes second-year pros Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker and rookies Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith—not to mention veterans Eddie Jackson and Jaylon Johnson. 

"I think the balance of being able to get home and also have a good secondary, you want to be able to shorten that time to get the ball out," Poles said. "You want your secondary, which I see right now being really good in coverage, to buy the guys up front time to get home. That was an emphasis that [coach Matt Eberflus] and I had, was to get more pressure on the quarterback and create turnovers." 

Poles had been focused on signing a veteran edge rusher since the beginning of free agency in March.

"We've been in this for a long time," he said. "There's a level of patience that you've got to have to be a sound decision-maker .... It comes back to that. That's probably the biggest lesson of the last two years—patience and letting things happen. There's times we're going to hit the gas and some times you want to hit the brake."