Matt Eberflus To Retain Defensive Play-Calling Duties

Matt Eberflus avoided the two-and-done reality many expected, instead being given the power to fire his offensive coordinator and other members of his 2023 staff. The third-year Bears HC will also operate in a dual role in 2024.

Although the Bears hired Eric Washington, the former Bills assistant will be a non-play-calling defensive coordinator to start his Chicago tenure. Eberflus said Thursday he will retain play-calling duties in 2024. This comes after he held the role for most of the 2023 season, following Alan Williams‘ September departure.

[RELATED: Bears Expected To Tag CB Jaylon Johnson]

Williams, who followed Eberflus from Indianapolis, did not fare well running the show in 2022. Granted, the Bears had purged their defense of veterans — including the trades of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn — that year. The team ranked last in points allowed and 29th in total defense. Williams then left under somewhat mysterious circumstances, leading to Eberflus abandoning his status as a CEO coach and calling signals beginning in Week 3.

Last year’s Bears featured more defensive talent, seeing offseason and in-season additions bolster Eberflus’ unit. The team gave Tremaine Edmunds a top-five linebacker deal and added T.J. Edwards from the Eagles. Chicago, which entered the season with more questions at defensive end, traded for — and then extended — Montez Sweat. The team, which also received a breakthrough contract-year effort from Jaylon Johnson, finished 20th in scoring defense and 12th in yardage yielded.

Eberflus came to Chicago after four seasons with a play-calling role in Indianapolis. The Colts finished as a top-10 defense in three of those years, elevating Eberflus to the HC interview circuit. Washington has been in a play-calling position previously, serving as the Panthers’ DC from 2018-19. He spent the past four years as the Bills’ defensive line coach. While Washington taking the call sheet at some point during his Bears tenure is not a farfetched proposition, he will not carry it to begin his tenure.

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