Fans are growing tired of Matt Eberflus amid what is looking to be another losing season for the Chicago Bears. From gut-wrenching losses to ugly wins, the Bears' on-field performance has left much to desired in 2023.
What was supposed to mark the beginning of the end of the Bears rebuild has instead served as a reminder of how far the team still has to go. There’s no one person to blame for the state of the organization, but many have pinned Eberflus as the scapegoat.
Motives for moving on from Eberflus are straightforward. He is 7-22 as head coach of the Bears, his emphasis on tenacity and discipline hasn’t led to fewer mistakes, and a high draft pick in this upcoming draft would make the Bears one of the most enticing locations for a top coach.
The arguments for keeping Eberflus, on the other hand, are less compelling. The first is that this is only his second season at the helm. It isn’t as if he’s had some loaded team destined for a playoff push, the Bears have been a well-below-average roster from a personnel standpoint in both years of the Eberflus regime.
However, patience is a privilege, not a right. For a coach to get a third season, he has to give the organization a reason to believe he deserves it. That is why the Bears' defensive improvement could be what saves Eberflus’ job.
It’s no secret the Bears' defense was among the worst in 2022 and got off to a slow start this year. Following the resignation of defensive coordinator Allan Williams, Eberflus took the reins of the defense, and the group has shown steady improvement. Since Week 5, the Bears opponents are averaging just 19.8 points per game. This figure is even more impressive when accounting for the number of turnovers that resulted in short fields for opposing offenses during Tyson Bagent’s stint at quarterback.
Additionally, Montez Sweat has bolstered the team’s pass rush. The Bears have seven sacks over the last three weeks. For reference, they only recorded one in the first three games of the season. By no means does this improvement suggest Eberflus has cured the Bears of all their ills, but it does indicate progress.
As the 2023 season nears the end, the noise surrounding Eberflus’ future in Chicago is only getting louder. What exactly he needs to do to secure another year with the team is still being determined. From wins and losses to the development of Justin Fields, there are so many angles to take when evaluating the efficacy of the Bears coaching staff.
Regardless of what changes are or aren’t made this offseason, the group’s recent growth is a major positive for a franchise that prides itself on defense.