Sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Chicago Bears have hired Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their new head coach.
Also, Eberflus was under consideration as a possible contender for the vacant position of head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Taking over a team that has a record of 6-11 in 2021 under Matt Nagy and has missed the playoffs in nine of the last 11 seasons under new general manager Ryan Poles
Other candidates for the position in Chicago included the Cowboys’ Dan Quinn on defense and Jim Caldwell, the former Colts and Lions’ head coach.
Colts defensive coordinator Eberflus has worked with coach Frank Reich for the previous four seasons. The three times he ranked in the top ten in scoring, his defenders averaged 21.5 points per game.
Despite the Bears’ top-six finish in total defense in 2021, they struggled on offense and had quarterback instability, with Andy Dalton and youngster Justin Fields alternating as the starters.
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The selection of an offensive coordinator will be a top priority for Eberflus in Chicago, as the new coach and general manager will be tasked with stabilizing the quarterback position, which has been a source of controversy for the founding NFL franchise for decades.
After trading their first-round pick to the New York Giants so that they could choose Fields, who showed signs of potential as both a passer and as a runner, the Bears will have no first-round draft pick in 2022. Fields started just 10 games for the Cubs this season, going 2-8.
Despite making two playoffs appearances under Nagy, the Bears were unable to win a playoff game for the first time since 2010. It’s been seven years since they won Super Bowl XLII, and they’ve gone 0-3 in the playoffs since then.
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Last year, Eberflus, a former University of Toledo linebacker who began his coaching career at his alma mater and hometown school, was also interviewed for head-coaching positions following a successful third season with Indianapolis.
In his Tampa 2 defense, former Bears coach Lovie Smith also used the term “loaves” to describe Eberflus’ high standards. During his seven-year stay in Dallas, where he worked with Rod Marinelli, a coach descended from Tony Dungy’s coaching tree, Eberflus honed his approach and language.
In the space of two seasons, Eberflus has now become the second Indianapolis coordinator to depart the city.
Earlier this year, the Philadelphia Eagles hired former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni as their new head coach, and Sirianni brought with him several Colts assistants. We don’t know yet how many assistants will travel with Eberflus to Chicago from Indy or Philadelphia.
After nine years as a student assistant, graduate assistant, outside linebackers coach, and defensive backs coach at Toledo, Eberflus began his coaching career in 1992. When he left Missouri to enter the NFL, he spent the next eight seasons as their defensive coordinator (2001-08) before moving on to the Cleveland Browns (2009-10) and Dallas Cowboys (2011-17) until joining the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.
To put it another way, the Colts’ defense improved from 30th place to 10th place in the league in the first season under Eberflus’ leadership. The team’s total defense also improved from 30th place to 11th place.
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