The Chicago Bears have started the 2023 season with a 1-5 record after losing 14 straight games over the course of the 2022-23 seasons, and the failure starts with Ryan Poles.
The 2023 Chicago Bears were supposed to show some sort of improvement over the course of the season. Now six games into the season they are instead showing that they haven’t gone any better. Newly minted general manager Ryan Poles has connections as a client to former Chicago Bears player turned agent Trace Armstrong. Armstrong was rumored to be a possible hire for the Chicago Bears president of football operations, during the 2021 NFL season.
Instead Armstrong was not hired, but the Bears did hire two clients of his in Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus, and that appears to be a new level of incompetence in Chicago. Clearly neither Poles nor Eberflus should have been hired.
It all start with Ryan Poles, who has now had two seasons to mold the Chicago Bears into a better more competitive football team and he has yet to bring in a player that projects to be a better player in Chicago than they were as draft picks or as free agents.
Poles biggest coupe was landing DJ Moore, but that was an obvious move, it’s the moves that he needs to make future projections on that he has failed at miserably. Everything else has been an abject failure.
Starting at quarterback, Justin Fields hasn’t developed and the talent behind Justin Fields has not been upgraded. None of the players behind Fields are good enough to help in his development nor good enough to challenge him to be a better player. Tyson Bagent’s little spark aside, there’s not truly anyone that’s making the QB demonstrably better than it was when Poles took over.
The highest level of success Poles has had, has been at the running back position. The least important position for Fields to develop. Roschon Johnson may turn into a good running back and the free agents brought in are competent. But that’s not doing much to truly elevate the offense.
At wide receiver the players Ryan Poles has brought in haven’t even looked like they belong. Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown N’Keal Harry and Velus Jones Jr showed no promise at all. Ryan Poles then traded for Chase Claypool for the 32nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Claypool didn’t even make it a year before he was traded to the Miami Dolphins. Tyler Scott, Trent Taylor and Jones Jr are the primary contributors behind DJ Moore and Darnell Mooney.
Moore is good, but the rest of the talent behind him needs to be massively upgraded for the third off-season in a row. Not one of the players outside of the Moore trade looks like they belong on the roster beyond the 2023 season. Scott will remain, but he’s not showing anything that makes you believe he’ll be here by the end of his rookie contract.
The offensive line is just as bad as the wide receiver room. Braxton Jones is not a starting caliber left tackle and never should have been tasked with being the blind side protector for the future of the franchise. Jones is at best a backup on the same level as his backup Larry Borom. You just don’t ask a fifth-round draft pick to come in and immediately lock down the blindside against the be pass rushers in the NFL. The very little promise Jones has shown has been as a competent level backup player.
The Bears needed a center, and signed Lucas Patrick, who has been a disaster. Cody Whitehair is moved to center after the Nate Davis signing moves Teven Jenkins to left guard. Whitehair had problems with snapping the ball when he started for the Bears at center previously and is now showing issues with snapping yet again. That wasn’t a hard prediction to make. Adding to the chaos along the offensive line, the primary backup is a second year seventh round pick.
On defense the front seven is still an absolute mess. The defensive tackles are deplorable. Justin Jones is not an NFL caliber defensive tackle. Gervon Dexter Jr has neither the correct size for the leverage required to play in the trenches, and Zacch Pickens is more of a raw athlete than a football player. The defensive end position provides zero speed or pressure off the edge. Yannick Ngakoue is not providing the pressure off the edge he was expcted to. He is among the worst in the NFL in generating pressure off the edge.
DeMarcus Lawrence Dominique Robinson and Rasheem Green don’t bring any rush off the edge either. There’s simply been no improvement from a pass rush standpoint over the last two years. None of the players even projects to be a good pass rusher in the future.
The secondary depth has gotten worse. The starters in Jaquan Brisker Tyrique Stevenson and Kyler Gordon haven’t generated any momentum in the turnover department. The Bears have five turnovers which is in the bottom third in the league for turnovers and only two turnovers above the worst spot in the league for turnovers.
In summary the entire roster hasn’t gotten any better and doesn’t have any players at any positions of impact that project to be here over the next three to five years. Ryan Poles has failed to reshape the roster, upgrade the talent or build a winning culture that is moving this team closer to being competitive.
Given the connection of Poles to Trace Armstrong and the obvious appearance of Armstrong helping out two of his own clients there should be little doubt what new President Kevin Warren should do. Poles wasn’t hired for because he is good at his job, no more than Matt Eberflus was. The appearance is they were hired because of their connection to Trace Armstrong and his connection to the Bears.
It doesn’t matter that the Bears have had an endless cycle of coaches and GMs. It doesn’t matter that it would be a sign of organizational instability As a result of the failure to even begin to upgrade the talent of the 53-man roster, Ryan Poles should be fired at the end of the 2023 season.
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