This was going to be a deep dive on Ryan Poles.
Evaluating the evaluator.
Larry Ogunjobi’s failed physical and voided deal.
Velus Jones can’t catch a punt.
Chase Claypool chasing his tail to stay on the field.
And Nate Davis doesn’t even seem to want to practice.
But let’s call off the dogs.
I just watched the White Sox’s Thursday press conference.
Jerry Reinsdorf finally remembered he owns two Chicago sports teams and actually decided to speak. It was a friendly reminder that the Bears are in a much better spot than they’ve been in the past, even with some of the question marks from Poles.
The Bears used to be the White Sox.
In 29 years of covering Chicago sports, I remember one press conference with a more out-of-touch situation than the Chris Getz presser. That’s when Michael McCaskey tried and failed to name Dave McGinnis the Bears’ head coach in 1999 despite McGinnis wanting the job.
The Bears even set up McGinnis’ voicemail in his office. “You have reached the office of Bears head coach Dave McGinnis.”
He hadn’t agreed to his contract yet. McGinnis bolted Halas Hall with the media assembled awaiting the press conference, and the Bears had egg on their face. Dick Jauron was named head coach days later.
It forced Virginia McCaskey to demote her own son and hire Ted Phillips. Phillips, like Getz, was a nice guy but unqualified for the team president role and was promoted from within. It led to almost 25 years of business as usual (losing) and zero championships. Success (and failure) starts at the top.
In 2022, George McCaskey decided to make the smart move and pull the plug on Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. He hired Poles and actually let him hire his own coach, unlike Pace when he was forced to hire John Fox. Something Phillips enabled.
And a year later, McCaskey got even smarter when he went on a nationwide search to find Kevin Warren.
There was nothing comfortable about that hire. Warren was not internal. Warren was not family. But Warren was the right man for the job, and the Bears finally were ready to do smart NFL business. Business that I believe will eventually lead them to sustained success.
Reinsdorf talked about wanting to hire Getz because he already knows the organization.
Sure. He knows how to lose like the Sox have done for years.
Reinsdorf skipped doing the work of the interview process.
Meantime, Warren methodically wanted to get to know everyone in the organization one by one. Learning new ways. Hearing new ideas. And eventually he’ll weed out the bad inside Halas Hall.
When it comes to the stadium, there is no rush, either. Warren wants to build the best stadium with a 50-year shelf life. And if the plan of where and when takes awhile, so be it.
It’s not shocking that when Reinsdorf rushed to build new Comiskey, a few years later the Sox had to undergo full-scale renovations to the ballpark to finally get it right. Same deal when the Bears teamed with the city to renovate Soldier Field under Phillips. Corners were cut. That’s why they’re looking for a new stadium only 20 years later. I’m confident those days are over with Warren in charge.
Back to Poles, there is also plenty of good.
His trade with Carolina in my opinion, will go down as one of the best in Bears history.
DJ Moore is a stud just entering his prime and maybe one of the most talented wide receivers in Bears history. I know, I know, is that really saying much?
Poles shrewdly hasn’t committed to Justin Fields and has two first-round picks to get a new QB, if necessary.
He also hasn’t alienated Fields in the process and has done everything to build around him. He has played the balancing act perfectly, especially when the quarterback isn’t one he drafted.
While Poles has missed on some things, let’s not forget that Theo Epstein once thought Dale Sveum would make a good Cubs manager and trading DJ LeMahieu for Ian Stewart was a good idea.
Bottom line, Poles isn’t scared to take big swings and make the Bears better.
I want a GM who is willing to go for it.
Listening to Getz, there was no substance, no answers, nobody was home.
Listening to Poles, I have someone with substance and confidence.
He’s willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them.
As the Bears get set to open their 103rd season Sept. 10, my 52nd birthday, it will be the first time in my adult life that I am confident in Bears leadership. Where will they lead us? I’m not totally sure, but I’m willing to follow.
Thanks goodness they are no longer the White Sox.
• Marc Silverman shares his opinions on the Bears weekly for Shaw Local. Tune in and listen to the “Waddle & Silvy” show weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on ESPN 1000.