The new era of Chicago Bears football isn’t just aiming to rely on the arm and legs of Justin Fields at quarterback, but the franchise made the decision to pivot back to a defensive identity the moment they hired Matt Eberflus as head coach.
Now, the man behind the “H.I.T.S” principle is aiming to use Season 2 to lift the Bears further after their 3-14 campaign in 2022.
Matt Eberflus’ Background and Personal Mantra
Eberflus, 53, was hired away from the Indianapolis Colts in January 2022 after running their defense from 2018 to 2021.
Before his arrival to the Windy City, Eberflus didn’t take long to install his blueprint on the Colts defense through one mantra: H.I.T.S.
The meaning behind the acronym? Hustle, intensity, the ball, smart. But his Colts defenses placed a big emphasis on the first letter of his principle.
“If you’re not hustling, if you’re not out there trying to get to the ball on every play, then you will not play. It’s simple,” former Colts linebacker Anthony Walker once said in a 2019 interview with Stephen Holder of The Athletic.
Holder added the other elements Eberflus instilled in Indy.
“This man is not running a defense. He’s instilling a culture. It is an obsessive, uncompromising, and ultra-demanding culture of hustle, discipline, and teamwork,” Holder wrote.
During his time in Indy, Eberflus guided a defense to three top-10 rankings during his four seasons as defensive coordinator. And that includes the No. 9 ranking in his final season with the team.
Eberflus’ Area of Expertise Benefitted 2 Unknown LBs Who Blossomed Under Him
As a college linebacker, Eberflus knows a thing or two about hustling. And his area of expertise went on to lead to skyrocketing results for two relatively unknown LBs, including one who faced a cut.
Before Eberflus took over the Colts defense, the previous regime had advocated that the 2017 fifth-rounder Walker be released from the team. However, Eberflus saw something in him to allow him to work with his defense. The result was back-to-back 100-tackle seasons for Walker and a combined 16 tackles for a loss in the first two seasons under Eberflus.
Walker wasn’t the only LB who flourished under Eberflus. A past HBCU standout named Shaq Leonard immediately established himself as a defensive cornerstone for Indy, wracking up 163 total tackles to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and his first All-Pro nod.
And in every season Eberflus was his DC, Leonard surpassed 120 total tackles and tallied 30 stops behind the line.
Before the Colts, other notable linebackers Eberflus coached included Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware and Pro Bowler Anthony Spencer when all three were with the Dallas Cowboys.
Eberflus Average Day With the Bears
Now with a team of his own, Eberflus starts his day off early, according to the Bears’ website — 6:15 a.m., to be exact.
His day begins with a shot of espresso and a scripture he listens to. Then, after a second cup of coffee, the staff meetings begin.
It’s all part of a 13-14 hour work day of building the new Bears’ culture.
Now, Eberflus has Pro Bowler Tremaine Edmunds helping ignite Chicago’s defense. The Bears also recently added LB Mykal Walker via waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.
Now, those early mornings and the “H.I.T.S” motivation will aim to grow into fruition for the Bears under Eberflus.