Even Matt Eberflus Knows the Bears Need a True WR1
One thing I appreciate about Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus is his ability to reach across the aisle.
Eberflus might be a defensive-leaning head coach, but he isn’t one-track-minded. For instance, last offseason he was thinking about creating a quarterback-friendly offense for Justin Fields. Later, Eberflus would go on to reveal what that would look like when it was fully operational. And after a sluggish start to the year, Eberflus and his staff went back to the drawing board and began leaning into things that were working after an early-season mini-bye after a Thursday Night Football loss to Washington. It wasn’t just talking to talk either. The Bears’ actions resulted in Fields’ season taking off. It was a beautiful thing for a stretch of games that otherwise ended with Chicago in the loss column.
I bring this all up because of something Eberflus said during his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis struck a chord with me:
You know, for a defensive-leaning head coach, Eberflus sure seems to have a working idea of how things work on the other side of the ball. And that he directly says the Bears *NEED* a receiver who is a “playmaker” who is “making plays in critical moments” makes me think that is high on the team’s offseason shopping list. Keep nudging your general manager, coach. Maybe one day soon he’ll budge.
Additionally, I love the honesty of a coach who makes two things clear. Firstly, the Bears need a true WR1 target for Fields. And secondly, Chicago doesn’t have that player right now. With all due respect to Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, and others, I don’t have much of an argument against Eberflus. Moreover, it is encouraging to hear Eberflus speak freely about the team’s receiver needs. Sometimes, there is a sense of detachment from what happens on one side of the ball when a head coach comes from the other side. In other words, Eberflus having a bead on what’s happening on offense despite being a defensive coach is good news. At a minimum, it makes me feel better about the bigger picture.
There were some concerns about building around Fields with a former defensive coordinator as his head coach. But it felt like Fields and Eberflus made a connection early, which felt like a good start. And I believe we saw their relationship grow in their first year together. That is the kind of stuff you’d like to see in a developing coach-quarterback relationship. Ultimately, that Eberflus wants to get Fields a new target is encouraging. Hopefully, Eberflus and GM Ryan Poles have already had those internal discussions.