Matt Eberflus

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.

Bears Fire OC Luke Getsy, Four Assistants; Matt Eberflus To Stay

Ahead of the Bears’ seminal quarterback decision, they will have a new play-caller. The team is firing two-year offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, according to’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. The Bears are also moving on from quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, per Pelissero.

It does indeed appear Matt Eberflus will be back. After Ryan Poles praised the job Eberflus did in his second season,’s Adam Schefter reports the defensive-oriented HC is set to stay for a third year. The former Colts DC is expected to remain the Bears’ defensive play-caller, per Rapoport, though the early expectation is Eberflus hiring a DC to at least be a key voice in game-planning.

He was steady at the wheel,” Poles said of the 53-year-old HC, via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley. “He fought to get back above water and get things the way they were. His ability to adapt and adjust, really take input from the players, to get this thing on the right path was incredible. I think a lot of people would have been in really bad shape and crumbled to the pressure. He got better with the pressure, and so did our football team.”

The Bears evaluated their staff over the past two days, and although Eberflus hovered on a hot seat early this season, the Bears rallying to finish 7-10 represented progress after a lengthy losing streak spanned from the second half of last season through October 2023. As the calendar turned to 2024, Eberflus was not expected to be fired. This news assuredly points to Poles staying on for a third year; the GM was viewed as a better candidate to stick than Eberflus coming into 2024.

Chicago improved from 29th to 12th in total defense from 2022-23 and from 32nd to 20th in points allowed in Eberflus’ second season. The Bears hired Eberflus with the intention he would be a CEO coach, rather than the play-caller,’s Albert Breer tweets. Wearing both hats this season following DC Alan Williams‘ September exit, Eberflus did make strides. It will be interesting, then, to see if the Bears stick with Eberflus as their defensive play-caller. Despite a 3-14 debut season and a 1-5 start to the ’23 campaign, the veteran defensive coach has survived.

In addition to Getsy and Janocko, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and running backs coach Omar Young, per’s Courtney Cronin and CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, will not join Poles and Eberflus next season. Despite improvement from Justin Fields and a career-best season from trade acquisition D.J. Moore, the Bears are removing the top pieces from their offensive staff. They have been viewed as a bit more likely to trade Fields and use the No. 1 overall pick on USC’s Caleb Williams, though definitive traction in either direction remains elusive. But Fields is close to becoming a more expensive commodity, with his fifth-year option decision on the horizon come May, while Williams would be tethered to a rookie contract for at least three years.

Chicago’s offense improved from 28th to 20th in yardage and from 23rd to 18th in scoring over Getsy’s two seasons, though the ex-Packers assistant remained in the crosshairs. A change at this juncture would point to the Bears leaning toward making the long-rumored move to trade Fields and start over with a higher-ceiling rookie. This was the 39-year-old Getsy’s first OC gig; he had previously served as Aaron Rodgers‘ QBs coach.

Thanks largely to Fields’ gifts as a runner, the Bears led the NFL in rushing in 2022 and finished second this season. The latter ranking came despite the Ohio State alum missing four games due to injury. No single Bears rusher totaled more than 700 yards, however, and only Khalil Herbert topped 500 among the team’s three-headed running back setup. WR2 Darnell Mooney (414 yards) also did not make much of an impact in his fourth season, despite the former fifth-round pick being a previous 1,000-yard receiver. Chicago finished 27th in passing yards, inviting more speculation about Fields’ Windy City future.

Janocko, 35, came to Chicago after seven seasons in Minnesota. While Janocko spent his entire NFL career with the Vikings, he only coached quarterbacks in one of those seasons (2021). Tolbert, conversely, has been a specialist throughout his career. The 56-year-old assistant has coached wide receivers for six teams since 2003. On the Cardinals’ staff when Anquan Boldin broke through as a rookie, Tolbert later coached Demaryius Thomas for seven seasons in Denver, collecting a Super Bowl ring for the latter stay. The Bears hired him after four seasons with the Giants. Young came to Chicago from the college ranks in 2022; the team promoted him from the quality control level to RBs coach last year. Assistant tight ends coach Tim Zetts has also been let go, the team announced.

