Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Coaching Moves: Bears hire their new defensive coordinator Eric Washington

by - Senior Editor -

Nice hire by the Monsters of the Midway!

The Chicago Bears have hired Eric Washington as their new defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports, including NFL Networks' Tom Pelissero.

BearsHQ's analysis of Washington on Friday:

For those unfamiliar with Washington and his work, he is currently on the Buffalo Bills staff, serving as the Defensive Line coach and Assistant Head Coach. Then you consider that Washington spent the 2008-10 seasons working under Lovie Smith in Chicago, which has the potential to be an excellent hire for Eberflus if everything falls into place.

During his time in Chicago, Washington bounced around a bit before becoming the team's defensive line coach in his final season. That was the season they went to the NFC Championship before falling to the Packers, and their Defensive Line played a massive role in that. Since his time with the Bears, Washington has left a blazing trail across the league and has had success at every stop along the way.

During his nine-year stint with the Panthers from 2011-2019, Washington helped the Panthers defense reach top 10 status five times, but they never fell below 15. After his tenure with the Panthers, Washington took his talents to Buffalo, where he linked up with Leslie Frazier and Sean McDermott, both tremendous defensive minds.

Although not the play-caller on defense, the impact that Washington has made, especially up front, hasn't gone unnoticed, as the Bills have had a top-10 defense in all three seasons he has been there. Buffalo's defense produced 54 sacks this season and continues to be one of the best at getting to the QB. Washington deserves a lot of credit in that, as he has put his players in great spots to succeed.

Washington's most significant attribute going for him is what he does behind the scenes, as he is excellent at working with young players. When you look at this Bears defense and the number of young players they have on their roster, having someone with the experience to get the most out of young guys can go a long way to leading to long-term success.

You can go back to his time with the Bears and look at the overall production from the defensive line, as Washington routinely has players record double-digit sacks. No one on the Bears apart from Montez Sweat did that, but a chunk of his sacks came with Washington. Put him with Washington for an entire season, and Sweat could lead the league in sacks.

Among the players Washington has worked with who have gotten double-digit sacks are Greg Hardy, Mario Addison, Kawann Short, Julius Peppers, and Leonard Floyd. The latter spent several seasons in Chicago, so Bears fans know all too well how good those guys can be. You then add Ed Oliver and Gregory Rousseau to that list now, and there is no denying that Washington is not only a master of his craft but has done a great job building some of the best lines in the league.

When you look at the Eberflus scheme and what needs to happen for it to succeed, having a strong defensive line that can generate pressure is crucial. The front four must be the ones that can apply pressure to pressure off the back seven. Blitzing on every play doesn't always work, so you need a coach like Washington, who knows how to get the most out of his players no matter the situation.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Tony Crumpton: Email | Comment
Post your comments!