What’s in a name? Bears fans skeptical of ‘Ryan and Matt’
The Chicago Bears have found their top two football guys this week with the hiring of Ryan Poles as general manager and Matt Eberflus as head coach.
Reviews of the two men certainly have been mixed, but not from the minds of those whose opinions carry the most gravitas.
Poles, the executive director of player personnel with the Kansas City Chiefs last year, was widely praised by those within his former organization. Poles worked under three GMs, including Scott Pioli, John Dorsey and Brett Veach.
“He has this combination of confidence and humility that’s a really interesting balance,” Pioli said of Poles, via the Sun-Times. “His organizational skills are incredible. I learned that very early on. I could never overwhelm him with workload.”
Veach said in a statement: “Ryan has been an integral part of this organization’s success over the years and has grown professionally alongside some of the league’s top personnel people in his time in Kansas City.”
Even Chiefs coach Andy Reid chimed in. “This is a tremendous hire by the Chicago Bears,” Reid said in a statement. “Ryan has worked hard to get to this point in his career, and he’s seen it done a number of different ways. He’s earned the chance to run his own personnel department and I’m looking forward to watching him get to work building their roster.”
Eberflus, meanwhile, has drawn some high praise as well. He’s been the Colts defensive coordinator since 2018, where he’s operated some strong units. He spent time in Dallas before that, working alongside former Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Marinelli credits Eberflus for the Cowboys’ transition from a 3-4 defense in Dallas to a 4-3 Tampa 2 scheme. That’s important to note because the Bears might have to do the same thing on defense in 2022, and it’s nice to know that Eberflus has experience making that transition.
“He’s everything you want,” Marinelli told ChicagoBears.com. “How he carries himself, discipline. He’s got great communication skills. I think all of those things build into a head football coach.
“He just really took off and grew. You’ve got to be demanding on players in the right way and he did a terrific job in that area. The whole system’s about details and execution and teaching, and he really took off and flourished.”
Bears fans have different opinions of the hirings
Despite what intelligent football people have said about these two men, and regardless of the credentials Poles and Eberflus have on their resumes, Bears fans seem to be largely skeptical of the hirings.
In fact, it seems poking fun at the Bears is the bigger focal point.
As soon as Poles and Eberflus were hired, fans nearly broke Twitter with the same, unoriginal joke: “The Bears have gone from one ‘Ryan and Matt’ (Pace and Nagy) to another ‘Ryan and Matt’ (Poles and Eberflus). They must be trying to save money on office nameplates! They must not have an extensive rolodex!”
Aside from the fact that the “McCaskeys are cheap” rallying cry is an antiquated and false claim, and that the ludicrous notion that everyone who posts a joke on Twitter about the name similarities thinks they’ve come up with a joke nobody has seen or heard before, tying success or failure to a person’s name is nonsensical.
I’m Ryan, and I have a brother-in-law named Matt. We should petition the Bears for the jobs as soon as Poles and Eberflus fail (because apparently that’s inevitable), and they should hire us because of our names.
One fan called into AM 670 The Score and promptly nicknamed Eberflus “ever-lose” because he didn’t like the hire and he thinks the coach will fail. Needless to say, “Score” callers are so thoughtful.
Everyone naturally has strong opinions about Poles and Eberflus and I’m not going to deny them their right to express those opinions. I just don’t understand the basis of many of them.
If you want to argue that the Bears should have hired an offensive-minded coach because someone needs to develop quarterback Justin Fields, and because the Bears desperately need to score more points next season, that’s a valid point.
If you desired the Bears to hire an experienced head coach and general manager rather than first-timers, that too is valid.
But if you don’t like the hires because their names are the same as the two men who just got fired, you’re making a baseless, illogical complaint.
Likewise, whether you like the hirings or hate them, nobody can be sure whether they were good or bad moves until the two men actually get into their positions and start doing their jobs. Which is why, despite my optimism, I like to take a wait-and-see approach on these types of moves.
Poles and Eberflus likely will need at least a year to get in here and purge the dead weight from the organization; to remove the square pegs that won’t fit into the round holes of their football vision, so to speak. So, it would be foolish to judge them even after their rookie seasons with the team.
Buckle up, Bears fans. Have an open mind and a heart for your beloved. Let’s see where this takes us.