The Chicago Bears can never be trusted to do the logical thing when it comes to the head coaching job. That has been the case for years, but especially since George McCaskey took over as team chairman. He allowed Phil Emery to hire Marc Trestman over Coach of the Year Bruce Arians in 2013. He was basically coerced into hiring John Fox in 2015 rather than letting his new GM have free reign. Then, in 2021, he retained Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy even though it was obvious both needed to go. Now, he’s about to be faced with another big decision regarding Matt Eberflus.
After 26 games at the helm, the man is 5-21. That is by far the worst record any Bears head coach has produced in the same span of games. Chicago is 1-9 in one-score games and tied for first in penalties. Just for good measure, they’re also second in the league in giveaways. Everything about this team’s operation is bad. Nothing stands out as justification for keeping Eberflus beyond the 2023 season. Yet, team insider Adam Jahns of The Athletic believes there is a real possibility the coach gets one more season.
Especially if the decision is left up to the GM.
I believe general manager Ryan Poles will be given an opportunity to hire another coach should he decide to dismiss Eberflus.
But I also believe Poles believes everything he said about Eberflus after he made the trade for Sweat.
“Most teams fold, and they’re not folding,” Poles said then. “It’s been hard. It’s been really hard, especially from where we started last year, trying to build this and do it the right way. What I see from him on a daily basis and how he gets this team ready on a weekly basis, to me, I see a grown man that has leadership skills to get this thing out of the hole and into where it needs to be.”
Retaining Eberflus would not prevent the Bears from making other changes. They do need a new defensive coordinator and they may draft a quarterback. There could be changes offensively, too.
Matt Eberflus’ case is simple if underwhelming.
It’s easy to forget the Bears are the third-youngest roster in the NFL. They’re giving a lot of inexperienced players significant snaps. Everybody knew this would be a rebuild. Ryan Poles tore the roster down deliberately, intending to construct it via the draft. Doing something like that has consequences. It often means a couple of years of bad football. Pace did the same thing in 2015. Chicago won nine total games in his first two years. Fox ended up getting a third season anyway.
If he did, why shouldn’t Matt Eberflus? The simple answer is that Fox went 5-11 that third season. It was a complete waste of time, especially for young quarterback Mitch Trubisky. There is zero evidence to suggest Eberflus can have any sort of breakthrough next year. That is particularly true if the Bears draft a new quarterback as expected. He’s done nothing to show he can develop that position. Still, what Jahns says is hard to ignore. Poles may push for Eberflus to get one more chance if he is committed to that relationship.