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The prospect of drafting Caleb Williams seems _____. The coaching changes are _____. Addressing 4 key Chicago Bears topics.

The Chicago Bears sent out the social media post Sunday night just as the Kansas City Chiefs started to celebrate their Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

“On. The. Clock.,” the tweet read, accompanied by a montage of NFL experts commenting on the Bears’ plans for the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

With the 2023 season officially over, a crucial Bears offseason is about to kick into high gear over the next 2 1/2 months with the scouting combine, free agency, college pro days and finally the draft.

With the combine just two weeks away, the Tribune’s team of writers addressed four key topics about the Bears’ plans and their path ahead.

For Bears fans, another Super Bowl triumph by Patrick Mahomes is _____.

Brad Biggs: A simple reminder that the only way a team can be routinely in the hunt for a championship is to be led by an elite quarterback.

Having one doesn’t guarantee you will be in the mix — see the Los Angeles Chargers the last couple of years with Justin Herbert — but without one, you have no chance of chasing a Lombardi Trophy year after year. Mahomes is at the top of the league and in a class by himself, so finding a quarterback better than him will be difficult — but you’d best try.

I won’t pretend any of the postseason outcomes will affect how the Bears operate in the weeks and months to come, although it was interesting to see the success the Green Bay Packers had with first-year starter Jordan Love. The Bears’ next moves have to be predicated on what they’ve seen — and what they haven’t seen — from Justin Fields after three seasons and how they evaluate the talented passers in this year’s draft class. It seems we’ve reached a foregone conclusion that looked very likely as the offense struggled through the first month of the season: The Bears will move on from Fields.

It’s not a question of whether to build around Fields or draft a quarterback. It’s which quarterback will the Bears choose. With some good scouting and coaching, some other solid moves and a dash of luck, maybe the Bears will finally get a quarterback who can help them be annually in the postseason conversation.

Colleen Kane: A reminder that Ryan Poles needs to get this upcoming quarterback decision right.

Not that anybody needed the reminder. Bears fans are doused in Mitch Trubisky-over-Mahomes regret every time Mahomes reaches a Super Bowl (four times) and is named Super Bowl MVP (three times). They don’t need to be told how different life in Chicago might be if former GM Ryan Pace had picked Mahomes, who guided the Chiefs through some offensive bumps during the season and in Sunday’s game to win it all for the second year in a row.

“We knew having it in 15’s hands, we were going to have a chance to win it,” former Bears coach Matt Nagy said of Mahomes’ winning touchdown pass in an NFL.com story, probably making Bears fans reading it slam down their phones in rage.

The one thing that perhaps dulled their pain this time is the Bears could draft a quarterback prospect whose potential is being compared to that of Mahomes. Could Bears fandom survive if Poles passed on Caleb Williams — and Williams turned out be great? Maybe Poles will determine a quarterback other than Williams is the player to bring the Bears to new heights. Either way, he has to get it right.

Dan Wiederer: A reminder. And a timely one at that.

Not that Poles should need much prodding. Poles was, after all, part of the Kansas City Chiefs front office in 2017 when they targeted Mahomes as their must-have quarterback. And Poles was still in Kansas City when Mahomes won his first Super Bowl four years ago. So he has experienced firsthand the grandest perks that come with having a top-tier quarterback.

Since Poles has been at Halas Hall, Mahomes and the Chiefs have added two more Lombardi trophies to their collection, including the one they snatched Sunday with a 25-22 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas. With the season on the line, with his team leaning on him, with the opportunity to add to his legacy, Mahomes took the Chiefs on a 13-play, 75-yard, championship-winning march. He completed all nine of his passes on the final drive, ran for 8 yards on a potential game-ending fourth-and-1 and converted a key third-and-1 with a 19-yard scramble. A simple 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman broke the 49ers’ hearts and lifted the Chiefs back onto the championship stage.

It was legendary stuff from one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the sport. And for Poles and the Bears, it should be a reminder to attack this offseason with aggressiveness and grand ambition, looking to secure the key that unlocks the door to the world the Chiefs are living in.

The prospect of the Bears drafting USC quarterback Caleb Williams at No. 1 seems _____.

Biggs: Like the most likely outcome at this point.

But it’s very early in the process, and Poles and his staff and the coaches have an awful lot of work to complete between now and April 25. The Bears will bring in their college scouts for extended meetings before traveling to the scouting combine in Indianapolis. That begins Feb. 26, and afterward comes a long list of campus pro days as well as top-30 visits and likely some private workouts.

Williams has been considered the consensus top pick in 2024 for more than a year, and I don’t know that anything has moved him off that spot. A study of quarterbacks in the draft begins with him, but the Bears have to complete work on all of the potential options.

Kane: Very possible.

I didn’t want to say “likely” — even though that’s what most of the speculation says — because I do think the idea still has to be cemented. Poles and his staff have done their work on Williams (and the other quarterbacks in this draft class) to a point. They’ve watched him in person and on film. They’re talking to everybody around Williams. But they have important steps ahead — at the combine and in pre-draft visits — to get to know Williams better. Poles stressed at his end-of-season news conference he needs to understand the person he’s drafting.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our ability to see talent on the field,” Poles said. “The human being we’ve got to figure out. Especially to be a quarterback in this city, you’ve got to have it right. … You’ve got to have mental toughness. You’ve got to be able to block things out.”

Beyond that, Poles at least has to hear out other general managers about what they would give him for the top pick. I’m not sure those offers will matter, but he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t field them.

Wiederer: Sensible.

That’s the consensus inside league circles. And here in mid-February, that seems to be the path the Bears are going down unless they run into an unforeseen detour in their scouting process. Williams is a terrific talent with attention-grabbing playmaking gifts and instincts for the position. His potential is next level. He’s the kind of elite prospect NFL teams drool to get their hands on, so much so that general managers across the league will be willing to spend multiple first-round picks plus more to unite with him this spring.

