The Chicago Bears have struggled in 2023, and heading into Week 14, they sit at 4-8. Their head coach, Matt Eberflus, is considered to be on the hot seat and could be out at any point.
If he is fired, Chicago could be interested in Eric Bieniemy and Jim Harbaugh as replacement coaches.
Chicago Bears Coaching Rumors: Eric Bieniemy and Jim Harbaugh
Eberflus was hired as the Bears’ head coach in 2022. He spent four seasons, 2018-2021, as the defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts. Since becoming a head coach, he has earned a 7-22 record.
Despite the Bears playing better in recent weeks and winning two of their last three games, it still seems unlikely that Eberflus will be retained as the Bears’ head coach in 2024.
The Bears are currently on pace to hold the first-overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, thanks to a trade with the Carolina Panthers in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Bears also still hold their own pick, which is expected to be inside the top 10.
Bieniemy, formerly the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, is in his first season as the offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders. He has been a top coaching candidate for multiple years but has yet to land a job largely in part due to the fact he did not call the plays in Kansas City, where he spent five seasons.
I’m told the Chicago #Bears are expected to have interest in #Commanders assistant head coach/ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, among others, with general knowledge that current HC Matt Eberflus is under evaluation with the team at 4-8, per source. pic.twitter.com/eZCMvjDbF6
— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 5, 2023
Now, serving as the lead play-caller in Washington, Bieniemy is once again a top candidate. The Commanders have averaged 20.1 points per game in 13 games, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. According to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, the Bears are expected to have interest in Bieniemy.
During his time in Kansas City, Bieniemy was a part of a top-six-ranked offense in yards and points per game each season he was there. He was also key in the development of Patrick Mahomes.
Bieniemy has Sam Howell, the Commanders’ quarterback, second in the NFL in passing yards with 3,466. However, he has thrown for 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. This is just Howell’s first season as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Harbaugh, the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, is the other coach the Bears have reportedly shown interest in. According to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, the team has demonstrated an interest in Harbaugh. The decision is dependent on what they decide to do with the current coaching staff.
Harbaugh, who has been with Michigan since 2015, was once a player for the Bears. He played quarterback for Chicago from 1987-1993. The Bears selected him in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He passed for 11,567 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 56 interceptions as the Bears’ quarterback.
Harbaugh began his coaching career in 2002 when he joined the Oakland Raiders as a quarterbacks coach. He got his first head coaching job with the University of San Diego in 2004. His first, and only, NFL coaching job came with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. He was the head coach during the 49ers’ Super Bowl appearance in 2012.
In his NFL coaching career, he posted a 44-19-1 record and never had a losing season. His quarterbacks were Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. If he were to join the Bears, he would likely coach either Justin Fields, Caleb Williams, or Drake Maye. His college head coaching record is 142-52
Harbaugh and the Wolverines were recently named the top seed in the 2023 College Football Playoffs. Harbaugh has yet to win a College Football Playoff game. They will face the Alabama Crimson Tide for a chance to go to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Harbaugh started the 2023 season on a self-imposed three-game suspension in response to violating recruiting regulations. Additionally, Michigan and Harbaugh faced an investigation into a sign-stealing scandal. Harbaugh was suspended another three games by the Big Ten Conference.
It is unknown if the NCAA will impose further punishment following the season. If there is, it could push Harbaugh to the NFL. He was believed to have had an interest in an NFL job following the 2022 season but decided to stay with Michigan.
Now, with jobs on the line every week, the Bears will face the Detroit Lions in Week 14. The Lions are 9-3 on the season and defeated the Bears in Week 11, 31-26. The Bears’ remaining schedule after Detroit includes the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Green Bay Packers.
Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!