Bears News: Matt Eberflus on facing Kyler Murray: “You have to have a plan for him”
Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports

Bears News: Matt Eberflus on facing Kyler Murray: “You have to have a plan for him”

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Going against one of the weakest passing offenses in the NFL, this is another game where Chicago’s defense will be essential for any chance at a victory. Facing the Arizona Cardinals this coming Sunday (3:25 p.m./FOX), led by dynamic quarterback Kyler Murray who recently returned from injured reserve (IR), the game has massive implications on the draft picture.

First for the Bears will be containing Murray.

“The set of challenges there is with him is that we’ve played him in the past. A lot of our guys have played against him. We’ll be able to keep him in the well, in the shoe there, so to speak. That’s difficult to do,” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “He’s very athletic. He’s very quick, and you have to have a plan for him for sure, and you have various ways of doing that … You rush four, you have a guy looking for him. You might have two guys looking for him. You might game up your rush trying to move him a certain way, having somebody waiting for him.”

Part of the reason the Bears are not in the playoff picture is because of their offense. While the defense has made massive improvements since the trade for edge rusher Montez Sweat, the offense has continued to be inconsistent and rather stagnant during key times, particularly in the fourth quarter.

Eberflus maintains the Bears have been making improvements on both sides of the ball, but also emphasized the importance of focusing on the present instead of the offseason.

“We’ve made some improvements during the course of the year on all sides of the ball,” Eberflus said. “It’s critical that we focus on being the best we can be this week against this opponent right here, right now.”

For fans, focusing on the future is always a good thing, and in Chicago, there are a number of things to look forward to in the future of the franchise, primarily on defense. This defense has shown the level of play they are capable of. In four games in a row, they have generated at least three turnovers, part of why Chicago is second in the NFL in interceptions generated. One player who has contributed to the 18 interception total is rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, who has had two interceptions in the past three weeks.

Stevenson is representative of how Chicago has done defensively in the draft outside of the first round. Coming out of Miami, Stevenson was a player that still needed to develop. Typical with any rookie, he has had some struggles, including allowing 12 completions against the Los Angeles Chargers back in week eight. But, according to Eberflus, the game has really started to “slow down” for him, as displayed through his interceptions.

In general, numerous of the young stars have been key to the success of the team this season. Offensively, right tackle Darnell Wright has been important in maintaining some level of consistency among the offensive line.

Defensively, in addition to Stevenson, fellow rookie Terell Smith has made an impact throughout the season, playing almost half of the defensive snaps so far.

“We love playing young players because we believe in the guys that we drafted. They’re tough-minded,” Eberflus said. “They’re talented, and the guys that are ready to play that show it in practice will play in the game, and that’s how we always (do it).”

Of course, the free agent acquisitions have also helped build the foundation for the future of the defense. After defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue went down with a broken ankle, it came to fellow veteran DeMarcus Walker to step up and perform.

That is exactly what he did against the Cleveland Browns with half a sack.

“Walker’s been good. He’s had his pressures. He’s a bull rusher, and he does a really good job with that, and he has a nice play off of that,” Eberflus said. “Walker did tweak his leg a little bit during the game, and he will not practice today, but he’s going to do walk-through. He’s engaged in the walk-throughs. We need another day to assess. He’s day-to-day right now, but it looks to be good.”

In order for Chicago to have a chance at winning this game, players like Stevenson, Smith, Walker, and others will need to continue to step up and make plays. Further, they will need the offense to have a good day and play with some cohesion.

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