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What we heard from new Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus, including building through the draft and what they see in QB Justin Fields

The Chicago Bears raised the curtain on a new era Monday, officially introducing general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus at a news conference inside the auditorium at Halas Hall. Both new leaders spoke about their respective career paths and their shared vision for returning the Bears to prominence.

Here are some of notable highlights from what was said.

GM Ryan Poles

On why Eberflus was on his initial list of candidates

The beautiful thing about the NFL is what you see on tape usually is a reflection of the person behind it. And it was a fast, violent effort. A very good defense. But it was more the style that they played with that got my attention. And then just everyone networks and tries to get to know people throughout the league, so I was able just to call him and meet him years ago just to understand what he was all about, what kind of person he was, and from that there’s a little bit of a relationship, but it went even deeper when we got into the interview process.

On how he knew Eberflus was his coach

When we went through the process, it was a Zoom first so I was able to give a list of candidates I really liked. Matt was on that. When I got here in person, we brought him in and the moment he walked through the room I knew he was the guy. Especially when he started going through his plan. The big thing to know is, I reach out to a lot of people to make sure I’m lined up the right way. I reach out to people that have done it and been successful at it. Every single person said when you know, you know. When you know you got one, you got one. And I’m a guy that when I have conviction about it, it’s time to go. That’s kinda how everything fell into place.

On what he’s seen from Justin Fields and the plan for Fields moving forward

I remember watching Justin a lot. I’m close with Ryan Day as well, the head coach of Ohio State. And like any player, support and development, getting back to the details, doing the fundamentals and taking the approach to reach that ceiling. And that’s hard and that’s detail. And I’m excited to see him grow.

One of the things we talk about, too, is any time you evaluate a player and put a plan in place, the big thing is finding out what they do well. Whatever they do well, maximizing that, and then finding their weakness and do what Coach just said in terms of attacking the weakness to get better in those other areas. I think the key thing is, What do you do well? We’re gonna do that a lot. And then fix the holes and get better as we go.

On his philosophy of building through the draft and what his role was in drafting Patrick Mahomes in 2017

In terms of building through the draft what’s key is one, knowing what scheme you’re running and finding players that fit. That’s first and foremost. A lot of players get missed if I bring someone in going against what we’re running. Well then it’s not tied together and that’s hard to fit. The types of players in terms of their backgrounds, 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 very hard. Being a player is very hard. And you’ve got to love it to get up in the morning and be the best you can be. And then the piece I hit on earlier in terms of evaluation you’ve got to be able to prioritize certain positions because of supply and demand and place them on the board for you to get them. I think that’s the other important part.

In terms of Pat, listen, even in the interview process, I’m not taking credit for any player. The beautiful thing of the process I’m coming from — and it will be the process here — it’s a group effort. We all get in a room, we’re going to start here shortly, we watch tape and it’s open. And I mention candor. We’re being candid. We want to challenge each other without being disrespectful and that’s the only way to get to the truth. So that process is special. A lot of people spoke up. There were different factors that went into it. I’ll give credit to the process, though.

On the challenge ahead as a first-time GM

Just getting up to speed in terms of putting our plan in place. Really, it’s time. So you’ve got free agency coming up, the Senior Bowl is going on, there are a lot of things that other teams are preparing for because they had everything in place. I think really it’s time, it’s getting up and getting running and getting our processes in to place and that’s going to take some strategy as to what we’re going to change now and what we’re going to change later in terms of what we think and how our meetings are going to go so it definitely would be time.

On Bill Polian’s involvement in the interview process

I thought it was great. I started asking him questions. If you’re open-minded, why would you not tap into that resource? And that will continue. I called him multiple times after and I will continue to do so. Anytime you meet someone that has been a high achiever, I think that’s incredible.

Coach Matt Eberflus

On his leadership style and if he has been focused on becoming a head coach

I do want to be intense and focused on the job at hand for sure. I am detail oriented meaning I do hold guys to the standard and I do it the right way because I do it with my heart and making sure I’m trying to find the best way of to make them better. In terms of your last question, I do believe that when you go through this process you are where your feet are and it means exactly that. You do your best job where you are. So if you’re the defensive coordinator at Missouri you do 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. You have a long view and a short view. Have a long view of where you want to go, OK, but then come back down to the short view of the details it takes to get there. So that’s what I believe.

On hiring Luke Getsy as offensive coordinator

During the course of your time in the NFL and it’s been 13, 14 years now in the league, you look at certain offenses and you look at certain styles and you look at the tree where certain people come from and you look and see how they operate. I’m big into metrics and grades and into measuring how people operate in terms of their efficiency and things that come with it. And then you look at certain things and you start calling around and asking people. That’s where Luke is special. He’s special because he’s tough, innovative, smart and he works well with team. He’s a big team guy, so I’m excited about where he is. He’s been on my radar for a while. Obviously we worked the process, and we looked into everybody … talked with lots of people about making this big decision.

On his offensive philosophy

We want an attacking effort-based offense that has great mental focus and intensity and we’re going to measure every single one of those. Obviously, taking care of the ball is the most important thing and then being smart in their situations, being smart, presnap, postsnap and understanding the game of football. And it’s our job as coaches to educate that. So in terms of like philosophy of offense, sure, I want an attacking style, scoring points, protecting the football. Those are things that we’re working through with the staff.

On if he will call defensive plays

I do believe that to be the head football coach and be efficient at that, you are exactly the head football coach. So I can be involved in all aspects of the game. So the defensive coordinator we hire will call the defensive plays. I will not do that.