The Chicago Bears are hoping new head coach Matt Eberflus can change their fortunes around after recent struggles under Matt Nagy.
Matt Eberflus has never been a head coach at any level. Until now.
On Wednesday, the Chicago Bears handed the keys to their franchise to Eberflus, the former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator. This, only after earlier in the week hiring 36-year-old Ryan Poles away from the Kansas City Chiefs to replace Ryan Pace as their new general manager.
Eberflus, 51, comes over after spending four years with the Colts and the previous seven as an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys under head coach Jason Garrett. He’s known as one of the best defensive minds in the league, largely leaning on zone coverage and particularly, Cover 2.
On Thursday, Eberflus was introduced to the media, and Poles had glowing remarks for the new man on the sideline, per ESPN:
“I couldn’t be more excited to have Matt become the next head coach of the Chicago Bears. His experience, passion, character and attention to detail made him the right man for both the job and the culture we intend to establish here at Halas Hall. Throughout the search, Matt impressed me when detailing his vision and plan for our team. We look forward to getting to work and assembling a top-notch staff and roster that will help us consistently compete for championships.”
However, his biggest challenge won’t be getting the defense right. It’ll be making sure second-year quarterback and former first-round pick Justin Fields becomes the best version of himself. In 12 games (10 starts) this season, Fields threw for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions, suffering behind a dismal offensive line that often gave him no chance.
In the NFC North, the Bears are looking up at the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The former has Kirk Cousins under center, who while underwhelming is certainly a league-average quarterback. The latter might be moving on from Aaron Rodgers after what is likely a fourth MVP campaign, opening the door for a major downturn.
All told, this is a great opportunity for Eberflus and Fields to flourish, but they need to find the right note. To that point, it’s on the rookie head coach to find an elite offensive coordinator who can bring Fields along. It’ll be the most important move of the offseason.
Eberflus is a quality hire, but he needs to come with a terrific offensive mind, or the move is fraught with danger.
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