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:
Back in the division on the road with a Vikings team with new ideas, new schemes. But Ryan, the same dangerous players here today. What do you see from the Vikings so far? And how are you doing by the way?
Yeah, doing good, doing good. For the Vikings, yeah, they're a talented team. They've got playmakers on offense; they've got some pass rush as well. So we're gonna have to play a good game to get a win.
Tom Brady was at the podium the other day saying there's a lot of bad football in the league right now. Do you agree? Or is there an overarching reason why that might be the case a month in?
I think a month in, in the way that I see it, what he's talking about, is you've got a lot of teams that have new parts and pieces, if it's coaches, if it's players, quarterbacks. It's very different. So teams are trying to figure out what works for them, what's good for their team. And young players are playing early, and they're learning how to play this game. The speed of it is at a different level than they've ever seen it so it's gonna take some time, so that's kind of my perspective on that comment.
Sounds like the Chicago Bears of 2022.
Yeah, a lot of young guys figuring it out and our coaches are working their butt off during the week, trying to get it right and putting guys in the right position to be successful.
All right, tough to lose a guy like Cody Whitehair. This was going to be his 100th career start, he'll get it down the road, but doesn't sound as though the severity of the knee injury is enough that will keep him out for the rest of the year. What's the focus here?
Yeah, just to get him back. He's gonna hit the rehab circuit hard. We feel confident he's going to be able to bounce back and be that consistent player that we all are used to watching.
There's leadership qualities, obviously, in Lucas Patrick, but there's the versatility component to first snaps at left guard this season in that game in the heat of the moment.
Yeah, that's part of our evaluation process when we bring players in, is versatility. I think I mentioned it early on, there's always going to be changes in the lineup, and it's hard to stay completely healthy through the season. So guys are gonna have to shift around and play different positions, some are going to be their primary. So for Lucas, for him to fill in and do what he's doing, we're really, really lucky to have him.
So developing while trying to win, it is a roller coaster ride, even during the framework of one game or one series. So none of the growing pains should come as a surprise. Did you expect this early in the season?
Yeah, I mentioned that before. There's one thing that I'm looking for, it's resilience, because there's gonna be ups and downs through a season when you have a new staff, new scheme and a lot of young players. And it's really, can we stick together? Can we stay positive? Can we look at the film, as coaches, as front office people, to our players and see what we didn't do well, and attack that weakness, and come back and attempt to do a better job the next week? We're doing that. I love the vibe of this building through the ups and downs, and we're gonna keep fighting to get better.
Let's look at the offense. What are your takeaways about what excites you right now yet concern you?
Yeah, especially this past weekend, I was excited to get Justin's deep ball going again and see Mooney making plays, that I know everyone's used to seeing them make and get other receivers involved as well. And then for the part that we need to improve on are the little details, it's the details. It's the run fits, tackling, you know, being better in the red zone and I know these guys worked hard this week to fix it.
There are a lot of ifs and maybes in the NFL, but the thing is if all 11, Justin included, clean up the inconsistency, do you feel momentum could spark and production would follow?
Yeah and I think that's a big part of this league, is confidence. Can you get that spark? Can you make a couple plays? Can you get a rhythm going and a flow where confidence not only in just one person, but the whole group of 11 on the field, is high. And if that confidence is high, guys start believing in their abilities, young players start playing older and more mature, so of course, I think if we can get a couple sparks, we can hit something that'll be fun.
You were a top candidate for the Vikings job as GM in addition to here with the Bears. That job went to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. How did you feel about that process? And if nothing else, it does add a unique subplot for years to come for writers and analysts, correct?
Yeah, but I would say if you asked Kwesi as well, we're both happy with the organizations that we are with and at the end of the day, we're both going to work hard to build and maintain rosters and be successful over a long period of time. In terms of the subplots, I know I'm a part of building this thing and in a position of leadership, but the way I look at it, it's not about me, it's about the players. So I want these guys to be the best they can be and over time for the Chicago Bears to be a championship-level team.
Keys to victory today? I'm thinking it starts on the ground both running it against these guys and stopping it. Is that really the first step in this process?
Yeah, I truly believe that is the case. If we can get that run game going again and stay balanced from there, we can do really good things. Then on the other side, really want to see our defense fit up and tackle and get off the field on third down.