The Chicago Bears have nothing to play in this Sunday’s season finale. They are 3-13. Winning a meaningless game won’t propel you into 2023. Head coach Matt Eberflus may still be trying to get that message across, but people aren’t stupid. They know it’s very likely that half of the current squad won’t be there next year. There’s a lot more at stake when the bears lose than when they win. A loss will guarantee them the #2 overall standings with a chance to secure the #1 if Houston wins. A win drops them to 4th place. It might seem like a small difference, but history shows it can be huge in design. Maybe that’s why GM Ryan Poles is interfering in personnel decisions ahead of the finale.
Eberflus was asked what plans Justin Fields had for the Finals against the Minnesota Vikings. While the head coach reiterated about wanting the quarterback to play when he’s healthy, he also let an interesting nugget slip. Apparently, the Poles will be involved in this decision. That’s a bit unusual. A GM has no reason to get caught up in such depth chart movements. However, the circumstances are very different.
Fields is nursing multiple nagging injuries. His offensive line is battered after conceding 15 sacks in the last three games. Factor in the possibility of losing on a top 2 pick and it’s easy to see why he’s interfering.
Ryan Poles has every incentive to bench Fields.
The quarterback is battered. He’s done more than enough to prove he deserves another year as a starter. Risking more injuries in a meaningless game is useless. Nathan Peterman can go in there and take the hits. It would also guarantee a 14th loss and the #2 pick. Every stimulus points to the Poles insisting Eberflus seed their young quarterback. A lot of that can depend on the health of the offensive line. Teven Jenkins left the Lions game after his neck injury worsened. He might be done for the year. Michael Schofield, their primary backup, also left the team with a knee injury.
When the Bears are throwing third-string backups up front, it makes even less sense to play fields. It depends on how Ryan Poles thinks the dressing room will react. He sent out a constant message that he was trying to win. Players may not like sitting the quarterback in hopes of throwing a play. Fields himself might not like it. As always, it’s the big picture that counts. The Philadelphia Eagles threw their season finale two years ago. This seemed to work well for her. It’s about what’s best for the bears.