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:
You're from the Buffalo area, Canandaigua. Those who don't know Canandaigua, that area of the country is obviously used to big storms, at least snow, but I don't know about this cold, Ryan. This is a little different.
Yeah, this cold is a different level. I've done a lot of snow before. I don't know if I've done cold like this.
You're expecting tough guys to battle the elements. David Montgomery says his college running backs coach would kill him if he wore sleeves. N'Keal Harry says 'I can't play with sleeves.' What's your thought? Would you be able to handle this as an offensive lineman out there?
Oh, of course. At Boston College we had a no sleeve rule. We could never wear sleeves. So, I admire these guys' toughness. I expect them to go out and battle and give it their all, like they've been doing all year. This is December football in this division and this area. I think that's why it's important we continue to encourage our guys that are playing with a mentality that we ask them to have which is being tough and being able to battle the elements.
Offensive line – this will be their eighth or ninth different lineup. Injuries – Cody Whitehair, Teven Jenkins, puts some guys in new places including Larry Borom. How do you suspect he'll adjust to guard?
I think he'll do a good job. There will be some adjustments. There's gonna be some highs and lows, but I think this is a really good opportunity for Larry just to show his versatility. I think I mentioned early in the season when everyone was asking who's gonna be our starting line and where they were playing, we were gonna mix it up a bunch. It's because your starting five is rarely gonna be the five you end the season with or play throughout the season. So we get an opportunity to show some of our versatility and for these guys to show that they can perform at a high level at different positions. So I'm excited to see Larry perform at the inside spot.
Big day on the ground expected with the wind, who knows how many times the ball's going in the air. We'll have to wait and see. But getting Khalil Herbert back, a guy who wants to be on the field by any means necessary, hated being injured. So he's back with David Montgomery and of course Justin Fields' excellence, do you feel good about running the ball? I know this Bills team is good up front, but do you still feel that this No. 1-ranked rushing offense can get the job done?
Yeah, it's part of our identity right now and this is the time of year where it comes into play. So I know that those two runners are gonna do a great job. I love having the different styles back at Luke's (offensive coordinator Luke Getsy) disposal in terms of the play calling. So I'm looking forward to that and I think it's gonna help us.
Let's go to defense. The work at the the secondary impressed me against the Eagles. What was your take on it and yes, some yards were given, but they were not intimidated by excellence from Philadelphia. The same will have to hold true against Buffalo with some different players in there again with the injury situation.
I was impressed. The secondary, they did a really nice job. You can see some of the young guys gaining confidence and really believing in their skill level. Obviously when you're facing really good talent, they're gonna make their plays, but it's important for a secondary to have a short memory and I think that was the case. The guys competed all day long and again, they're gonna have to have that same resilience and fight and compete with them this upcoming weekend.
Jaylon Jones is somebody who doesn't get a lot of attention, obviously undrafted out of Ole Miss, but he did not allow much, I think 27 yards in receiving in his coverage assignment last week. Is this a rising player?
Yeah I think it is. I think you're seeing a young player gain confidence. I think that's a major part of being a corner in this league is being able to ride the highs and lows and believing in yourself that you can hang. I think we're seeing a young talent believe in himself and he's gonna keep improving so I'm excited for him.
Jack Sanborn to IR, unfortunately. We love what he did in the end. What's he done in terms of giving you something to consider in 2023.
I was bummed when that happened, and I feel for the player. But I couldn't be more excited for Jack. He got his opportunity, and he ran with it. That door opened and he kicked it in and he showed the league that he's capable of playing at a high level. I know our staff is excited about what's to come with Jack and his development.
Kyler Gordon came back and looked fantastic, made some really smart decisions in that game. Jaquan Brisker's physicality also showing up. All this with Eddie Jackson coming back next year. Now, I guess he saw a foot specialist, no surgery, so as you look forward here at injuries that impact 2023, is that good news? And good news to have those guys back patrolling the secondary?
Yeah, I think now one of emphasis we'll have is can we keep certain units together and have continuity on the team. To have Eddie be able to come back and not have surgery, I know we're excited about that, mixed with Brisker and Gordon and the other guys that have been playing really well. We're look forward to that. I am bummed about Jack and Eddie. Both guys I thought did a really good job this year and I'm excited to see them next year.
You had to deal with Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and that defense in the AFC during your days in KC. They bring it don't they, these two guys?
Yeah, talented group, explosive, they play the game the right way. Very well-coached, so again, our team's gonna have the ability to get matched up with one of the best in the league and that's what we want. We want that challenge, want to see if we can rise above it and play to that level, because at the end of the day, that's what we want to be, down the road is being an elite team that is gonna get everyone's best. So we're excited for the challenge.