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:
How would you characterize that trading deadline, because it set a record for most trades right before the thing expired? Thirteen deals done, was your phone ringing a lot? And were you making calls too?
It wasn't ringing that much. Few calls here and there. A lot of teams do a lot of research during that time just to see if rumors are true or not and we do the same. Our scouts, they're all assigned to different teams and they make calls just to see what's going on. It's good to be tapped in. But yeah, it was active, most active trade deadline I've seen.
You had to have thought long and hard about it, but moving Roquan Smith. You did meet the media this week to discuss it. You've had time, a few days after that, to digest this. How do you look at it in terms of what this move meant?
Yeah, it was a tough move. Anytime you have a player that means a lot to the organization, it's difficult. It really is. But at the end of the day, we felt like we had a good process to make sure we were making a sound decision. And when we got to that point, we felt comfortable, and we decided to make the move.
How important was it to tell the guys and the leadership council, the players, the whys of this, because they all were open about it, 'yeah, it hurt. It hurt.' But they got the whys.
Yeah, I think it's really important with a lot of the decisions that we make. I think this is a new generation of kids that want to know why and if you don't give them the answer, they get answers from other places. So I think it's always good to look your team and the people you care about in the eyes and give that perspective so they know the truth and it's coming from you.
If you put the three deals together, Quinn and Roquan, you wind up with more draft capital, A.J. Klein and a 24-year-old receiver with dynamic athleticism, height, weight, speed, in Chase Claypool. And you embrace this addition and it makes the receiving corps look, frankly, different right now in terms of where players can slot.
Yeah, it was important to us to continue to add playmakers. We had guys that are starting to make plays prior to this, but I think adding another weapon to our offense is important. I also think it's critical to the quarterback position, giving him someone to throw 50/50 balls up and have them complete them. It's a big deal. That should allow us to score and be more efficient on third down, red zone and also big plays.
A lot on the shoulders now though, of defensive coordinator Alan Williams to get the right mix. A lot on Eddie Jackson, I would imagine, the elder statesman of the unit and to get everyone lined up and playing right. But again, this opens opportunity for everybody.
Yeah, definitely opportunities for a lot of players. Not only veteran players, but a lot of rookies as well that will continue to get a lot of experience. I mentioned that in the press conference. One of the tough things about making a move like this, to one of the foundation pieces, is that it puts a lot of stress on your coaches. And we're really fortunate to have coaches that understand both short-term [and] long-term vision and they're giving us everything they have. They're teachers and I expect our players that step in to do a good job.
So the guy who got that moniker, the kid from Lake Zurich, is actually going to be out in the field getting things done. He's Wisconsin tough though, Jack Sanborn.
Yeah, Wisconsin tough and the one thing you always know with those Wisconsin linebackers and defenders, they know what they're supposed to do. They have instincts that they're football players, they're good football players. I'm excited for him to get out there and make plays. I think we saw it in the preseason. It'll be a little bit faster now. It'll be live with some of the NFL's top talent. But I know he's a guy that's going to be in the right position and he's gonna make plays for us.
Nobody in this building knows Tyreek Hill better than you. You drafted him in Kansas City. Jaylon Johnson said he's never ever seen somebody on tape as fast as Tyreek. That's just one aspect of his game because you look at him, that guy's rocked up and tough. What else can you tell us about him? What's the secret sauce about this guy?
The secret sauce is just straight speed. I actually, early on, texted some of the guys in Miami and I said 'it never gets old, huh?' Because you go to practice and every single day, you just see this rare speed. So I know our defense is going to be prepared for him. They've got two guys that can run really well, so we're gonna have to be on top of it and I'm sure it's not going to just be one person's assignment, it will be a couple.
They built a lot around him there for Tua and has it made him a different quarterback right now? Because his accuracy is sky high, his quarterback rating is sky high and his confidence clearly is sky high.
Yep, absolutely. You can see when you add that support to a quarterback, they have the ability to ascend and start to believe in themselves and they know when they can take chances and production efficiency goes up. So that's something that we're trying to do here. It does take some time. I think it took them a couple of years as well. But we're going to try to piece this together so we have similar success.