LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The last 24 hours would be a difficult situation for any general manager, let alone someone who is just in his second season.
But after the sudden resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams and comments by quarterback Justin Fields, Ryan Poles was trying to present a calm front as the team endures a difficult week
“No one in our building is panicking,” said Poles during a news conference at Halas Hall. “No one is flinching at any situations. Not our owner, not our president, not our head coach, not myself, none of our players. Everyone is focusing on solving the issues that we have so that we can be a better football team.”
Yet Poles wasn’t able to offer much in terms of details on Williams’ resignation, which came with a one-line news release from the Bears on Wednesday afternoon and nothing else. The defensive coordinator had been out the previous week, including the loss to the Buccaneers last Sunday, with what was termed a personal issue.
“In terms of Alan, I don’t have many details to add there. We try to work in truth, and I know there’s a ton of misinformation out there yesterday,” said Poles. “We talked, like, Halas Hall being raided, that’s completely false. Don’t even know where that came from. Worked with Kevin (Warren) and George (McCaskey), all of our leadership, to make sure we were handling it the right way, communicating properly, and then obviously everything concluded yesterday.”
Poles wouldn’t provide much of a timeline of Williams’ leave and resignation when asked later in the news conference.
At the same time, he was quick to defend two people in the organization, including head coach Matt Eberflus, whom he said he has a “ton of faith in as a leader. He’s done a great job.”
Another person he defended is Fields, who created a stir when he first attributed his “robotic” play early this season to coaching in his Wednesday news conference. He walked that back during an impromptu locker room media session a few hours later.
“In terms of Justin, I can’t be more clear than this: No one in our entire building, none of our coaching see Justin as a finger pointer at all. He has always taken ownership of anything that’s happened on the field,” said Poles of Fields. “He takes it head-on. He works, he grinds. He puts his head down, he works with his teammates. He works with his coaches to find solutions..
“Really, everyone’s trying to figure out what’s going on, and my opinion, you’ve got a young quarterback trying to figure it out, a guy who hasn’t had the cleanest start to his career, who last year, with the roster, had to put the team on his back, do some unbelievable things athletically.
“Now he gets talent around him, and has to figure out and balance when to do those cool things athletically, when to lean on others, and that is sometimes a grey place to live in, and that takes time, that takes time on task to take that next step. and everyone’s on board helping him get to that place for him to be successful.”