In 2022, the Chicago Bears had the worst defense in football according to DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), but that was by design after general manager Ryan Poles stripped the roster in year one of their rebuild. They were going from a 3-4 front in 2021 to a 4-3, so they allowed several free agents to walk, released a few others, and traded Khalil Mack. They added a few stop-gap talents, drafted and played a bunch of rookies, and traded two more established veterans during the season.
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams didn’t have much to work with, so it wasn’t a surprise the unit was so bad.
In 2023, Williams was set to return, but some HR drama led to him stepping away, and head coach Matt Eberflus took over play calling.
In year two of his scheme, after spending some money on the front seven, adding more players via the daft, and a big midseason trade for Montez Sweat, his unit improved to 17th overall in DVOA.
There’s no question Chicago’s defense got better as the year wore on, and ‘Flus was able to evolve his scheme by blitzing more than he’s done in the past, but how much of the improvement was on him, and how much was on the players improving?
Eberflus deserves credit for sure, after all it’s his defense, his playbook, and the players developed under his charge, but I have my doubts about his playcalling.
There’s a conservative nature to his late game calls, which points to his overall philosophy, but 63% of our fans want him to keep calling the defense.
The Bears have yet to even interview anyone for defensive coordinator, but my hope is they go after an experienced coach that could take over play calling so ‘Flus can focus on the big picture.
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