Nine days after dismissing Ryan Pace, the Chicago Bears don’t have a general manager in his place. Moreover, there are a bunch of candidates who could still be on the table as pending interviews.
And yet, there appears to be an early finalist for the head-coaching vacancy, as Colts Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus is getting a second interview for the Bears’ gig:
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 19, 2022
This makes Eberflus the first known candidate to receive a second shot at pitching themselves to the team — at either opening. NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero tweets Eberflus is a “finalist” for the positions, while ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler falls just short of saying that explicitly. Nevertheless, it is an interesting development.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the dread that comes with that “here we go again” feeling (we just learned that the the Bears were hoping to get a GM in place first). But this doesn’t necessarily preclude that. Perhaps Eberflus getting a second interview hints at the Bears progressing in their general manager search. Seeing this makes me wonder if this team expects to have a GM in place by the time a scheduled interview with Eberflus takes place. Maybe they are trying to line this up so the new GM can talk to Eberflus right away, especially since the coaching market could move VERY quickly after this upcoming weekend.
Part of me feels a little Yogi Berra-ish right now. A little “déjá vu all over again” as the Yankees legend might put it. Because, on the surface, this feels like a re-visiting of the Ernie Accorsi experience in 2015 (i.e. getting one hire set up (Ryan Pace) with some implicit suggestion for the other piece with which to pair him (John Fox). And to be frank, the idea of Polian making two hires on McCaskey’s behalf and potentially tying a GM and coach together isn’t an ideal process. It might be better than the alternative of a McCaskey-Ted Phillips tandem calling the shots. But that is an embarrassingly low bar to clear. So low, ants have a puncher’s chance to do so.
But also … Eberflus is an interesting candidate on his own merits. Eberflus led the Colts defense to a year in which they had the second most takeaways, the eighth-highest DVOA ranking from Football Outsiders, and could boast the ninth bet scoring defense. This wouldn’t be the offensive-leaning hire some might want, but there isn’t just one side of the ball that could use work.