Matt Eberflus evaluates new coaching hires for Bears

Matt Eberflus evaluates new coaching hires for Bears

by - Correspondent -

This past month has been a busy one for head coach Matt Eberflus, general manager Ryan Poles and the rest of the Bears front office hiring new coaches, especially filling in the vacancies at offensive and defensive coordinator. When introducing both of the new coordinators, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and defensive coordinator Eric Washington, to the media Thursday, Eberflus explained how the process went for interviewing their prospects.

“We wanted to make sure that we interviewed everybody in person. So, that entailed flying out to see candidates and bringing guys to see them here at Halas Hall and we did that,” Eberflus said. “That was great because we wanted to make sure that we did a thorough process of this and got to know each candidate, and that was really part of the decision-making, and I thought it was really good.”

Interviewing people in person is truly an important aspect of hiring and, in today’s day and age, can be incredibly undervalued. So, it should give fans comfort knowing that the Bears went the extra mile, or a few hundred miles in some cases, to fly out to meet prospects, ensuring they were hiring the right people. Doing so also helped to ensure Chicago was hiring coaches that fit with the criteria they were looking for in all of their coaching positions, but especially the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator positions.

“It’s really about being creative. You want to be creative, and you want to be curious to really make the scheme go and make it go with the skill set that we have, and that’s important on offense and defense, and that’s one of the things that we talked about, and that’s why these two men are sitting right here with us today. About being adaptable. You’ve got to be able to adapt during the course of a season. You’re going to have injuries at times, you’re going to have different skill sets in there,” Eberflus said.

“In-game adaptability. You got to be able to have in-game tactics and that’s an important part during the process of hiring the coordinators and obviously being a leader. You’ve got to be a dynamic leader to be able to lead these men on offense and defense, and that’s an important part as you stand in front of the room, and you got to be dynamic that way and, obviously, being a teacher. We want to be prepared, and part of being prepared is having great teachers as coaches, and we want to do that with our players … A love of football. You have to love the game. Just like we want our players to love the game, that’s infectious and if you love coming to work every single day, guess what? You’re players are going to love coming to work every single day and last but not least is the ability to partner. The partnership that you form with your coaches and on your staff and the partnership that you form with your players is ultimately what gets it done in this league. Our product that we put on the field is the players.”

Defensively, the biggest change was adding Washington as the defensive coordinator. However, Eberflus also stressed that he will maintain the play-calling duties defensively while Washington’s role will be more in preparing the game plan.

“I’ve known Eric (Washington) a long time. He’s the new defensive coordinator,” Eberflus said. “Certainly going to be helpful for assisting and for me as the play caller, and our defense has done a wonderful job in the short time he’s been here, and certainly excited to have him.”

Chicago also made a plethora of coaching changes on the offensive side, which was greatly needed. First, Thomas Brown, who was actually interviewed for the offensive coordinator position, will serve as the passing game coordinator. Back in 2020, he served as the running backs coach during the time Waldron was the passing game coordinator, so there is some familiarity between them. Brown also served as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers in 2023.

“We are very fortunate that one of the offensive coordinators that we did interview was Thomas Brown and we, obviously, hired him as the passing game coordinator,” Eberflus said. “So, we’re very fortunate to have him. He’s got a connection with Shane (Waldron), of course, and that’s going to be - between him, Chris (Morgan), and Shane - it’s going to be a really good dynamic for the offensive staff.”

Morgan, who is going into his third season as the offensive line coach for the Bears, will also serve as the run game coordinator. Eberflus also mentioned that was highly involved in the process of selecting the offensive coordinator.

Chris Beatty, who spent the last three seasons as the wide receivers coach for the Los Angeles Chargers, will now serve that position for Chicago. During his tenure in Los Angeles, his receivers combined for over 14,000 yards, which was second in the AFC during that time period.

Beatty also worked with Bears elite receiver DJ Moore back when Moore was in college.

“Chris Beatty is another guy that we are fortunate to have,” Eberflus said. “Obviously, a great track record out there the past three years at the Chargers with that elite receiving core, and obviously, he was DJ’s position coach over there at Maryland, and when DJ was very successful there, obviously, Big-10 player of the year when Chris was there with him.”

Some of the coaches Waldron brought with him from Seattle include Kerry Joseph, Chad Morton, and Robbie Picazo, who will be the quarterback coach, running back coach, and quarterbacks and receivers offensive assistant, respectively.

“We brought a few guys from Seattle, which were excited about those guys. Kerry Joseph’s going to be our quarterback’s coach. You can see his extensive track record there, playing quarterback. Kind of a cool thing that he also played defense. He played safety in the NFL. Gives him a great perspective,” Eberflus said. “Also bringing from Seattle we got Chad Morton, high-energy running back coach. Does a great job with those guys. Has a great track record and is a seven-year vet in the league. So, excited to get him as well. Then, Robbie Picazo. He was with Shane as well. Offensive assistant working with the quarterbacks and receivers played quarterback at Stanford. I see him as a rising star in the league, excited to have him as well.”

The last two coaching changes discussed on Thursday by Eberflus was the hiring of Jason Houghtaling as the assistant offensive line coach and Jennifer King as the offensive assistant for the running backs.

She is the first woman in franchise history to serve on the coaching staff.

“Working with the offensive line, Jason, his nickname is “Haus,” so Houghtaling. He’s going to be our assistant OL. He actually worked at Tennessee last year as the offensive line coach. So, we’re fortunate to get him from there. He had a great interview, and we’re excited about that,” Eberflus said. “Lastly on offense, Jennifer King. She’s going to be working with our running backs, and the offensive assistant is working with the running backs. Certainly excited to have her. Kind of a cool journey. She was a player, All-American as a player in tackle football, has coached in basketball, and certainly excited to have her join our staff as well and going to be very beneficial for us.”

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