Because of the Bears’ ugly start, the seat upon which Eberflus rests is warming. It also doesn’t help that Chicago’s offseason — a positive step forward in roster construction — built up outsized hype for these Bears, who are understandably struggling to live up to expectation.
After Chicago’s quarterback openly wondered whether coaching could be leading to his “robotic” play, Poles expressed confidence in Eberflus.
“With Flus, got a ton of faith in Flus,” Poles said on Thursday. “He’s a leader, he’s done a great job. And then as a defensive play-caller, as well, got a ton of faith there. Is the situation easy, a sudden change easy? No, it’s not. But he handled it well. He’s leaned on his staff that has experience to help him get through that and be successful. We’ll figure out all the titles and everything, I’m sure, next week. None of that’s been dealt with right now. We’ll get through this week.”
Fields’ words were interpreted more seriously than they were likely intended, leading to Fields’ second media session on Wednesday to attempt to set the record straight. He ended up attempting to blame reporters for taking his words out of context.
Again, not a great 24 hours for the 0-2 Bears.
“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 on Thursday. “He has always taken ownership of anything that’s happened on the field. He takes it head-on, he works, he grinds, he puts his head down, he works with his teammates, works with his coaches to find solutions.”
Fields could justifiably point fingers at a number of issues, but he’s also admitted he needs to play better. He’s slow in the pocket at times and overwhelmed by a quickly arriving pass rush in other instances, preventing him from settling into much of a rhythm.
“Really everyone’s trying to figure out what’s going on?” Poles said. “In my opinion, you’ve got a young quarterback trying to figure it out, a guy who hasn’t had the cleanest start of his career, who last year with a roster had to put the team on the back, do some unbelievable things athletically.
“Now, he gets talent around him and has to figure and balance when to do those cool things athletically, when to lean on others, and that is sometimes a gray place to live in, and that takes time. That takes time on task for him to take that next step. Everyone’s on board helping him get into that place for him to be successful.”
It’s just not good right now. An optimist will point to one fact, though, that we often overlook within weekly coverage: 15 games remain for the Bears to turn it around.
That seems to be the approach Poles is taking, too.
“I said it from the beginning: I feel good about this roster on paper,” he said. “It’s got to jell, 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 jell. 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’ve got to go through these things to be a good football team.”