Result of Missed Leads: Poles and Warren Must Make Dangerous Choices at Coach and QB


The Bears were exactly the same on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals as they had been since Montez Sweat joined the team in the middle of the 2023 campaign. For the majority of the game, at least, they play excellent defense. In addition to being a mediocre passer in all other aspects of the game, their quarterback is one of the league’s most explosive runners. (Mark Sanchez expressed frustration to Fields about how quickly he digested the action.) This Sunday’s opponent was just not up to the challenge, but their head coach seems ready to let every significant lead slip away. These Chicago Bears play in the center of the pack in a league where most clubs reside, and this was the general consensus heading into the season.

Why, therefore, does this season seem unsatisfactory?

The solutions are straightforward: Cleveland, Detroit, and Denver.

The Chicago Bears would have a 9-6 record if they and their defensive coordinator could only hang onto those three double-digit fourth-quarter leads in games where they were unquestionably the better team. With the Lions leading the division and posing a threat to the Cowboys for the fifth slot, they would be assured a spot in the postseason. They would have triumphed over their disastrous season-opening performance both on and off the field. They could have persevered through several games using a backup quarterback who had just made one start against Colorado School of Mines. This season would have been a “triumph,” to use Prue Leith’s words from The Great British Bake Off.

Fields says he's being given too much info by Bears coaches, needs to trust  instincts – KGET 17

However, it’s not. Now that the coach and quarterback are in a position to make improvements, Ryan Poles and Kevin Warren will need to make decisions based on a basic inquiry: do they think they can improve? In all honesty, neither has performed well enough in 2023 to inspire confidence in them going forward. Believing in their potential is necessary to have faith in them going forward, and both guys have shown enough to warrant optimism that they can contribute to the team’s success.

But in a QB-friendly draft, is it a gamble worth taking with the first pick? When Jim Harbaugh is reluctant to accept a $100 million or more contract at Michigan because it would compel him to forgo flirting with the NFL this offseason, is that a risk worth taking?

If Fields and Flus were to play for the Bears in 2024, they would have high expectations and could easily win the game. Some sections of the fan base would oppose that move, but they would have enough capital to address their three main weaknesses—pass rush, interior offensive line, and wide receiver—and still have money left over. Imagine this team with an early-round center, Bryce Huff, and Marvin Harrison Jr. With these two players at the center, the 2024 roster might be among the strongest this team has had in recent memory. It’s hard to picture them missing out on the playoffs in January 2025.

Would that accomplishment occur in spite of the quarterback’s and coach’s shortcomings? And if Fields and Flus don’t show any discernible progress, will their limitations prevent the club from winning a championship?

It is simple to act as though Poles and Warren have an easy time making these selections. SET HIM AFRAID! BUY HIM! GO ON! However, there is a case to be made for having faith in the program and the demonstrated success. At the end of a dismal 2024, it might result in the team letting go of Fields and Flus, but it might also result in the first reliable coach-quarterback partnership the team has had since the Super Bowl era.

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