It seems unlikely Eberflus will sign an extension, as his four-year deal runs through 2025, but the Bears showing faith in their coach to keep him in place despite the likelihood of a No. 1 overall QB investment coming in. Should that happen, the team’s next OC hire will obviously become quite important.

Staff Rumors: Commanders, Smith, Falcons, Bears, Pierce, Raiders, Giants

Among head coaches, Ron Rivera resides as the only true lock to be fired following Week 18. The Commanders‘ new ownership injects mystery into the upcoming search. Josh Harris has been rumored to be intrigued by a setup in which a football operations president-type figure oversees a GM and head coach, and’s Albert Breer further points to the owner being unlikely to hand the keys to a high-powered HC. Like Bill Belichick, Breer considers Jim Harbaugh an unlikely candidate in Washington. It is not known if Belichick would require personnel control if he ends up elsewhere, but Harbaugh having the leverage of more Michigan extension offers, it is expected the hard-edged HC would need significant input on the personnel front if he were to return to the NFL. So far, the Chargers have been the team most closely linked to luring him back.

Additionally, Breer notes Harris is intrigued by how the Eagles and Ravens’ power structures are set up. The Commanders hired ex-Ravens analytics staffer Eugene Shen as senior VP of football strategy in the fall. While the Eagles lost four staffers to assistant GM roles in 2022, the Ravens have a GM candidate in player personnel director Joe Hortiz. Baltimore’s OC-DC tandem — Todd Monken and Mike Macdonald — is expected to generate HC interest as well.

Going into Week 18, here is the latest from staffs around the NFL:

  • With the Falcons on the doorstep of a third straight 7-10 season, Arthur Smith‘s job status has come up frequently. Vacillating back and forth between being fired or becoming the rare HC to be given a fourth year despite three straight losing seasons, Smith was not exactly given a vote of confidence by Arthur Blank. But the longtime Falcons owner is not believed to be actively seeking changes, per Breer, making it sound like the hope is for Smith and GM Terry Fontenot to show enough to stay on. A one-sided loss to the Saints may well change Blank’s mind. The Falcons can win the NFC South by beating the Saints and the Buccaneers — who also have a coach on the hot seat — losing to the Panthers.
  • Ryan Poles is believed to have a good relationship with new Bears president Kevin Warren, being expected to stay on for a third year as GM. Prior to the Bears‘ rout of the Falcons, Matt Eberflus was linked to being in good standing for a third HC season. While expecting both to stay, Breer notes neither Bears power broker has been assured of a return. Warren has been a wild card in this scenario since he was hired, and the former Big Ten commissioner did not confirm publicly when asked Friday (via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley) if Eberflus would be retained. Eberflus is 10-23 as Bears HC, but the team — which has a rather important quarterback decision to make soon — is 7-5 over its past 12.
  • Raiders leaders Davante Adams, Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs would back the retention of interim HC Antonio Pierce, but Mark Davis is believed to be aiming higher. After all, Pierce — who resigned his two-year post as Arizona State DC in 2022 — has far less experience than Raiders DC Patrick Graham. But Pierce’s knowledge of the Raiders’ culture and history does appeal to Davis, Paul Gutierrez of writes, noting these factors matter considerably to the second-generation owner. No team has bumped an interim leader to the full-time post since the Jaguars elevated Doug Marrone in 2017.
  • Giants running backs coach Jeff Nixon is set for a responsibility jump; it will come at the college level. Syracuse hired Nixon as its offensive coordinator Friday. Nixon was in his first season as Giants RBs coach; he had served under Matt Rhule at Baylor and with the Panthers. The Giants hired Nixon last year to replace DeAndre Smith, who left to take the same position with the Colts.

Justin Fields Making Bears’ Decision Difficult; Team Setting Higher Trade Price For 2024 No. 1 Pick?

Barring an unexpected development, Ryan Poles will have the opportunity to consider another trade involving a No. 1 overall pick. The second-year Bears GM is unlikely to be fired, per’s Jeremy Fowler and Courtney Cronin. But a similar decision awaits him once the season ends.

