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Latest Ryan Poles Quote Is Another Indirect Shot At Ryan Pace

March 16, 2023; Lake Forest, Illinois, United States; Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles speaks during a news conference at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Poles has made it quite clear since taking charge last year that he has little respect for the way predecessor Ryan Pace builds a squad. Within 14 months, everything Pace built with the Chicago Bears was demolished. Of the players who are in the roster at the end of the 2021 season, there are only 12 left. Several core names such as Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, Roquan Smith, Akiem Hicks, David Montgomery and Allen Robinson have disappeared. Poles have different ideas about how to create a roster.

The GM subtly attacked Pace last week when he said his decision to drop from #1 overall in a trade was driven in part by a desire to undo the damage done by trading so many picks has arisen in recent years. That was one of the main criticisms of Pace during his tenure. Now the Poles struck again, this time by giving the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser his overall philosophy as a GM. It stems from the understanding that in the NFL, putting your faith in a pick is often a path to disaster.

A lesson Pace never quite learned.

“They do the calculations: will that one player help us more than having the ability to add multiple players?” Poland told the Chicago Sun-Times. “To be good at this job, you can’t fall in love with a player. Guys like Will Anderson when they’re out of reach is always hard because you become a fan of some of these players.

“Once you start falling for a player and saying that one guy is going to be a Hall of Famer — of which there aren’t many — They fall into the trap of narrow-mindedness. You should be really open about how you approach the design. There is no certainty. Just look at the stats. So we’re comfortable with what we’ve done.”

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Ryan Poles will not fall into the same traps as Pace.

Anyone with a good memory will understand that this is an explicit criticism of the former GM. His worst habit was constantly throwing big punches at certain players. Some have worked out well, like this Mack trade. Others ended up doing more harm to the bears than helping them. His most egregious example of this mentality was the decision to move Mitch Trubisky from #3 overall to #2 in 2017. Choosing the quarterback was not only wrong for Pace, it cost him three extra draft picks. Two of these became Alvin Kamara and Fred Warner.

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Pace only knew one way of thinking. That was aggressive. Find the players you want and get them. It would be an acceptable strategy if you’re an excellent talent evaluator who rarely goes wrong. Few, if any, General Managers can claim that. Ryan Poles demonstrates clear self-confidence. He knows his assessments have a good chance of being wrong. So instead of rolling the dice and hoping for the best, he creates more opportunities to find good players by hoarding picks. If Pace understood that lesson, he might still be able to lead the team.

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