May 24, 2022


Bears News

Analyzing the Bears head coach finalists: Matt Eberflus

Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus looks at his playsheet during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 14, 2021, in Indianapolis.

The Bears appear to be working out a deal to hire Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles as general manager, according to reports.

Poles, 36, brings 13 years of front office experience, but has never been an NFL general manager. His first move, and one of his most important moves, will be to hire a new head coach.

The Bears’ five-person search panel has already interviewed a dozen candidates for head coach. Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is on the short list of coaches interviewing for a second time.

Here’s what to know about Eberflus.

Matt Eberflus

Current position: Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator

Head coach experience: None

Accomplishments: Eberflus, 51, has been the Colts’ defensive coordinator since 2018. He was originally hired to work under new head coach Josh McDaniels before McDaniels changed his mind at the last minute and decided to stay in New England. The Colts kept Eberflus on under head coach Frank Reich. ... Eberflus’ 2020 defense ranked in the top 10 in yards against and takeaways. It dropped slightly to 16th in yards per game this season, but finished one takeaway shy of the NFL lead with 33. ... The Colts have never finished worse than tied for 10th in the NFL in takeaways since Eberflus became the defensive coordinator. ... Prior to Indianapolis, Eberflus worked as the linebackers coach in Dallas from 2011-17. He added the title of passing game coordinator in 2016-17. He took his first NFL job as the linebackers coach in Cleveland in 2009-10. ... Prior to the NFL, he was the defensive coordinator at Missouri from 2001-08 under head coach Gary Pinkel.

Chicago connections: Eberflus is from the midwest. He grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and played college ball at Toledo. He remained in Toledo and started his coaching career there as a student assistant in 1992. He remained at Toledo through the 2000 season. ... Yes, Eberflus works in Indianapolis, but Bears advisor Bill Polian never worked with him. Polian did hire Frank Reich as Colts QB coach in 2009. So he certainly needs only to make one phone call for a recommendation.

Pros: Brings a strong knowledge of defensive football. Has led one of the best defenses in the NFL in recent years. ... Has overseen the development of several key defensive players in Indianapolis. That list includes All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard, who was the 2018 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, and All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. ... He took over a mediocre Colts defense in 2018 and made it one of the best. The Bears defense has been trending toward average ever since a dominant 2018. Eberflus could probably right that ship.

Cons: He has no NFL head coaching experience and no head coaching experience at any level. ... A defensive coach like Eberflus doesn’t have much to contribute to the development of quarterback Justin Fields. He would need to hand those duties off to some really good offensive assistants. ... Eberflus has traditionally run a 4-3 defense with the Colts. As the Bears’ roster is built now, they are better equipped to run a 3-4, as they have under defensive coordinators Vic Fangio, Chuck Pagano and Sean Desai.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.