What the NFL trade deadline tells us about the future of this Chicago Bears regime

Chicago Bears, Justin Fields
Chicago Bears, Justin Fields / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears, Matt Eberflus
Chicago Bears, Matt Eberflus / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Ryan Poles' vote of confidence in Matt Eberflus should be taken with a grain of salt

Many fans were worried that this trade signals Poles still has faith in Matt Eberflus, much like Kevin Warren having faith in Poles as the general manager. In fact, Poles gave him a vote of confidence when he was asked about his relationship with Eberflus amidst the difficult 2023 season.

When he spoke very highly of him, it made fans very concerned that it was all but assured Matt Eberflus will be returning next season. But before we can even get to that kind of talk, Eberflus must prove the defense is significantly better with Sweat in the lineup starting this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

When Sweat was in Washington, he had the luxury of being surrounded by talented teammates, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Chase Young, who was linked to the Bears in the past, but was traded to the San Francisco 49ers at the trade deadline also.

Sweat will not have the luxury of playing with the talented cast he had in Washington. Eberflus better hope that Yannick Ngakoue, who has been a bit of a disappointment so far will start producing more with Sweat attracting more attention. This move could allow DeMarcus Walker to move inside more, where it seems like he fits better and can offer more interior pass rush. But that should not come at the expense of rookies, both Gervon Dexter and Zaach Pickens losing any playing time.

But it probably does not translate to enough victories to save his job if he continues to call the soft zone defense like he did against Los Angeles Chargers, allowing Justin Herbert to carve up the defense all night. The reality is, that the Chicago Bears are a bad football team. As his record sits at 5-20, Eberflus owns the worst winning percentage in franchise history. His team has not won enough, and when they have won, they fail to win but rather lose in an ugly manner like missing tackles and committing bad penalties like we saw last Sunday night.

Even worse for Eberflus, two of his assistant coaches have either left or were fired due to personal conduct issues, both times involving the Bears HR already this year. The first one was defensive coordinator Alan Williams, who left to focus on family matters. This week, running backs coach David Walker was fired after reports of workplace behavior violations.

While Eberflus may not be responsible for Walker's personal issues, he had to be aware of Walker's previous violations. Despite the warnings, Walker was still fired anyway, defying any warnings no matter who it came from. He badly misjudged both Williams and now Walker. Not a good look on a guy who always preaches character and culture, is it?

He had the audacity to double down on how the culture inside the organization is great this week despite losing two assistant coaches to bizarre circumstances and human resources being involved. The fans are exasperated at this point about his nonsense about the culture when the results both on and off the fields are clearly not being met.

He even mentioned how the team is 2-2, casually ignoring about the 0-4 start as if those games were treated like an extended version of preseason games and did not count. That kind of comment rubs the frustrated fans the wrong way when they could have won some of those games and put themselves in a better position for the playoffs.

Finally, for those who blamed Poles for offering a vote of confidence to Eberflus, what was he going to say? What did you want him to say? If he trashed him, it would have created an awkward atmosphere inside the organization.

It would not be smart for a young African-American executive like Poles to tie his career and reputation to a coach like Eberflus for 2024. Even with the implementation of the Rooney Rule, the opportunities for minority executives and coaches to land a job interview, much less a job, are still hard to come by. It is even harder for former general managers to get hired again as the general manager with another NFL organization.


That is why the next 9 games are very important for Poles and particularly Eberflus. If the defense does not show remarkable progress, even with the addition of Sweat, and win more, then Poles have a legitimate reason to move on from Eberflus and should have the opportunity to hire his own coach instead of choosing from the list of candidates recommended by someone else and draft his own quarterback too.