Colts' Matt Eberflus Agrees to Contract as Bears Head Coach to Replace Matt Nagy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 27, 2022

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 11: Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus watches during the Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens Monday Night Football NFL game at M&T Bank Stadium on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, MD. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Bears hired Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their next head coach Thursday.

Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news. 

Eberflus will replace Matt Nagy, who went 34-31 in four seasons in Chicago and made the playoffs twice, though he didn't have a winning record since the team went 12-4 in his first year in 2018. This season, the Bears limped to a disappointing 6-11 mark. 

Since the Bears moved on from Lovie Smith following the 2012 season, they have cycled through three coaches: Marc Trestman (2013-14), John Fox (2015-17) and Nagy. Only Nagy led the team to the playoffs.

Eberflus' job is to return the Bears to contention and to maximize young quarterback Justin Fields, who had an up-and-down rookie season. He finished with 1,870 passing yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions, completing 58.9 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 420 yards and two scores. 

Building an offense that gets the most out of Fields' skill set is priority No. 1, while new general manager Ryan Poles will be tasked with putting more playmakers around him and running back David Montgomery.

Second-year wideout Darnell Mooney (81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns) and tight end Cole Kmet (60 catches for 612 yards) showed promise in 2021, while Allen Robinson II (38 catches for 410 yards and a score in 12 games) was a huge disappointment. 

The 51-year-old Eberflus will try to maximize their output. He brings a lengthy resume to Chicago, from his time at Toledo (1992-00) holding various roles and his eight years at Missouri (2001-08) as a defensive coordinator, to his 13 years in the NFL as a linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns (2009-10) and Dallas Cowboys (2011-17). 

For the past four years, he served as the defensive coordinator for the Colts, where his defenses finished top-10 in points allowed three times and top-10 in yards allowed once.

He'll inherit a defense that finished 22nd in points allowed (23.9 PPG) this season, though the bigger question will be whether he and his staff can develop Fields into a top quarterback.