The Bears Front Office Is Apparently Setting Expectations Appropriately

Adam Jahns at The Athletic reviews George McCaskey’s comments to the media at the owners meetings along with Kevin Fishbain.

McCaskey: ‘Well, the goal every year is to win a Super Bowl. We saw last year how the Bengals can go from last in their division to playing in the Super Bowl and coming darn close to winning the whole thing. So what we’re looking for is progress. How are they putting the team together? How are they working together? Are we moving forward? Are we doing the right things? Are we doing them in the right way? And again, looking forward to seeing the results.

Jahns: This was the first time in the Poles era that McCaskey used his line about winning the Super Bowl every year. He’s used it in the past. McCaskey, though, made an effort to temper them. And I felt that was notable. It’s important in terms of not only setting the right expectations for himself and his team but also maintaining them for this season and next. [GM Ryan] Poles’ moves this offseason — starting with trading Khalil Mack to the Charters — indicate that a rebuild of sorts is happening at Halas Hall. McCaskey would never use that “R” word. But he seemingly knows what’s happening with his team.”

It is indeed notable that McCaskey tempered his statement about competing for the Super Bowl every year. One of the things that Ryan Pace did very poorly with the Bears was managing expectations. He seemed to want to set the expectations for the team high in order to push them to meet those expectations. I think that’s OK in the locker room. But its a dangerous business when you are doing it with the public.

When you are also setting expectations for the team’s fans and when the team doesn’t perform to the expectations that you have set, it resulted in major disappointment. All of the sudden 8-8 with a first round playoff loss which might have been a sign that the team was competitive under Lovie Smith isn’t good enough. You can’t claim that its a step along the way where the organization continues to learn and get better anymore because you’ve already publicly declared it to be a finished product.

Poles seems to be doing a better job of setting the expectations for the team this year and, if I were to guess, he will do a better job in years to come. He understands that if he wants to handle the free agent market in a sane manner that he is embarking in a long process.

This is especially true because he is short on draft picks this year. It is true, as McCaskey said, that the Bengals turned their fortunes around very quickly. But they had very high draft picks in two straight drafts that allowed them to do that. The Bears will not have that luxury.

Eventually you hope that this team will make the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl every year. But fans and to a certain extent media have to understand that that may take a long time if they are going to properly set the foundation and do it right.

Setting expectations for the team internally is one thing. Setting public expectations appropriately as something else altogether. The early signs are that perhaps Poles understands the difference.

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