Matt Eberflus is doing everything in his power to avoid the axe. Several factors are working against him. Kevin Warren is the new team president. He had no say in Eberflus’ hiring as Chicago Bears head coach. He’s only won seven games, most of which have come against bad teams and quarterbacks. Worst of all, his team has developed a bad reputation for folding late in games. They almost did it again in Minnesota before rallying at the last second to escape. The only thing working in Eberflus’ favor right now is the improvement of the defense, ranked 9th overall and 1st against the run.
Is that enough to save him from being only the second Bears coach in history to be fired after only two seasons? Former scouting director Greg Gabriel doesn’t think so. He’s had ties to the organization for years. His assessment of Eberflus is far from rosy. During a conversation on Bears Barroom, he explained how bleak the situation actually is. From what he gathers, Eberflus has to win four of the remaining five games on the schedule, at the minimum. And even that might not be enough.
Matt Eberflus won’t survive on good defense alone.
This league is about winning games. The Bears are 4-8, but a case can be made that they should be at least 6-6. Their brutal 4th quarter collapses against Denver and Detroit got them here, and Eberflus’ defense was the primary culprit. Nobody disputes the man knows how to call defensive games. However, that isn’t his only job. He’s the head coach, and his decisions dictate how the Bears approach games. One of his biggest weaknesses is his conservative style. Too often, he settles for field goals or chooses to punt rather than go for 1st downs in short-yardage situations. He coaches not to lose.
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Everybody knows what happens when a coach does that. Matt Eberflus wants to win. The problem is he approaches the mentality as a defensive mind. Get the lead and sit on it, trusting the defense to get enough stops. In this modern NFL, with all the rules that favor offenses, that is an outdated way to think. It is why hiring him in the first place was such a bad idea. The Bears said they wanted another Lovie Smith. They so easily forget that Smith suffered from the same problems.
The difference was he had Hall of Fame talent to help carry him through most of the 2000s and early 2010s. Eberflus has no such fortune, and it exposes how inadequate he is. Can he win four of the last five games?
- vs. Lions
- at Browns
- vs. Cardinals
- vs. Falcons
- at Packers
It isn’t impossible. The problem is three of those opponents have well-coached defenses. Three of them also know how to score. If the Bears are forced into anything resembling shootout conditions, Eberflus is screwed.