Well Bears Fans it’s official you got your man at head coach. Matt Eburflus was officially hired by the Chicago Bears as the 18th Head Coach in team history. It’s somewhat ironic that 30 years ago exactly, a Eburflus got his start as a 21 year old student assistant with Toledo. Despite being a relatively young head coach at 51 years old, Eburflus has the experience, and background to turn into a very successful head coach at the NFL level. However all eyes now turn to who he will look to as offensive coordinator to develop Justin Fields into the face of the franchise like everyone in Chicago thinks he can be.
But let’s set the stage for why Eburflus deserves this chance as a head coach, and why I feel so strongly that he will be successful. As mentioned above Eburflus has been coaching since 1992 as a student assistant with the Toledo football team, he quickly made coaching his career by moving on to a graduate assistant in 1993, before a major promotion in 1994 when he was named OLB coach/Recruiting Coordinator. He would hold the recruiting duties for just two seasons before deciding to focus on coaching, a decision you might say has panned out well. He would stay in Toledo until 2000, a total of 9 seasons and spend the last two coaching defensive backs. He only left in 2001 to join Missouri as their defensive coordinator.
If there is one fact I learned about Eburflus over my research of his career, it’s that he likes to stay with teams for long periods of time, and tries to choose stable opportunities to help this. He would demonstrate this again by sticking with Missouri until 2008. After 8 seasons in Missouri again it was only his aspirations to coach at the professional level that he decided to take a job with the Cleveland Browns under defensive minded head coach Eric Mangini, best known for his time coaching under Bill Belichick in New England. Eburflus again stuck in Cleveland until Mangini was shown the door, and then decided he needed a more stable place to advance at his next stop. This time he landed with Dallas, who had head coach Jason Garrett, and Rob Ryan in place at the time.
Ryan lasted just 2 seasons in Dallas before being let go. In 2012 Monte Kiffin best known for his time in Tampa Bay replaced Ryan. Kiffin lasted just 1 season before moving on, and he was then replaced by Rod Marinelli. At this point Dallas was simply plucking the most established defensive name everytime they replaced their coordinators. Which in turn meant Eburflus was quickly growing a who’s who of defensive coordinators or head coaches he has worked under. Marinelli would stick in Dallas until 2019. In 2016, Marinell’s 3rd season with he promoted Eburflus to passing game coordinator while still coaching linebackers. It turns out this was the move he needed to put his name on the map for a defensive coordinator position. He would last just 2 seasons in this role before he was hired by Indianapolis to run their defense. This is when Eburflus really started to gain notoriety.
Eburflus was handed a defense essentially built from unheralded players, and spare parts from other defenses. When he arrived the defense had finished 30th in points allowed in 2017. In just one season, he went from the 30th to 11th. Quite the turn around in just one season. He helped lead rookie Darius Leonard to a first team All Pro season but the voters ignored him for the pro-bowl however they took notice the next 3 seasons naming him to the pro-bowl 3 times in his four seasons under Eburflus,he also collected two more first team all pro nominations in just 4 seasons, he helped Pierre Desir turn into a quality starter for two seasons, and helped Denico Autry develop into a game wrecker on the interior Defensive line. Eburflus and his defense managed to keep the Colts in the playoff hunt for the majority of all 4 seasons there. 2019 ending at 7-9 was the lone exception. It seemed Eburflus knew he needed to get to a team that already has a franchise QB ready to groom on the roster which helped lead him to Chicago. I’m sure coaching a defense that features Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Roquan Smith didn’t hurt his choice either.
Who will Eburflus, and Poles trust to develop Justin Fields the true X factor to the success of both men long term in Chicago. However if reports are accurate, I believe his head is in the right place in terms of assistant coaches. So far his first target is reported to be Rich Bisaccia the man who served as the interim head coach in Las Vegas leading them to a 7-5 record. Bisaccia has been a long time assistant head coach, and now has first experience running a team. That experience will prove to be priceless for Eburflus. I expect him to target an experienced offensive coordinator when the time comes, and I assume he is already looking into Kevin Patullo a man who just helped design the passing game for the Eagles, and previously coached in Indy with Eburflus, as well as Mike Groh former Philly OC, and current WR coach in Indy. However if it’s me, I target Joe Brady. Brady quickly became the scape goat in Carolina but he was expected to deal with devastating injuries across his depth chart for 2 seasons, including his most dynamic player being injured for most of his time as a coach. He made the most of Mike Davis, and Chubba Hubbard during Run CMC’s absence, but it was his work with Dj Moore prior to the injury to Sam Darnold that makes me wonder what he could do with Darnell Mooney, Tarik Cohen, and Justin Fields.