With so much work to do, Bears GM Ryan Pols is smart to keep expectations realistic.

It’s too early to tell if general manager Ryan Paul will be a hit — not just by making the Bears a winner, but by resonating with an eager fan base — but he’s done a good job by keeping expectations realistic. Has started.

Unlike predecessor Ryan Pace, Paul isn’t trying to sell anyone on something he can’t deliver. Pace kept insisting the Bears were close until they imploded, and an empty sales pitch made things worse. While Polis shares every other GM’s allergy to transparency, he has been reasonably honest about the scale of his rebuild.

So at the start of his first training camp, he wasted no time saying the Bears were aiming for the Super Bowl. He acknowledged that this is always the dominant mindset and mentioned the middling standards of competing within the division and pushing for a playoff spot, but preferred a vague yet respectable first step.

“It’s more about who your team is,” he said of a roster that features just six players who were full-time starters the past three seasons. “[Being] The absolute best version of your team is first and foremost.

“There are different levels of it, but I think you always have to have the mindset of going up.”

Sure, but not this season. This is the desired destination after all, but there is no GPS direction. The police have to figure it out themselves.

The first step on his to-do list was demolition, and it almost always led to some kind of weather. Now he’s on a quest to determine which players on the roster can contribute to what he hopes will be a team that goes all the way to 2023 and beyond. He’ll have a ton of salary cap space and draft capital to allocate after this season, but any issues he can fix now will speed up the build.

Right now, the Bears have only three players who can be counted on for their future with certainty: linebacker Roquan Smith (if he signs an extension), cornerback Jaylon Johnson and wide receiver Darnell Mooney. Everyone else has a lot to prove – none more so than quarterback Justin Fields.

Paul hopes the recent draft class will find many of his answers, but none of them will be clear until they start playing. And there’s a long list of bubble players like tight end Cole Kemet and even freshman wide receiver N’Keal Harry who could open up, but they’re also currently unknown.

The project requires patience, which is a big ask from a fan base that has waited three decades for the Bears to become a powerhouse again. The police are engaged in personnel maneuvers, but they are also primarily responsible for public relations management.

This will be one of his biggest challenges. He’s never had to worry about it before, but he seems to think it’s a legitimate part of his job in a way Pace doesn’t.

However, Poles are familiar with this phase of team building. His last employer, the Chiefs, went into the last few seasons with a credible Super Bowl or bust approach, which wasn’t always the case. When Polls ascended from college scouting to the pro personnel department in 2018, the Chiefs were coming off a 10-6 season and moving on unproven quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“There was a journey … I was a part of,” said Polis, who joined the Chiefs near the bottom of the NFL in 2009. The right players and making sure people are in a position to succeed as well.

He is only at the beginning of this endeavour. It took Pace until his fourth season to pull the Bears out of the ditch, and Polls certainly hopes to fix things faster than that. But it won’t be immediate, and he’s been smart to be upfront about it.

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