The Chicago Bears have hired Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their next head coach. An interesting choice, given that defense hasn’t been the Bears’ problem. They ranked 13th in DVOA this past season and eighth the year before. Rookie quarterback Justin Field’s development should be the priority, which makes the Eberflus hiring strange to some, including Stephen A. Smith.
“Justin Fields is the future of this franchise,” Smith said. “Offense has been the impediment to your success. If the defense has had any struggles, it’s because you’re keeping them on the field all the damn time and they can’t catch a break. … Looking at it from that perspective, why would you go and hire a defensive coordinator?”
Hard to argue with Smith there. The offense needs to generate yards and score at a competent level so the team has a chance to win. The Bears were 26th this season in offensive DVOA. There are 32 teams in the league.
That the Bears finished with a 6-11 record is a testament to the defense.
Still, we don’t know what kind of head coach Eberflus will be. Maybe he has a plan for Fields. New general manager Ryan Poles must think so or he wouldn’t have hired Eberflus.
Poles has spent the last 13 seasons working with the Kansas City Chiefs within the scouting and player personnel departments. He is highly regarded as a talent identifier and evaluator.
“I couldn’t be more excited to have Matt become the next head coach of the Chicago Bears,” said Poles, whom the Bears hired Tuesday. “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.”
The last part of Poles’ comments indicate Eberflus is one piece to the puzzle.
It’s likely Poles believes that with the defense being excellent and well ahead of the offense, it makes sense to have a head coach that specializes in defense to keep the personnel on that side of the ball happy and feel valued.
Paging Khalil Mack …
With the defensive side of the ball set, Poles and Eberflus can look to assembling the rest of that “top-notch” staff. There are no shortages of qualified quarterback coaches and offensive coordinators who can help develop Fields.
Current Houston Texans quarterback coach and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton is a name at the top of the Bears wish list, according to reports.
Hamilton assisted with the development of Andrew Luck when he was in college at Stanford and with the Indianapolis Colts, Justin Herbert with the Los Angeles Chargers, and Davis Mills with the Texans.
Suffice to say, Hamilton has experience working with and developing young quarterbacks.
Jim Caldwell, Mike McDaniel, Mike Kafka, Kevin O’Connell and Ken Dorsey are all potential options as well. The latter four as quarterbacks coach. Caldwell is too experienced to only serve as a position coach. He should be a head coach, but a turn at offensive coordinator could get him closer to a top job.
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