General manager Ryan Poles spoke with Jeff Joniak Sunday on the Bears pregame radio show on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM. The following is a transcript of Poles' comments:
Welcome to the 103rd season of Bears football. This begins, Ryan Poles, the emotional grind of a general manager watching his roster try to win. How are you doing right now?
I'm doing good. I'm doing good. We put a lot of good work in and you know, I trust the effort that was put in for training camp and the week of practice leading up to this. So I feel good.
As the guy who sits in there, and now as a general manager who watches games, are you an emotional reactor? You're in there with your guys, so nobody's watching. How do you take things? Or is that yet to be determined?
Yet to be determined, but I like to think I'm going to continue to stay poised and levelheaded and take it for what it is.
Well, this may be one of, if not the youngest roster in the NFL, but do you believe the way they've been coached and the type of men they are, they don't expect to play young?
Yeah, our coaching staff did a great job just with teaching to get the guys ready mentally, but also physically, you know, the grind of the season. They're going to be physical and tough, like coach Eberflus has said from the beginning. And we look for certain traits in players to bring them in and become Bears in being tough, resilient, smart. That's what they have and I look forward to seeing them perform.
Three rookies with those traits: Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker and Jaquan Brisker. Given that [Nick] Bosa, [Deebo] Samuel and George Kittle are healthy on the field, these are matchups for these guys. We get the sense though, the stage is not too big for these guys. At this point, will nothing surprise you about these young men?
Yeah, they've exceeded my expectations from the beginning. They continue to play beyond their years, but at the same time, we know that it's not gonna be perfect. There's gonna be mistakes, they're gonna get beat. There's really good players in the NFL, but really, it's about resilience and how they come back from it. I know that they have a chip on their shoulder. They're ready to go and they're going to perform well.
We've only seen snippets of what offense is going to be called, designed by Luke Getsy. What are your expectations for Game 1 offensively?
Yeah, I am curious. You prepare and you practice you have preseason games, but you don't know how it's all going to come together. So I'm excited for it and I think it's gonna be a really good opportunity for these guys to make plays in this offense. It's gonna be fun.
In the past 49ers, [head coach] Kyle Shanahan, not shy about running the ball and it sounds like they may want to be that ground and pound team. What is your level of confidence in the run defense?
Yeah, a lot of confidence. We have a really good front; our linebackers are ready to go. Coach Eberflus really challenged that group to be efficient tacklers. They've practiced that from the day that this new staff got in here and we started the offseason program. So if we tackle well and play good, sound football, I feel like our defense is going to do a good job.
You've talked a lot about Coach Eberflus. In the final analysis as we get here, a couple hours before kickoff, it appears that he's uniquely wired for this opportunity.
He is. He knows how to challenge his guys and knows how to motivate them, but at the same time, put them in a position to be successful. So I'm looking forward to all that coming together.
Lastly, what impact do you hope the change in the turf from good old Kentucky Bluegrass to a tighter, faster Bermuda track will have on the Bears both physically and frankly, mentally? Because they've all had comments about the old turf.
Yeah, you just want to have confidence in your footing. This is the same turf I had in Kansas City, and it should perform well. The guys should play fast and at the end of the day, you just don't want to think about the surface that you play on, and hopefully that's the case.