Poles’ 2023 choice equipped the Bears with a haul of draft choices, including a Panthers pick now guaranteed to check in at No. 1 overall, but the young GM has not seen Justin Fields submit an open-and-shut case to stay on for a fourth season. Recommitting to Fields would now require the Bears to trade a No. 1 overall pick for a second straight year. Considering Poles was not with the team when it traded up for Fields in 2021, the stakes attached to the GM’s next decision are even higher.

Since coming back from an early-season injury, Fields has impressed in spurts. The third-year QB is believed to have made the Bears’ decision more difficult, Fowler and Cronin note, but two anonymous GMs said (via the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora) Chicago should still be expected to draft Caleb Williams — who has not yet officially declared — first overall and trade Fields. A panel of NFL staffers said the same last month, indicating the Ohio State alum would be highly unlikely to fetch the Bears a first-round pick in a 2024 trade.

Fields’ recent spurt aside, his overall body of work would make passing on a prospect like Williams difficult. Chicago’s dual-threat passer is 8-19 as a starter and has struggled in fourth quarters this season. Per ESPN, Fields ranks last out of qualified passers with a 51.8% fourth-stanza completion rate while sitting 30th in QBR in final periods. Since 2021, Fields’ 16 fourth-quarter INTs lead the league. Fields’ run-game brilliance and superior work earlier in games (No. 4 in TD-INT ratio through games’ first three quarters this season) works in his favor, but thus far, more expect the Bears to start over rather than stick here.

If Fields can win what was previously described as an uphill battle and keep his job for 2024 — something that would require the Bears to pick up his fifth-year option by May — Poles will likely view this as a hotter ticket compared to the 2023 top pick. It cost the Panthers D.J. Moore, their Nos. 9 and 61 picks last year, their 2024 first and a 2025 second to move up for Young. Williams’ prospect status topping those of Young or C.J. Stroud points to the Bears setting a higher price, with adding several execs view the USC talent as being worth two future first-rounders and either a Day 2 pick or a veteran on a reasonable contract.

It cost the 49ers two future first-rounders and a third to climb nine spots for Trey Lance. The Eagles gave up a first-rounder, two seconds and two thirds for Jared Goff in 2016. Washington’s price to climb from No. 6 to No. 2 for Robert Griffin III was two future firsts and a second in 2012. It will, then, be worth debating if the Bears are better off continuing to build around Fields and the haul they could receive for the presumptive Williams draft slot or starting over with the 2022 Heisman winner (on rookie-deal money through at least 2026) and whatever they receive in a trade for Fields. Chicago’s incumbent QB would be worth a second- or third-rounder in a pre-draft swap, per Fowler.

The Bears giving up on Fields after three years would match the timeline Mitch Trubisky received. A three-and-done Fields stay would also show how the league has changed since the 2011 CBA reshaped rookie contracts. Rex Grossman was in Chicago for six years, though he did not finish out his tenure as the team’s starter. Despite leading the Bears to just one playoff berth, Jay Cutler stayed as the Bears’ QB1 for eight seasons. With Cutler checking in perhaps just south of the franchise-QB bar, Chicago has been in search of its next such piece since at least Jim McMahon, whose injury troubles shortened his Windy City stay.

These factors complicate Poles’ decision, but he is expected to be the one making it. Fowler and Cronin add Poles has cultivated a good relationship with new president Kevin Warren. A Sunday report indicated Matt Eberflus was more likely than not to stay on, but La Canfora notes the prospect of Warren — who arrived in Chicago after both Eberflus and Poles — firing the two-year HC and starting with a more offensively oriented leader (in the event Williams is drafted) should not be dismissed.

This would represent a tough ending for Eberflus, who has the Bears at 7-5 over their past 12 games. With complications surrounding their front office, coaching staff and quarterback, the upcoming offseason promises to be a seminal stretch for the Bears. Should they give Fields a fourth season or turn to Williams? Is Eberflus capable of becoming a long-term HC answer?

NFL Coaching Rumors: Harbaugh, Eberflus, Rivera

The rumors have not slowed down linking University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL. Harbaugh has been continuously mentioned as a candidate for any open head coaching position in the last few years, and his latest move is only adding fuel to the fire. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Harbaugh has hired a new agent in Don Yee, a longtime agent with such notable clients as Tom Brady and Sean Payton.

