Bears News: Matt Eberflus looking to hire defensive help
Jay Biggerstaff - USA Today Sports

Bears News: Matt Eberflus looking to hire defensive help


by - Senior Writer -

Thursday night's win couldn't have come at a better time for the Chicago Bears, as they desperately needed it. Not only were they stuck in the middle of a 14-game losing streak dating back to October of last year, but the team was going through some turmoil the first few weeks, which didn't make things any easier.

Along with all of the questions surrounding the offense and whether or not they were putting Justin Fields in the best position to succeed, you had Alan Williams step away from the team before he was not retained due to personal issues. That left the Bears without a defensive coordinator, thus leaving the defensive play-calling duties to Head Coach Matt Eberflus.

Calling defensive plays is nothing new for Eberflus, as he was a defensive coordinator before arriving in Chicago, but to call them and be the head coach simultaneously is more challenging. In the three games since, you have seen the defense continue to struggle, although they played much better against Washington and came away with five sacks and two turnovers. If that continues, Chicago will turn their season around, which bodes well for the morale of this team.

Even after the defense showed promise last week and appears to be adjusting nicely to what Eberflus wants, the second-year head coach may be looking for someone to help lighten the load as he has officially begun his search for defensive coaching help. No, he isn't looking for a new coordinator at this point in the season, but instead a senior Defensive Assistant who will not only share their ideas, but could help lighten some of the duties Eberflus is taking on.

Senior offensive and Defensive assistants are very common in the NFL, yet not every team has them. For those unfamiliar with that position, it is basically an experienced coach on one side of the ball who helps with defensive schemes and game plans behind the scenes. In other words, they help Eberflus create the game plan, and Eberflus calls the plays he wants off of that game plan.

Hearing this pop-up shouldn't be surprising, as Eberflus has hinted at changing the defensive coaching staff for weeks. While this may not be a significant change, having another mindset that can help with the overall defensive perspective is a good thing, and it could help this team perform better. We have yet to hear a ton mentioned regarding the available names, but the front-runner appears to be long-time defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

If that name sounds familiar, Marinelli was Detroit Lions head coach several years back while also spending time on the Bears as a defensive coordinator under John Fox. Reminiscing in the past isn't the greatest option, but Eberflus and Marinelli are great friends who talk all the time and respect each other a ton.

Given the experience Marinelli has on the defensive side of the ball as a coach and coordinator, this would be a tremendous hire for Chicago, especially with such a young defense. The biggest concern with this is that Marinelli is now 74, has been out of the game for a while, and appears very happy to be retired. Even at that, this is worth kicking the tires for Eberflus, even if it lasts for just the remainder of this season.

The scheme Eberflus runs, which is rooted in the Tampa-2, doesn’t seem to have a ton of variation. That is all the proof you need that this defense could use a shake-up or, should we say, a potential schematical change. Again, this is all smoke and only a possibility at this point, but for Eberflus to even be considering this proves that he knows there is talent on defense, but that talent may not work in his scheme.

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