The Chicago Bears weren’t necessarily built to compete for the NFC North title in 2023, but were they supposed to be this bad? The vibes around Matt Eberflus’ team have shifted rapidly, with morbid curiosity quickly ascending the list of reasons to watch the now 0-3 Bears on Sundays. We explain Eberflus’ struggles in our look at NFL coaches on the hot seat following the Week 3 action.
Is Matt Eberflus Among NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat?
While this never seemed possible, Eberflus’ run as the Bears’ head coach might have Chicago fans pining for Matt Nagy.
Nagy wasn’t a great head coach, but he led the Bears to a playoff appearance in his first season before posting 22 wins over the subsequent three campaigns.
Eberflus took over a Chicago roster that had won six games the year before and had a first-round quarterback entering his second season — he’s gone 3-17 and has now lost 13 straight games dating back to 2022.
Justin Fields hasn’t progressed like the Bears might have hoped, but the team’s coaching staff isn’t doing him any favors. Viewed as a mobile threat who tossed a beautiful deep ball when he came out of Ohio State in 2021, Fields hasn’t had the opportunity to capitalize on his strengths at the NFL level.
The source added Ryan Poles wanted to evaluate Fields with better talent around him.
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The Bears have called just five designed runs for Fields through the season’s first three games. And instead of letting him take downfield shots, Chicago’s condensed offense has resulted in Fields posting a 5.3-yard average depth of target, the second-lowest in the league.
Fields said the quiet part out loud last week, correctly placing at least some blame for his performance on the Bears coaching staff before eventually retracting his criticism.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s unit is putrid. The Bears offense ranks 26th in scoring, 28th in yards per play, and 31st in efficiency. But Chicago’s defense — which is supposed to be Eberflus’ bread and butter — is even worse.
Eberflus is now coordinating the defense after ex-DC Alan Williams resigned following reports of unspecified “inappropriate activity.” Chicago got destroyed by the Kansas City Chiefs in Eberflus’ play-calling debut on Sunday, and their defense ranks 31st by expected points added per play.
“I would just say that everybody’s got to take a hard look at what they’re doing, in terms of the schemes we’re running, what we’re doing,” Eberflus said after the Bears’ Week 3 loss.
“We’re in charge of putting our players in a position to execute, and that’s what the coach does, developing the players at the same time. We’ve just got to do a better job. It’s also on the players because it is a partnership. Both of us together, the execution and the product on the field is always player and coach.”
The Bears have the NFL’s worst point differential at -59 — even the Denver Broncos, who lost 70-20 on Sunday, have a better mark.
Chicago projects to have more than $111 million in cap space available in 2024. Given that they also own the struggling Carolina Panthers’ first-round pick in next year’s draft, the Bears could end up owning two top-five selections next offseason.
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There’s a chance Chicago’s ownership group will decide to blow things up after the 2023 campaign by firing Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles and completely starting over. And if the Bears continue to look as bad as they did in Week 3, Eberflus might not even last until Halloween.
More NFL Hot Seat Updates
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders (1-2)
McDaniels appears to be just as out of his depth during his second stint as an NFL head coach as he was during his run with the Broncos from 2009-10. We recapped his mind-boggling Week 3 field goal decisions against the Pittsburgh Steelers last night.
Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings (0-3)
While the Vikings won’t fire O’Connell after he took the club to the postseason in his debut, Minnesota has to be disappointed with its 0-3 start. But O’Connell will likely guide the Vikings through their upcoming reset/rebuild.
Frank Reich, Carolina Panthers (0-3)
The Panthers will give Reich more than three games before making an assessment, but Carolina has looked unprepared, and Bryce Young — who sat out Week 3 with an ankle injury — has been overwhelmed.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders (2-1)
Rivera’s Commanders began the season with two straight wins, but those victories came against the Arizona Cardinals and Broncos (and Washington had to mount furious comebacks in both contests). Josh Harris will probably require Rivera to make the postseason to keep his job.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)
Staley’s Chargers came this close to falling to 0-3 but managed to pull out a win over the Vikings on Sunday. Los Angeles likely needs a playoff win to avert a Staley dismissal.