Harbaugh is currently in a complicated position. As NFL teams have begun parting ways with coaches or making their intentions for the future clear, Harbaugh still has to deal with his current position. The top-ranked Wolverines are one of four college football teams in the country with something still to play for. Tomorrow afternoon, Michigan will face off against the 4-seed Crimson Tide for a chance to play in the National Championship the following Monday. In addition to being in contention to win it all at the college level, Harbaugh has also been in major discussions for an extension to remain at Michigan.

The possibility of an extension is one likely reason for Yee’s hiring. Entering complicated contract negotiations that have been rumored to include a clause restricting Harbaugh’s ability to leave for an NFL job is reason enough to bring in representation. That being said, Yee’s NFL ties are not easy to ignore. The obvious tie with Yee comes from his relationship with Brady. Brady has been rumored as a potential candidate for partial ownership in the Raiders, who recently parted ways with head coach Josh McDaniels. Interim head coach Antonio Pierce has been making a strong case to hold on to the permanent position with a 4-3 record since taking over, but we saw a similar interim situation not pan out for the incumbent coach in Carolina last year, so anything is still possible.

Here are a few other coaching rumors from around the NFL:

  • In a report last night, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport delivered an update on Bears head coach Matt Eberflus. Entering the 2023 season on a 10-game losing streak after having gone 3-14 in his first season as head coach, patience for Eberflus in Chicago seemed to be wearing thin. After the team finally ended the skid at 14 games, Eberflus has led the Bears to a 6-5 record since, keeping the team improbably in the playoff race. The Bears are playing winning football recently, with even their most recent two losses coming in one-score games against playoff teams from Detroit and Cleveland. At this point, Rapoport claims that he would be surprised to not see Eberflus back for the 2024 season. Additionally, Eberflus has been handling defensive coordinator duties since the untimely resignation of Alan Williams at the start of the season, a role he also may retain going into next year.
  • On the other hand, Rapoport wasn’t nearly as optimistic about the prospects for current Commanders head coach Ron Rivera. With new owner Josh Harris in the building, it was expected that Rivera would at least be granted the opportunity to make a case to retain his position. After a six-game losing streak that has eliminated Washington from playoff contention, Rivera’s audition is not going well. Spelling further possible doom for Rivera, after putting all of his eggs in the Sam Howell-basket, hoping to develop the young gunslinger into a franchise passer, Rivera has been forced to bench Howell in each of the team’s last two losses in favor of Jacoby Brissett. Nothing seems to have been decided quite yet, but things aren’t looking promising for Rivera and company in Washington.

Latest On Justin Fields, Bears’ HC/GM Plans

Upon returning from a dislocated thumb, Justin Fields faced a seven-game audition that would likely determine his post-2023 future in Chicago. Thus far, the 2021 first-round pick has impressed. The Bears have won two straight against division rivals, and Fields put together a solid game in the team’s upset win over the Lions in Week 14.

Before Fields began this final audition of sorts, reports pointed the Bears in different directions regarding their QB future. Multiple mid-November reports indicated the team was more likely to trade Fields and go with a top prospect in the 2024 draft. With the Panthers continuing to struggle and now two games behind the NFL’s second-worst record with four to play, the Bears are closer to having another opportunity to make their choice atop a draft. While Ryan Poles passed on that chance this year, trading the top pick to Carolina, it would represent a bigger risk move another No. 1 choice.

Although a subsequent report pegged the Bears as needing to be “blown away” by a QB prospect to move on from Fields,’s Charles Robinson spoke with a number of GMs who suggest the Bears’ decision should not be that difficult. Reasons ranging from Caleb Williams‘ prospect profile to cost certainty to the risk of trading No. 1 overall picks in back-to-back years to Poles not being in Chicago when Fields was drafted pointed to the anonymous GMs expecting the team to trade its current quarterback and prepare for the future.

