Bears Hire Next Head Coach, Already Have OC in Mind: Report

Matt Eberflus

Getty Matt Eberflus told his new players to go get their track shoes.

The Chicago Bears have a new head coach. Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has been selected by new Bears GM Ryan Poles as Matt Nagy’s replacement, as first reported by NFL insider Adam Schefter.

Eberflus, who has led the Colts’ defense since 2018, will be a first-time head coach.

Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted shortly after the news of Eberflus’ hiring broke that there’s already a potential offensive coordinator candidate to keep an eye on: current Philadelphia Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo.

The 51-year-old Eberflus has been coaching in some capacity since 1992, and he was Bears’ new GM Poles’ top choice, according to Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog. Hughes reported Bears chairman George McCaskey and former executive Bill Polian, who were both on the search committee, wanted ex-Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, while team President and CEO Ted Phillips and the rest of the five-person search committee wanted Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Poles made the first of many executive decisions. Time will tell whether it was the correct one.

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Eberflus: A Look at His Background & Coaching History

Eberflus got his start coaching in the NFL in 2009, when he served as linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns. Before that, he spent some time in the college ranks as a recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach before getting hired as Missouri’s defensive coordinator, a title he held from 2001-08.

Here’s a look at his complete coaching resumé:

  • Toledo (1992) — Student assistant coach
  • Toledo (1993) — Graduate assistant
  • Toledo (1994–1995) — Recruiting coordinator & Outside linebackers coach
  • Toledo (1996–1998) — Outside linebackers coach
  • Toledo (1999–2000) — Defensive backs coach
  • Missouri (2001–2008) — Defensive coordinator
  • Cleveland Browns (2009–2010) — Linebackers coach
  • Dallas Cowboys (2011–2015) — Linebackers coach
  • Dallas Cowboys (2016–2017) — Linebackers coach & passing game coordinator
  • Indianapolis Colts (2018–present) –Defensive coordinator

During his tenure leading Indy’s defense, Eberflus’s units have ranked 11th overall in total defense in 2018, 16th in 2019, 8th in 2020 and 16th in 2021. His units have been particularly strong against the run, finishing in the top 10 in each of his four seasons as defensive coordinator.

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A Look at Eagles’ Passing Game Coordinator Patullo

Eberflus worked with Patullo in Indianapolis for three seasons, so they have a history. Patullo followed ex-Colts offensive coordinator, Nick Sirianni, to Philadelphia last season. He coordinated a passing game for the Eagles in 2021 that finished 25th in the league (200.2 yards per game), which wasn’t near as impressive as what he did the year before.

Patullo had more success in 2020 as pass game specialist in Indianapolis. Led by the now-retired Philip Rivers, the Colts were ranked 11th in the NFL in passing yards per game (253.3) in 2020.

Here’s a look at Patullo’s coaching resumé:

  • South Florida (2003–2004) — Graduate assistant
  • Arizona (2004–2006) — Graduate assistant
  • Kansas City Chiefs (2007–2008) — Offensive assistant & offensive quality control coach
  • Buffalo Bills (2010–2011) — Offensive quality control coach
  • Buffalo Bills (2012) — Offensive assistant & assistant wide receivers coach
  • Tennessee Titans (2014) — Assistant wide receivers coach
  • New York Jets (2015–2016) — Quarterbacks coach
  • Texas A&M (2017) — Senior offensive analyst
  • Indianapolis Colts (2018–2019) — Wide receivers coach
  • Indianapolis Colts (2020) — Pass game specialist
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2021–present) — Pass game coordinator

At 40 years of age, Patullo is young, and if hired, would be a first-time offensive coordinator. It’s early in the process, but his name will be a top one to watch.

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