Sources: Bears to hire Colts DC Eberflus as coach

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The Chicago Bears will hire Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their head coach, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Eberflus, 51, was also considered a candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ vacant position as head coach. He will join new general manager Ryan Poles to take over a Bears team that went 6-11 in 2021 under Matt Nagy and has missed the playoffs in nine of the last 11 seasons.

Chicago also interviewed Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell for the job.

Eberflus has spent the past four seasons as the Colts’ defensive coordinator under coach Frank Reich. His defense finished in the top 10 scoring three times, including being in ninth place in 2021 with 21.5 points per game. match.

Eberflus will inherit a Bears team that was sixth in the NFL in total defense in 2021, but which fought offensively and endured instability at quarterback, with Andy Dalton switching as starter with rookie Justin Fields.

The first big issue for Eberflus in Chicago will be choosing an offensive coordinator, as a big part of the job for the new coach and GM will be to strengthen the quarterback position that has haunted the founding NFL franchise for decades.

The Bears do not have a first-round draft pick in 2022 because they swapped this selection for the New York Giants to pick Fields, who showed glimpses of potential as a pass and as a runner, but finished with just seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Chicago won 2-8 in the 10 games Fields started last season.

The Bears played two postseason appearances in their four years under Nagy, but last won a playoff game in 2010. They are 1-3 in the offseason since appearing in the Super Bowl XLI after the 2006 season, a game the Colts won.

Eberflus, a former linebacker at the University of Toledo who began his coaching career at his alma mater and hometown school, was also interviewed for the head coaching job last year after his third season with Indianapolis, where he developed a reputation for demanding a relentless effort from his players.

Eberflus’ high standards included counting “bread” – a term former Bears coach Lovie Smith also used in his Tampa 2 defense. Eberflus refined his style and terminology during a seven-year stay in Dallas, where he worked with Rod Marinelli, who, like Smith, came from the coaching staff of Hall of Famer Tony Dungy.

Now, Eberflus will be the second coordinator to leave Indianapolis in two seasons.

Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles filled their jobs as head coach with Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, who took a handful of Colts assistants with him. It is unclear how many, if any, assistants will follow Eberflus from Indy or Philly to Chicago.

When Eberflus began his coaching career in Toledo in 1992, he spent nine years with the Rockets as a student assistant, degree assistant, outsider, and defensive player. He spent the next eight seasons as Missouri’s defensive coordinator (2001-08) before making the leap to the NFL, where he coached linebackers in Cleveland (2009-10) and Dallas (2011-17) before joining the Colts prior to The 2018 season. .

In Eberflus’ first season in Indianapolis, the Colts improved from 30th to 10th place in scoring defense, from 30th to 11th place in total defense and from 26th to eighth place in emergency defense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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