This scenario would remind of the Jets’ 2021 call, which now doubles as a warning to other teams. While some in the Jets’ building advocated for keeping Sam Darnold and passing on drafting Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall two years ago, the Jets centered their future around Wilson by trading Darnold to the Panthers for a three-pick package.

The key difference here being that Williams is a former Heisman winner who has resided as a top-tier prospect for multiple seasons; Wilson, conversely, rocketed toward the top of the ’21 draft board because he impressed against lower-level competition. The COVID-19-altered 2020 season, featuring independent BYU needing to schedule lesser competition, created this scenario. No such variables exist with Williams, though he could not match his dominant 2022 Heisman campaign this year.

Should the Bears follow that Jets plan, the anonymous execs told Robinson that the team should not be expected to fetch a first-round pick in a Fields trade. None of the seven trade proposals featured a first-rounder, though a few included a second. This partially hinges on Fields finishing this season strong. That would undoubtedly increase the run-oriented QB’s trade value while also making Poles’ decision more difficult.

It is still not a lock the Bears have Poles and Matt Eberflus in place to make these decisions. President Kevin Warren, whom the Bears hired in January, represents a wild card. Even if the Panthers provide the Bears with the No. 1 pick, the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora notes Warren will be expected to seriously consider changes to the coaching staff and front office. We heard this in September, but the Bears have performed better as of late. They are now only one game out of another mediocre NFC pursuit for the No. 7 seed, and La Canfora offers the caveat of a surprise playoff surge taking 2024 HC-GM changes off the table.

Warren is primarily running the Bears’ efforts to secure a new stadium, but the former Big Ten commissioner is expected to weigh in on football matters — like how the team should proceed with the No. 1 pick. Formerly a Lions, Vikings and Rams staffer, Warren is set to evaluate Poles and Eberflus in the offseason. The subject of wanting his own HC will likely come up, according to’s Adam Caplan. How that potential motivation would affect Poles remains to be seen, but Eberflus probably joins Fields in needing to prove himself to close out this season.

This is not especially uncommon. New Commanders owner Josh Harris is expected to fire Ron Rivera, while the Broncos both changed HCs a year after hiring a new GM (going from Vic Fangio to Nathaniel Hackett) and then a year after having new ownership (Hackett to Sean Payton). The Panthers fired Rivera during David Tepper‘s second year in charge. The Bears do not have a new owner, but it is clear Warren will be a key decision-maker when it comes time to make a call on staffers. While the Bears are a long shot to extend this late-season recovery to the playoffs, the 2023 squad’s homestretch will be important through a long-term lens.

Bears To Evaluate HC Matt Eberflus During Offseason; Team Interested In Eric Bieniemy?

The Bears have had an up-and-down season in Year 2 under head coach Matt Eberflus. As a result, his name has been floated as a candidate to be replaced this offseason, but it remains to be seen if the team’s front office will authorize a change.

Both Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles will be evaluated after the 2023 season, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports (subscription required). New president Kevin Warren has signficant sway in the team’s direction, and Russini notes he has spent his time in Chicago “getting a feel for the organization.” Warren will have a major say with respect to changes on the sidelines and in the front office, but the Eberflus-Poles pairing still has time to make a positive impression.

The Bears currently sit at 4-8 on the season, one in which improvement from last season’s tear-down campaign was expected. Chicago began the year with five losses out of the first six games, but a 3-3 record since then has likely helped the cause for Eberflus, Poles and quarterback Justin Fields to remain in their current positions. The latter could easily be replaced this spring given the Bears’ strong chance of owning the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft, but he appears to still have the backing of the team at this point.

Nevertheless, it would not come as a shock if Eberflus were to be let go after the campaign. In that event, a number of candidates would no doubt be on the team’s radar. One of those is Eric Bieniemy, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports. The longtime Chiefs offensive coordinator took the OC position in Washington this offseason in a move which granted him play-calling duties and the added title of assistant head coach.

In the eyes of many, it also set Bieniemy up for his first NFL head coaching position in the event he were to remain with the Commanders in 2024 and beyond. Current head coach Ron Rivera is widely believed to be on the way out at the conclusion of this season, and Bieniemy’s work with respect to developing second-year passer Sam Howell has drawn praise. The Commanders rank 10th in the league in total offense despite a mediocre ground game, but the team’s defense has floundered in recent weeks in particular and resulted in a 4-9 record.

