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LAKE FOREST — Chaotic is a perfect word to summarize what the situation has been like at Halas Hall.
Justin Fields voiced how the coaching isn’t necessarily aligning with his style of play and that is causing him to play robotic at times. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams submitted his letter of resignation. Starting left tackle Braxton Jones was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. The team is 0-2 and has to travel on the road to face the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead.
So much so that general manager Ryan Poles needed to address the media on Thursday.
“First and foremost, to hit it straight on, we have adversity right now,” Poles said. “Slow start, 0-2, not where you want to be. We’ve dealt with life issues. We’ve dealt with injuries and that’s all real and that’s a part of what we do and what we gotta deal with.”
Despite everything that is going on with the team, the second-year general manager expressed that the men and women inside Halas Hall are working towards being proactive to find answers.
“The beautiful thing about our philosophy here, our organization is we’re solution oriented,” Poles said. “We work together to find these solutions and solve our problems to get everything back on track. To make it really, really clear, I know the outside noise, but now one in our building is panicking. No one is flinching at any situations, not our owner, not our president, our head coach, not myself, none of our players. Everyone is focusing on solving the issues that we have so that we can be a better football team.”
The Bears have no choice but to be solution oriented, especially since there are still 15 games to be played in the 2023 season.
Poles mentioned that Matt Eberflus and him had a conversation on Wednesday night about how they both have been a part of teams that have gone through slow starts. The Chiefs in 2015 won their first game and then went on a five game losing streak. The team turned its season around in Week 7 with a victory over the Steelers and then went on to win 11-straight games, including a playoff victory over the Texans.
Eberflus was in his first season as the Colts defensive coordinator in 2018. That team started the season 1-5 but ended with 10-6 record and lost in the Divisional Round against Poles’ Chiefs.
“So, sometimes you have these and you gotta fight through it and figure out how you can be a better football team,” Poles said.
Poles didn’t provide any further details about Williams, and said the team will figure out “all the titles and everything” next week to help fill the void left at the defensive coordinator spot.
The Bears’ general manger did have some words though in his opening statement about Fields and the comments he made on Wednesday.
“In terms of Justin, I can’t be more clear than this: No one in our entire building, none of our coaches see Justin as a finger pointer at all,” Poles said. “That kid is always taking ownership of anything that has happened on the field. He takes it head on. He works, he grinds, he puts his head down, he works with his teammates, he works with his coaches to find solutions.”
Poles also shared his opinion that Fields is still trying to figure out how use the talent around him while balancing when to use his athletic ability to make the “unbelievable” plays that he did last season. It’s going to take time, and everyone in the building is on board to help him to become successful.
For outsiders looking in, the Bears’ world is crumbling three weeks into the season. However, that isn’t the feeling for those directly involved with the organization.
“And just to finish, I said it from the beginning, I feel good about this roster on paper,” Poles said. “It’s got to gel. It’s got to work together. It doesn’t happen overnight. Would you like it to? Absolutely. I wish the preseason was cleaner where everyone was going a ton of reps. It didn’t happen that way. We had to adjust. I believe that we have a better team. It takes time to gel. We’re doing things the right way and unfortunately sometimes the right way is the hardest way. But in order to have success for a long period of time, we gotta go through these things to be a good football team.”
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