Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has certainly been busy this offseason as he faced a situation where both his offensive and defensive coordinators from a year ago had to be replaced simultaneously. Naturally, all the focus was on offense, and Shane Waldron was named the new offensive coordinator after a relatively quick process. On defense... it was a bit more quiet.
Until now. Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network the Chicago Bears are hiring Eric Washington to be their new defensive coordinator.
UPDATE: It’s now official; “We are excited to announce that Eric Washington will be joining our team as the defensive coordinator,” head coach Matt Eberflus said via the team’s site. “He is a great communicator with elite leadership skills and he will enhance our current defensive staff. His track record speaks for itself with coordinator experience as well as expertise in the area of defensive line. I want to thank the other outstanding candidates that applied for this position.”
Most recently, Eric served as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills. He takes over after Alan Williams abruptly resigned following week one of the 2023 regular season. Matt Eberflus did not name an interim defensive coordinator at any point following Alan Williams’ dismissal.
This move is a homecoming of sorts. Eric Washington previously served as a defensive assistant for the Bears from 2008 to 2009, before being promoted as their defensive line coach in 2010 following Rod Marinelli taking over as defensive coordinator. Eric Washington would then leave in 2011 to join forces with Ron Rivera as the defensive line coach for the Carolina Panthers.
Eric Washington would eventually be promoted to defensive coordinator and handled those responsibilities for Carolina from 2018 to 2019. Ron Rivera still handled all play calling on defense, right up to the moment the Panthers opted to clean house following the 2019 season. Eric would land on his feet with the Buffalo Bills as their defensive line coach under Leslie Frasier.
The belief is that, much like his time with the Carolina Panthers, Eric Washington will not be tasked with calling plays on defense. That responsibility will be retained by Matt Eberflus, until further notice. The Bears’ defense did see gradual improvement once Matt took over the actual game planning and calls on a weekly basis. Instead, Eric Washington will lead the meetings, and most likely offer more guidance towards the defensive line. Eric is considered one of the best defensive line coaches in the business.