The Bears are in a similar position in the win-loss column, but improved play on defense – Eberflus’ familiarity dating back to his coordinator days – has been evident at times in recent games. Chicago ranks 11th in yards allowed per game this season (319) and first against the run (79). Eberflus has served as the defensive play-caller since the sudden resignation of DC Alan Williams in September. That move, along with the acquisition and extension of defensive end Montez Sweat, has not yielded a strong performance in the pass-rush department, however.

Eberflus and Poles were mentioned in a September report as being on the hot seat, but the former later expressed the support he had received from the organization. Plenty is still to be determined over the closing weeks of the season, but the Bears’ organizational direction will be a major storyline to watch upon the conclusion of the campaign. With the prospect of two top-10 picks in April’s draft, the team’s HC position could be an attractive one for Bieniemy if he were to find himself in consideration for the job, though he could also receive interest from other teams this offseason.

Bears Will Have To Be “Blown Away” By Top QB Prospect To Move On From Justin Fields; Latest On GM Ryan Poles, HC Matt Eberflus

Recent reports have suggested that the Bears, who seem like a sure bet to have two top-10 picks in the 2024 draft, will select a quarterback in the first round. However, Ian Rapoport of writes that Chicago will have to be “blown away” by a quarterback prospect to pull the trigger and move on from incumbent Justin Fields.

That is the same mindset that general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus had when embarking on their first offseason with the Bears in 2022. The duo inherited Fields from Chicago’s prior regime, but at the time, the Ohio State product had just finished his rookie campaign, and it made sense to give him some time to live up to his own lofty draft status (Fields was the No. 11 overall pick of the 2021 draft).

Since then, Fields has firmly cemented himself as a tremendous weapon when carrying the ball while proving to be more of a mixed bag as a passer. He has missed the Bears’ last four contests due to a dislocated thumb, and he will have the final seven games of the season to convince the organization to use its draft assets on non-quarterback talent. Eberflus believes that represents enough of an audition opportunity to determine Fields’ future with the franchise.

“I think seven weeks is enough time to show consistency and for him to be the high performer that we expect him to be,” Eberflus said (h/t Courtney Cronin of “I know he’s had some good performances this year, certainly the last few have been solid.”

Of course, even if Fields performs well down the stretch, he may not stick in Chicago. By virtue of their 2023 trade with the Panthers, who presently have a 1-8 record, the Bears could find themselves in position to draft a collegiate QB like USC’s Caleb Williams or UNC’s Drake Maye without even having to trade up the board. Those players are widely believed to be generational talents, and assuming that the club agrees with the prevailing industry assessment — in other words, if Poles and Eberflus are “blown away” by at least one of Williams and Maye — Fields’ upcoming audition could really be a showcase for other teams.

A September report, which surfaced when the Bears were mired in a 13-game losing streak, suggested that both Eberflus and Poles were on the hot seat, and if ownership moves on from them at the end of the year, it obviously does not matter what they think of Fields or the top quarterbacks in the 2024 class. Fortunately for the power brokers, the Bears have gone 3-3 over their last six games, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune makes it sounds as if Poles will return in 2024 and will be using the remainder of the season not only to evaluate Fields, but to evaluate Eberflus. Indeed, Biggs says Poles will need to determine if he wants a more offensive-minded coach — which could be especially relevant if he drafts Williams or Maye — and will want to see if the team remains competitive under Eberflus’ watch.

New team president Kevin Warren will obviously have considerable input as to the futures of both Eberflus and Poles.

Matt Eberflus Addresses Bears Future

In charge of one of the league’s two 0-4 teams, Matt Eberflus is aware his days with the Bears may be numbered. When speaking publicly about his standing in the organization, though, he confirmed his focus remains squarely on the immediate future.

“I’ve been doing this 32 years, so I understand the business,” Eberflus said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “But I understand that to do it right you got to focus on your job, and you got to focus on right here, right now… You can focus on your job and where your feet are right now. Our sole focus is on Washington.”

