Eberflus has been coaching in the NFL since 2009, where he served as linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns (2009-10) and Dallas Cowboys (2011-17) before becoming the Colts defensive coordinator in 2018. Eberflus interviewed for head coaching jobs with the New York Jets and Houston Texans last year.
Eberflus was in demand this offseason as a finalist for both the Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach openings.
Now that the Bears have found their new head coach, here are eight things to know about Eberflus:
Eberflus was Ryan Poles’ choice
There were a lot of questions about the Bears’ three head coach finalists being in place before Ryan Poles was hired as general manager. But there’s a lot that we didn’t see behind-the-scenes, where there was a belief that Poles had Eberflus, Dan Quinn and Jim Caldwell on his list.
Ultimately, this was Poles’ decision, as he was given autonomy in choosing his head coach, something his predecessor Ryan Pace wasn’t afforded his first go-around.
According to Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog, Bill Polian and George McCaskey were leaning toward Caldwell while Ted Phillips and others wanted Quinn. Ultimately, Poles went with Eberflus, which was his choice.
It’s interesting to note that Eberflus and Poles also have the same agent.
There were two distinct Coach camps in the lead up to Ryan Poles’ hiring. Polian/George wanted Caldwell. Ted & rest wanted Quinn.
Poles went his own way.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) January 27, 2022
Eberflus runs a 4-3 base defense
AP Photo/Zach Bolinger
With the hiring of Eberflus, there are going to be some changes coming to the Bears defense. Eberflus runs a 4-3 base defense, which is where Chicago is likely headed with his arrival. Naturally, it has some fans worried. But when you look at some guys on the roster — including Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith — it should be a seamless transition given their past experience.
Mack, Quinn and Trevis Gipson all have experience with their hand in the dirt at defensive end, which means it shouldn’t be a difficult transition at all. Smith figures to serve either as the WILL linebacker, but there are questions who lines up beside him at MIKE and SAM.
Overall, while it’ll be a change from 3-4 to 4-3 base, it should ultimately be seamless.
If Matt Eberflus and his defensive coordinator decide to change the #Bears back to a 4-3 base defense, it should be a relatively seamless transition from the front 7. Mack and Quinn played plenty at defensive end, Gipson was a DL in college. Roquan could stay at Mike or play Will
— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) January 27, 2022
Rod Marinelli could be an option for Eberflus’ defensive staff
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
There’s an obvious connection with Eberflus and Rod Marinelli, as the two worked together in Dallas for five years, which could lead to Marinelli joining his coaching staff.
Marinelli is currently the defensive line coach in Las Vegas, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Marinelli perhaps return to the Bears, this time under Eberflus. Marinelli was Chicago’s defensive coordinator and assistant head coach from 2010-12.
Like Lovie Smith’s defenses, Eberflus places a huge emphasis on gang tackling/attacking the ball. He uses the term “loafs” (as Lovie did), which Eberflus got from Rod Marinelli in DAL. In fact, depending on what happens in Vegas, Marinelli could be an option for Eberflus’ staff.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) January 27, 2022
In fact, even former Bears players are calling for Marinelli to be Chicago’s next defensive coordinator.
Eberflus has been praised for his leadership and attention to detail
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
One of the biggest things the Bears were looking for in their next head coach wasn’t whether he was an offensive or defensive coach. Rather, they were looking for a leader of men. And Eberflus certainly fits the bill.
Eberflus has been praised for his leadership, organization, his connection with his players and coaches and his attention to detail. He’s also someone who’s going to preach toughness and intensity to his team.
Hearing that Matt Eberflus is a “good teacher,” “organized,” “a good communicator” with “attention to detail.” “Great hire.”
— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) January 27, 2022
Matt Eberflus has always preached intensity, toughness. Is considered a great leader of men. Bears have been a soft af team for years. This hire, combined with Ryan Poles (a former OL at GM), should make this a much more physical team
— Jeremy Layton (@JeremyLayt0n) January 27, 2022
Eberflus was brought to Colts by Josh McDaniels
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Back in 2018, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was poised to be the Colts new head coach. Eberflus was part of the coaching staff the Colts assembled around McDaniels.
Shortly after, McDaniels decided to back away from the job, which resulted in Frank Reich joining Indianapolis as head coach. Eberflus decided to remain on staff as the Colts defensive coordinator, and the rest is history.
An interesting path for Matt Eberflus in becoming head coach. #Colts hired him to be on staff with presumed HC Josh McDaniels. When McDaniels reneged, Eberflus still left family in Dallas for weeks dedicated his time to Indy. Now he’s a HC before McDaniels gets next chance.
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 27, 2022
Eberflus worked magic with Colts defense
USA Today Sports
When Eberflus was hired as the defensive coordinator in Indianapolis, the Colts defense was among the worst in the NFL. They ranked 29th overall and were 30th in points per game in 2017. But it didn’t take long for Eberflus to find success with Indianapolis.
The Colts went from one of the worst to one of the best defenses in the league in just one year. They were the 11th overall defense and eighth in points per game. In the three years that followed, it’s been consistent for Eberflus’ defenses.
Now, coming to Chicago, Eberflus has a chance to take a talented Bears defense with some holes on the roster and lead them back to the top of the NFL.
The #Colts defense was 30th in PPG allowed in 2017 prior to Matt Eberflus arriving. Here’s where they ranked in 4 seasons with him at DC:
2018 – 21.2 (8th)
2019 – 23.3 (18th)
2020 – 22.9 (11th)
2021 – 21.5 (10th)#Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 27, 2022
Eberflus was a finalist for 2 head coach jobs
USA Today Sports
Much like with Poles at GM, the Bears weren’t alone in their interest in Eberflus as head coach. Eberflus was a finalist for both the Chicago and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach openings this offseason.
But the interest in Eberflus extends beyond this year. He interviewed with the Houston Texans and New York Jets last year. But Eberflus wasn’t a new name in this coaching cycle, and he’s finally getting his shot with the Bears.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 27, 2022
Eberflus has seal of approval from Frank Reich as head coach
AP Photo/Zach Bolinger
Eberflus finally gets his opportunity to serve as a head coach with the Bears, which won’t come as a surprise to some. That includes Colts head coach Frank Reich, who endorsed Eberflus’ head coach candidacy.
“I would fully endorse and support anyone who ever called and asked me about Flus as a man, as a leader and as a coach,” Reich said. “He is a worthy candidate. Obviously I don’t want to lose him. But I’m happy for him and support him.”