And the Bears don’t have to make that grand of an investment. They simply have to use one pick to grab Williams — and that pick came from the Carolina Panthers in a landmark trade last year. It’s essentially a gift card at a time when the Bears can be first to the QB shelf in this year’s draft. And what a gift that could turn out to be. No, Williams isn’t a can’t-miss player. His wiring is something the Bears must scrutinize and get comfortable with. But barring any surprises in the character vetting process, it seems probable the Bears will roll the dice on Williams having enough special traits to lift them to a level of sustainable success they haven’t experienced in 35 years.

For general manager Ryan Poles, the possibility of drafting a quarterback and keeping Justin Fields is _____.

Biggs: Something he needs to consider.

That’s especially true when you consider how important the backup quarterback spot has become, particularly for teams with plans of being competitive. But this strikes me as a rather unlikely outcome, even more so if the Bears use the No. 1 pick on Fields’ replacement. It would create unwanted distractions, especially if the rookie hit some normal speed bumps in first-season development.

If the Bears can get a second-round or even a third-round pick in exchange for Fields, that would help them address a few needs they might want to fill in the draft. Free safety, center and tight end come to mind.

Kane: An idea to float in public to drum up trade markets for either Fields or the No. 1 pick.

I’m not saying the Bears haven’t discussed the possibility. I just don’t see how it makes a lot of sense if the Bears stay at No. 1 and draft Williams or another quarterback.

If Poles drafts Williams at No. 1, he has to be convicted that Williams gives the Bears the best chance to become a championship contender. And in that case, it makes the most sense to try to get draft capital for Fields. Having both Fields and Williams on the roster would seem to make things infinitely more complicated than they need to be, setting up the Bears for the type of controversy they certainly wouldn’t want their rookie quarterback to have to deal with.

Now, if the Bears decide Williams or Drake Maye isn’t their guy, could they trade down to take a quarterback later in the draft whom they want to develop, get the draft capital for the No. 1 pick and keep Fields too? Maybe that scenario makes sense.

Wiederer: A trap.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last weekend that the key decision makers at Halas Hall have at least discussed this possibility. Which they should. Poles, President Kevin Warren and coach Matt Eberflus should be sounding through every possible option during this pivotal offseason. But they also should have enough savvy to quickly understand the cons of that route likely outweigh the pros.

If the Bears are confident enough in Williams to draft him, they should be looking to pave his developmental road and not obstruct it by keeping Fields around. That would add complex layers to everything, forcing the Bears to use significant energy and resources to manage practice opportunities and locker-room allegiances and the inevitable media circus that would come with a “Fields vs. Williams” competition. That’s not what this team needs at this stage of its climb. It’s certainly not what either quarterback needs, either, to be forced to navigate through the awkward tension such a decision would create.

The open discussion of keeping Fields while also drafting a quarterback could help the Bears boost a trade market for Fields (or for the No. 1 pick). But practically, it seems like an improbable scenario.

My biggest takeaway from the coaching changes the Bears made this offseason is _____.

Biggs: We’ll see.

The biggest change the organization can make in 2024 is if it charts a new course at quarterback. If the Bears get the right one, he will be a foundational piece who would have looked good playing for any of the offensive coordinator candidates the team interviewed. That’s not taking anything away from Shane Waldron and his background. Quite simply, it’s a players’ league and they’re the ones who make the difference on Sundays.

It made sense for Eberflus to maintain play-calling duties on defense, and the new coordinator on that side of the ball, Eric Washington, should help rev up the pass rush. There are a lot of unknowns remaining and reason for excitement with the draft capital and salary-cap space. We’ll see what direction the team is headed in late spring when we have an idea of what the roster looks like in minicamp.

Kane: They needed to reset on offense because the grouping they had didn’t work.

The debate can rage on whether offensive coordinator Luke Getsy or Fields was more to blame for a passing offense that ranked 27th in the NFL in 2023. The Las Vegas Raiders saw enough from Getsy to give him another shot at a coordinator job. And if the Bears move on from Fields, some other NFL team will snap him up with the idea it can push him to bigger things than the Bears could.

The point is Getsy and Fields didn’t work well enough together, at least not soon enough. So the Bears reset with a slew of new offensive coaches, including Waldron and quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph.

Bringing in new perspectives and ideas is of course a reason for hope, but I’ve learned enough from the Bears’ offensive ineptitude over the last six seasons not to make any grand pronouncements about the impact the new coaches will make. Let’s wait and see.

As for the hiring of Washington, he comes with a lot of really good experience from his time with the Bears, Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills to potentially help Eberfus elevate the defense.

Wiederer: Matt Eberflus has a second chance to make things right.

Two years ago, Eberflus introduced a 19-member staff of coordinators and assistants he believed could lift the Bears to new heights. Heading toward his third offseason in Lake Forest, 10 of those original 19 coaches are no longer around. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams abruptly resigned in September. Running backs coach David Walker was fired for conduct-related reasons a little more than a month later. Getsy was dismissed right after the season. Also gone from Eberflus’ original staff are quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, defensive backs coach James Rowe, assistant offensive line coach Austin King, assistant tight ends coach Tim Zetts and quality control coaches Omar Young and Ronell Williams.

That’s a jarring amount of turnover in two years, especially considering the circumstances surrounding some of those exits. In the last month, Eberflus added six assistants to his staff, none more prominent than Waldron. He arrives with previous NFL play-calling experience and recent success in aiding Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith’s career revival. Waldron’s performance will be under an intense microscope in 2024 as the Bears look for greater quarterback production and offensive consistency, and Eberflus also must be assessed on how much improvement his new assistants are able to catalyze.