Bears request permission to interview Bills coach Eric Washington
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Bears request permission to interview Bills coach Eric Washington

by - Senior Writer -

As things have started to calm down on the offensive side of the ball with Shane Waldron being introduced as the next OC and now rounding out his staff, Matt Eberflus has shifted his focus to the Defensive side as he looks to find his next DC. Titans defensive coaches Chris Harris and Terrell Williams have already been interviewed, but those have been the only names thus far.

You also have reports starting to surface that Eberflus is considering appointing one of five assistant coaches to take over the defensive coordinator role but still wants to go through a thorough interview process. That includes bringing in several candidates from other organizations, with Eric Washington next on the Bear's list of possible hires.

When you talk about a successful coach, Washington comes to mind, as he would be an excellent hire for this team should they feel he is the right man for the job. 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.

With Sweat locked up for the foreseeable future and young guys Gervon Dexter, Zacch Pickens, and DeMarcus Walker, the Bears front four are in a great position. Washington could be the man to take that group over the top, which will make this defense even better than they were in the season's final seven weeks.

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