Ryan Poles, Immaculate Vibes, and the Expectation of the Bears Being Playoff Contenders in 2023
Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood!
That’s a quote from architect Daniel Burnham, and one with which many Chicagoans are already familiar. But it is also a mindset I think we should have going into the 2023 NFL season. Especially if Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles has eyes for greater things.
On Friday, Poles chopped it up with The Athletic’s Jim Trotter, who discusses a variety of Bears-centric subjects in his latest post. But this passage, in particular, is giving me life (bold emphasis mine):
Poles, who believes the Bears should contend for the NFC North title this season, knows the team has yet to arrive. But he also says last season seems like a distant memory because the vibe within the locker room is so different.
“It’s not even close,” he says. “This is a different group; practice, meetings, the weight room. I feel like a family is starting to come together, even with the rookie class just showing up this past week. There’s just a different feeling.”
That tingly sensation you felt while reading that pull quote was hope. And while Poles falls short of proclaiming the Bears will take the North this year (and never give it back), it feels tremendous knowing the vibes are strong and optimism is high. Plus, Poles has every right to feel this way. In part because he has this guy quarterbacking:
The NFC North is up for grabs after Aaron Rodgers’ departure from Green Bay. Surely, the Bears aren’t the only NFC North team feeling positive energy after this offseason. But good luck making a case for a team in the division that has made more improvements to their roster than these Bears.
Think about what the Bears’ to-do list was looking like when last season came to an end. Find a legitimate WR1? Poles did that in trading for DJ Moore. Bolster the offensive line? Drafting Darnell Wright and signing Nate Davis gives Chicago a brand new right side of the line. Fortify the defense? Adding high-profile linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards helps toward reaching that goal. As do the draft picks of Gervon Dexter Sr., Tyrique Stevenson, and Zacch Pickens. No, the Bears didn’t get everything they were looking to accomplish this offseason. But there is no denying the roster overhaul that we witnessed this offseason. We could look back at the heavy lifting and hole-plugging that was done this offseason as an important step in a larger line of work Poles is immersed in right now. I hope we do. And I think we will.
There is some other tremendous stuff in the post. And I highly recommend reading it in its entirety. But for now, I’m allowing myself to dream about Chicago’s football team using 2023 as a launching pad to bigger and better things. Because if the GM believes it, why shouldn’t I do the same?