Matt Eberflus

5 Bears defensive coordinator candidates for maximum continuity

The Bears defense improved a lot in 2023, so the Bears will likely want to keep things similar in 2024

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After spending the majority of the 2023 season without a true defensive coordinator, the Bears will look to fill the vacancy left by Alan Williams in 2024. Head coach Matt Eberflus did a bang up job taking over and calling defensive plays from Week 2 on, and there’s a good chance he calls plays again next year. They’ll still need someone to help organize the entire unit.

It might make most sense for the Bears to promote from within. That way the team can maintain as much continuity as possible, and whoever takes over the role will already have a great understanding of what Eberflus wants. If the team prefers to leave all their position coaches in place, he still has an option to consider.

Of course, the Bears could want some fresh opinions to add to the mix. If they go that route, they’ll have to cast a narrower net than on offense since they need someone to work within the framework of their 4-3 scheme. That shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle, but that’s another list for another day.

Today, we’re looking at in-house staff members who could be on the Bears’ interview list for the DC opening.


Hoke is one of the most experienced coaches in the building. His first job was with Dayton as a cornerbacks coach in 1982. He’s worked at the NFL level in various capacities since 2002, minus a short stint at South Carolina in 2015 and another at Maryland from 2019-2020.

Hoke oversaw Jaylon Johnson’s first All-Pro season and played a big part in the development of Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson and Terell Smith.


Eberflus is a linebackers guy, so it’s imperative that his linebackers get the job done in the middle of the defense. Borgonzi helped to make sure both Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards were up to the task, and each played at an extremely high level in 2023.

Borgonzi also has extensive experience working with Eberflus. Borgonzi was Eberflus’ linebackers coach from 2018-2021 in Indianapolis. The two also worked together in Dallas from 2011-2012 when Eberflus was the linebackers coach and Borgonzi was a defensive assistant.


When the Bears offered Eddie Jackson a clean slate in 2022, it was Curtis who coached Jackson up on tackling and pursuit angles. Jackson eventually enjoyed a renaissance with Curtis as his coach. Curtis also helped Jaquan Brisker transition to the NFL and become an impact strong safety.

Curtis has a long history of success in the NFL, and helped six players reach the Pro Bowl in Seattle: Kam Chancellor (2015), Richard Sherman (2015, 2016), Earl Thomas (2015, 2017), Shaquill Griffin (2019), Jamal Adams (2020) and Quandre Diggs (2020, 2021).


Smith is often credited for scheming up some of the more creative stunts and pressure games that the Bears played on the defensive line. He deployed Montez Sweat, Yannick Ngakoue, Justin Jones and DeMarcus Walker in some different ways that helped the unit generate pressure on opposing QBs.

He also comes from the Rod Marinelli tree, like Eberflus, from his 10 years with the Raiders. Smith had a hand in the development of many notable Raiders pass rushers, like Khalil Mack, Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell.


Instead of hiring a new DC in 2023, the Bears opted to bring in Snow to help the team with advance scouting. He did work on the Bears’ opponent that was one week away, studying tendencies and personnel, then provided the defensive staff with a report so that they could get to work gameplanning right away each new game week.

Before joining the Bears, Snow had coached in some capacity at the NCAA D-I level or higher since 1982. That includes jobs as a defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, Washington Huskies, UCLA Bruins, Arizona State Sun Devils, Baylor Bears, Temple Owls and Eastern Michigan Owls.

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