To make it clear right at the top, here are all the things Matt Eberflus was allowed to do to keep his job: Completely waste training camp, except getting pretty much half the team hurt. “Mr Track Shoes” didn’t have his team ready to start the season, starting 0-4 and looking bewildered while doing it. Having two assistant coaches fired for HR reasons, possibly because they were both operating their laptops with their wangs. Blowing three, count ‘em, THREE, double-digit fourth-quarter leads, including one to the Broncos that had given up 70 the week before and then the last one when Eberflus decided to cover Joe Flacco’s only reliable target (David Njoku) with a defensive tackle. And then, to cap it off, after showing some level of spice in the games leading up to the finale, completely turtled against the Packers, once again.
This was all deemed good enough to keep him around for the Bears brass. Because that’s just how it works around here.
Oh, sure, the Bears aren’t completely diving into CONTINUITY and STABILITY, the kind of dumb-guy buzzwords they have always committed themselves to instead of WINNING. They’re binning off their offensive staff, which is the absolute least they should be doing. One needs no more of a case to kick former OC Luke Getsy off the nearest roof than this play against the Packers on Sunday, where he had his punt returner trying to block Rashan Gary:
Tells you absolutely everything you need to know. In a game that somewhat mattered, and the Bears claimed was their end-all-be-all, running up against the green-and-gold wall they haven’t been able to scale in 74 years or whatever, Getsy once again went into business for himself. Just as he spent most of the season doing, instead of accentuating what his quarterback could do. That doesn’t mean Justin Fields is blameless, but Getsy has spent about six games of his two years in the driver’s seat doing the things that show off what makes Fields special and the rest of the time operating an offense that was only in his head and not on the field, all while leaking whatever he had to to the local press to shift blame to his quarterback and off his utter twaddle playcalling.
But even if it’s the right move to fire Getsy and find a new OC, which it is, this is the most awkward way to do it. Is Eberflus going to do the hiring? Because so far he hired Getsy and two versions of Bob Crane. Not exactly a gleaming resume on filling out a staff that can be trusted going forward. Does that mean Ryan Poles is going to install assistants from the GM chair? That’s pretty much showcasing to Eberflus who his replacement will be midseason if he borks training camp again, and creates an uncomfortable power dynamic where an assistant is a made man, but the coach isn’t.
On the surface, the Bears OC job should be an attractive one. It’s likely to come with a fresh new QB taken with the No. 1 pick. Or it will come with an offense that should be buffeted by the haul of picks and players the Bears could get in return for that No. 1 pick, along with a certainly flawed, but still obviously obscenely talented Fields. Any OC who makes either of those scenarios work is on a fast track to his own head coaching job, likely.
Except underneath all that, any OC looking at this job will know that Eberlus’ cheeks are cooking from underneath, as this move puts him on the clock to not cock up the first half of the season again. He could be out of a job this time next year, which would mean the new offensive coordinator could very well be, too. It’s rocky ground on which to build a new house. Secondly, there really isn’t a known here. Maybe Caleb Williams or Drake Maye are the second coming of Muhammad I’m Hard Bruce Lee, or maybe they’re Bryce Young. Maybe the Bears want to pull off their own Herschel Walker trade, but then it turns out that Fields will always be a dummard in the pocket and can only make plays off-schedule.
It’s also likely the Bears can’t tell any prospective new hire what they’re going to do, because the correct path is for the Bears to see what the offers are for both the pick and their current QB, and weigh it all up. If some team’s GM gets into the disco dust too much one night and goes all, “WE’RE MAKING GRAVY WITHOUT THE LUMPS!” and offers up an entire draft’s worth of capital, along with one or two established players, it might be hard to turn down. But it also leaves that new OC possibly designing playbooks for two different QBs and having to pivot quickly from one to the other.
Bottom line, it’s just another example of the lack of vision or stones the Bears have always had. There was little case to keep Eberflus around, whatever his goddamn acronyms might mean. The case to catapult him into oblivion is all right there at the top, and would keep the chain of command in an organization linear and solid and symmetrical, as it should be. Instead, the Bears have opted for varying interests and blurred lines as they always do, making it more likely to all blow up again, and once again have to start over.
There is still a path to get it very much right, with the No. 1 pick and all the cap space in the world to build a roster that can overcome their organizational mishegas. The question is why they’ve presented themselves with that challenge.
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