Matt Eberflus it is. The Chicago Bears narrowed their list to three candidates for head coach this week with him, Jim Caldwell, and Dan Quinn all getting second interviews. In the end, the decision was left up to new GM Ryan Poles. Despite rumors persisting that Bill Polian was pushing for Caldwell and Quinn being the heavy favorite among many in the building including Ted Phillips, it was Eberflus who got the nod.
It isn’t like the man was unqualified. He has coordinated one of the best defenses in the NFL for the past four seasons in Indianapolis. His units played with great effort, urgency, and discipline. All things people have wanted to see more of from this Bears roster. Nobody can dispute Eberflus knows what he is doing. The biggest concern was far simpler.
What is his plan for Justin Fields? The young quarterback is hoped to be the future of this organization but needs a proper structure around him to flourish. Defensive head coaches have a stigma around them for not being able to do this. So most agree Eberflus’ offensive coordinator hire is going to be huge.
Here are some names that could end up getting the call within the next week or so.
Bears offensive coordinator names Matt Eberflus may explore
Kevin Patullo (Eagles passing game coordinator)
He and Eberflus first became acquainted in 2018 when Patullo became Colts wide receivers coach. Prior to that, he moved around a lot. Places like Texas A&M, the Jets, Titans, and Bills. He was a longtime understudy of Chan Gailey, one of the more respected offensive minds in the league. Since then he’s had a chance to learn under Frank Reich as well. Last season he helped the Eagles compile 28 TD passes and just 12 interceptions despite questionable options at quarterback.
Joe Brady (former Panthers offensive coordinator)
The hotshot young coach set records in 2019 for LSU, helping Joe Burrow throw for 60 touchdowns and win a national championship. A disciple of Sean Payton, Brady came into the NFL with much fanfare. Things just didn’t work out in Carolina, posting 21st and 30th rankings in total offense. He was fired after just two years, but many believe it wasn’t his fault. Carolina was bedeviled by quarterback problems and lost star running back Christian McCaffrey twice to long-term injuries. He shares agents with Eberflus, so this is worth watching.
Darrell Bevell (former Jaguars offensive coordinator)
Matt Eberflus has gotten an education in what Bevell can do for the past two years. In 2020, he got Matthew Stafford to hang 330 yards and 3 TDs on the Colts. Then this past year, he helped rookie Trevor Lawrence post a 111.8 passer rating (223 yards, 2 TDs) in the season finale. Bevell is highly experienced as a coordinator with eight top 15 offenses since 2007 and won a Super Bowl in 2013 with Seattle. He’s worked with quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Russell Wilson, Stafford. He can be great for Justin Fields.
Wes Welker (49ers wide receivers coach)
Albert Breer of The MMQB mentioned recently that Eberflus may seek an offensive coordinator from the Shanahan tree. Not a surprise seeing as how that style is having so much success in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Green Bay. Welker has worked with Kyle Shanahan extensively since 2019. During that time he’s overseen the successful development of receivers like Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. As a player himself, Welker also learned from names like Josh McDaniels and Bill O’Brien. Definitely qualified for this opportunity.
Pep Hamilton (Texans passing game coordinator)
Widely considered to be one of the best QB specialists in the NFL. Hamilton turned Andrew Luck into a #1 overall pick at Stanford. Then his career-best passing season with the Colts in 2014. As quarterbacks coach for the Chargers in 2020, he helped Justin Herbert throw 31 touchdowns as a rookie. Last year he somehow got an 88.8 passer rating in 11 starts out of rookie Davis Mills. He would be a great influence on Fields and is somebody a source informed SM that Matt Eberflus has an eye on.
Scott Linehan (former Cowboys offensive coordinator)
If it’s experience that Eberflus is looking for, then Linehan is somebody that has a ton. Since 2002, he has had a total of 13 years working as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. In that time, the man has produced a top 10 unit eight times. One thing that consistently stands out is how well his quarterbacks play. Daunte Culpepper, Marc Bulger, Matthew Stafford, and Dak Prescott all had career-best performances under his direction. Some will argue the 58-year old is too predictable with his scheme, but it’s hard to argue the results. The two also worked together for three years in Dallas.