Bears' Matt Eberflus plans to call defensive plays rest of season

ByCourtney Cronin ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday that he will continue to call defensive plays for the remainder of the season, one week after the sudden resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams.

"That's the plan," Eberflus said. "And we've talked about different things, but that's the plan right there right now."

Eberflus has been calling the Bears' defense since a Week 2 loss atTampa Bay, when Williams was away from the team for "personal" reasons. Chicago announced Williams' resignation on Sept. 20. The former defensive coordinator said in a statement it was because of health and family reasons. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Williams' resignation was also linked to inappropriate workplace activity.

"Where we sit right now, this is the best thing for us," Eberflus said Wednesday, reiterating his comments from last week in the wake of Williams' departure. "The reason is because I'm the defensive coordinator where I came from and it's a natural fit for us to do that right now."

Eberflus spent four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts as defensive coordinator from 2018-21.

The Bears' defense has missed a league-high 26 tackles and has one sack through three games, also a league worst. Chicago ranks 32nd in third-down conversion rate, having allowed opponents to convert on 60% of attempts.

"It's been -- I would say -- a lot different because it's his defense, so he's comfortable calling it," Bears safety Jaquan Brisker said Wednesday. "I don't want to say it's better -- but just because it's his defense, he knows the ins and outs and everything, so he's comfortable with what he wants and things like that. So he has a green light."

Chicago dedicated ample resources to rebuilding its front seven during the offseason, with the additions of linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards and defensive linemen Yannick Ngakoue, DeMarcus WalkerandAndrew Billings in free agency. The Bears also spent two Day 2 draft picks on defensive tacklesGervon Dexterand Zacch Pickens.

Eberflus noted the need for improvement with the Bears' pass rush after generating a league-low nine quarterback hits and 1.0% sack percentage through three games.

"It's something we got to do better," he said. "We're going to continue sending four guys and playing some coverage. We obviously got to send five some time, send six. But again, we just got to do a good job. ... We've missed some sacks in the pocket. We have to do a better job with that, making sure we do a good job of getting the guys down when we do have pressure. But again, that number has got to improve for sure."