Tomorrow’s contest against the Commanders threatens to extend Chicago’s losing streak (which is already the longest in franchise history) to 15 games. A loss would drop Eberflus’ record with the Bears to 3-19, and no doubt lead to a fresh round of calls for changes to be made on the sidelines. A report emerged last week indicating the dismissal of Eberflus and/or general manager Ryan Poles would not come as a surprise to many around the league.

Having received his first head coaching gig in large part on the strength of his success as a defensive coordinator, Eberflus has seen the Bears allow at least 25 points in each game during the losing skid. For the most recent portion of that stretch, the 53-year-old has handled defensive play-calling duties following the sudden resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams. The lack of an experienced successor in the organization – OC Luke Getsy is in only his second season as a coordinator – could help Eberflus retain his position through the remainder of the season, Finley notes.

In the end, the views of the McCaskey family (which has never authorized a midseason coaching change) and new president Kevin Warren will determine Eberflus’ fate. Warren has the authority to pull the plug on the current coaching and management regime, though doing so in his first year on the job and with Poles in particular early in a rebuilding effort would come as something of a surprise. For now, at least, Eberflus is confident he does not need to worry about receiving his walking papers.

“I haven’t talked to anybody about any of those things,” he said when asked if he has had discussions with ownership about his job security potentially being in danger. “I feel the support and we’re just focused on Washington.”

Bears Eyeing Major Staff Changes?

While the Matt NagyRyan Pace regime showed early issues, the Bears did not produce a losing season until the fourth and final year of that partnership. Although circumstances are a bit different for Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles, the team is in a worse spot than it was during the previous duo’s run.

The Bears have now lost 13 straight games, and their defense has cratered under Eberflus, a defensive-oriented head coach. Alan Williams, the defensive coordinator who followed Eberflus from Indianapolis, lasted only 18 games with the team. Inappropriate conduct on Williams’ part is believed to have occurred, and the Bears’ defense has taken significant steps back since Eberflus arrived. While the Bears have gutted the nucleus that helped Mitch Trubisky pilot the team to two playoff berths, it finished last in points allowed in 2022 and ranks 31st this season.

Following Williams’ exit and Justin Fields making comments about the coaching staff’s role in his struggles — a point the third-year QB attempted to walk back — Poles addressed the state of the team. The Bears are early in the Poles-run rebuild, but a new president — ex-Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren — is in place. A growing suspicion exists in league circles Warren is already considering rebooting the operation, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes.

Fields ranks last in QBR, sitting nearly six points behind Zach Wilson, through three games. The Poles regime did not draft Fields, who threatened to break Lamar Jackson‘s single-season QB rushing record last season, but has a clear stake in his future. The Bears traded away the No. 1 overall pick, showing a belief in Fields over an investment in the likes of Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. Chicago should be well-positioned for the 2024 draft, holding their own pick and Carolina’s. Another QB investment may be necessary, but it will be worth wondering if this regime will be in place to make the picks by then.

One GM told La Canfora that Warren has seen enough to know change needs to take place. The Bears do not fire coaches in-season, and it would represent a quick trigger to dump Poles so early in his rebuild effort. But two-and-done coaches are standard practice in the NFL. Quick GM hooks are less common, though these moves have taken place in the recent past. The Jets dropped John Idzik after his second season, while the Texans canned Brian Gaine midway through his second offseason.

Warren arrived in January, succeeding longtime team president Ted Phillips. The latter was in his final months on the job when Poles and Eberflus were hired, and La Canfora notes Bill Polian played a lead role in the hires. The Bears have kept their organizational workflow in place from the Phillips era, with Warren stationed as the buffer between ownership and the football ops department. Warren would have the power to fire the second-year GM-HC duo and lead the next search. Not directly in charge of the Bears’ football ops, Warren is believed to have a role on that side.

The Bears have not had a two-and-done HC since Marc Trestman, who was fired after the 2014 season. Trestman also stands as the Bears’ only two-and-done period since the 1970 merger. Trestman went 13-19. Poles should be considered on safer ground, but Eberflus — now in place as the Bears’ defensive play-caller — should certainly be viewed as a hot-seat occupant given recent developments.