Ryan and Matt were replaced by Ryan and Matt – Pace to Poles and Nagy to Eberflus. That last one doesn’t really roll of the tongue. Ee-BER-fluss. Fortunately for us media, it appears that he likes to be called coach Flus.
At times, Monday’s press conference appeared more like an episode of “The Bachelor.” Poles got a bit emotional as he thanked several of his long time acquaintances. “I have a lot of people,” he stated. “There’s a lot of people that have been a part of my journey and the reason why I’m here, and I can’t name them all and I apologize for that but I’ve got to mention a few. Clark Hunt and the entire Chiefs organization, Brett Veach, Andy Reid, John Dorsey, Chris Ballard, Scott Pioli, Ted Crews, my coaches and teammates at Boston College, and the entire crew at Canandaigua Academy. I also want to mention a few of those that have reached out to me during the interview process as well as opened the door for future advice: Tony Dungy, Bill Polian, Rod Graves, Kensa Gunter, Lauren Bullock and Greg Brown.”
Coach Flus was cool, calm, and collected in complete contrast. He seemed more like he was giving an Economics 101 lecture or a TED talk. “A special thanks from me for the coaches that were great examples for what makes a master coach,” he noted. Flus went back more than three decades for his most significant influence. “When I was coming up, I was fortunate to get a job at 22 years old at the University of Toledo for a guy named Gary Pinkel. He’s been special all the way through my career. He’s getting into the Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame this year, and what an outstanding example he had for me at a young age. I was with him I think 17 or 18 years, so unbelievable.”
My next piece of advice for the players for sure is get your track shoes on because we’re running.-Matt Eberflus
Eberflus laid out the strategy for his coaching philosophy. It’s build on a foundation of hustle and effort.
“We’re going to be an effort-based team. That’s the number one piece. We’re going to have measurable ways for standards of performance that are going to be detailed. Every single rep, every single practice, every single game, it’s going to be an effort-based team, so that’s the H part to our HITS principle.
“The next thing is the I. The I is intensity. We will play with maximum intensity. That’s mental focus and intensity but also physical focus and intensity. The toughness we’re talking about for the Chicago Bears, it’s a hitting, physical style, offense, defense, kicking. That’s going to be the second foundational piece. We’ll measure those. We have ways to measure, and I’m going to be very detailed with those.
“Next, T is taking care of the ball and taking the ball away. It’s all about the ball. It’s all about the ball. That’s the most important thing for winning and losing is taking the ball away and protecting the football, so that’s the T.
“The last one is S. It’s being smart, situational players. So smart is really being — no stupid penalties, make sure we’re squared away with the penalties, should be in the top five every year in penalties. The next thing is situations, being great in red zone, 3rd down, two-minute, backed up and being smart situational players.”
What is Poles’ philosophy? “We’re going to build through the draft. We’re going to acquire young, fast and physical football players. We’re going to be selective in free agency, and we’re going to connect evaluation with valuation. We’re going to have a relentless approach to fix our weakness. We’re going to maintain great self-awareness of who we are. We’re going to solve problems with open communication and candor. We’re going to consistently put players in position to succeed.”
The most important piece, is we’re going to take the north and never give it back.-New Bears GM Ryan Poles
George McCaskey was asked about how he chose Poles. “It was part of the discussion among the search team,” he answered. “We relied heavily on Bill (Polian’s) recommendation. He has a lot of contacts around the league and had heard good things about him and felt we should interview him, and we were very impressed with him when we conducted that interview. His direct manner, his confidence, his poise, his philosophy and vision for building the Bears.”
Poles was hired, and immediately got to the task of finding his coach. “When we went through the process, it was a Zoom first so I was able to give a list of candidates that I really liked, and Matt was on that. When I got here in person, we brought him in, and the moment he walked in the room, I knew he was the guy, especially when he started going through his plan.”
Poles says he can look back on his tenure in Kansas City to turn the Bears fortunes around for good. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned was getting everyone on the same page. When the coaching staff and the personnel department are speaking the same language, the personnel staff is acquiring the players that fit our system, then we’re going to be off to a good start. I’ve been in this situation. It hasn’t always been all great and championships. There’s been a process to get to where that team is right now.”
Eberflus addressed a question about his calm demeanor. “It is what it is. I do want to be intense and focus on the job at hand for sure. I am detail oriented, meaning that I will hold guys to the standard, and I do it the right way because I do it through my heart and making sure I’m finding the right way to make them better. I do believe when you go through this process, you are where your feet are, and exactly. That means exactly that, that you do your best job where you are. If you’re the defensive coordinator at Missouri, you are doing the very best job you can. If you’re the secondary coach at the University of Toledo, you do the very best job you can, and that’s what I believe. One action at a time, one dealing at a time. Have a long view and a short view. Have a long view where you want to go but then come back down to the short view of the details it takes to get there. That’s what I believe.”
Frank Reich, Eberflus’ coach in Indianapolis says of his former defensive coordinator, “In the four years I have been here, you walk out onto the field before the game, and interact with the other team. Some comment on how hard our defense plays. That says more than anything. Watch the tape. Watch the results.”
Poles told the audience that he intends to build through the draft. “I think the key is knowing what scheme you’re running and finding players that fit. That’s first and foremost. I think a lot of players get missed if I bring someone in going against what we’re running, then it’s not tied together and that’s hard to fit. The types of players in terms of their background, what they’re about, how passionate they are about football is important, too. That’s the other place where misses can happen in terms of do they love football, because this is hard. This is really hard. Being a player is very hard. You’ve got to love it to get up in the morning and want to be the best you can be. And then the piece I hit on earlier in terms of valuation, you’ve got to be able to prioritize certain positions because of supply and demand, and place them on the board where you can get them. I think that’s the other important part.”
His thoughts on Justin Fields? Eberflus says, “Yeah, just thumbnail, athletic super leader. I think he’s going to be really good in terms of that. We’ve got to develop all those things. But in terms of like with Luke, he’s, like I said, very innovative, very smart. He’s excited to get to work with him when he’s able to, but yeah, that’s going to be a nice thing to watch and be part of.”
Poles reaction was, “I’m excited to get to work with Matt and come up with that plan. I know from our conversations that we’re lined up and we have a plan of attack, and we’re confident about that. I understand the past, but we’re focused on moving forward. We have a talented player and we’re going to attack it, and I know he’s got the work ethic to get it done, too.”
Justin Fields says, “I really just like the way he carries himself. Just his demeanor. His presence. He’s confident when he talks. He knows what he wants to do. He has a plan set in stone. I’m really ready to lead with him. Just get ready for next year.”