Matt Eberflus will take over as the Bears defensive coordinator, in addition to performing his regular head coaching duties, when the team takes on the Buccaneers this Sunday. Eberflus announced on Friday that usual defensive coordinator Alan Williams will not travel with the team to Tampa due to a personal reason.
The challenge for Eberflus will be balancing game management as head coach, while running the defense.
“When offense is up it will be normal business with throwing challenge flags and being right there with Luke (Getsy) and the offense,” said Eberflus. “Then when the defense is up I’ll be making the calls. Then when we’re off the field, to make the corrections pretty quick. The guys on the sideline are going to help me do that with the players. Then really from there it’s about setting up the next series, what’s coming the next series for those guys so we can communicate that. From there it’s just normal.”
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As for whether the defensive calls will look similar with Eberflus at the helm instead of Williams:
Switching defensive coordinators after just one game is no easy thing, but Eberflus said his players have handled the change well in practice.
“People of their age, man, they’re really resilient… Practices have been good. Spirited practices. High energy.”
“We're going to be ready and prepared this week," said Jaquan Brisker. "Nothing changes at all. Everybody is just doing their job. We play all as one. Coach Flus has been calling plays for a long time. It's his defense. It's going to be a smooth process."
Eberflus will also lean on his assistant coaches. He noted the wealth of experience with most of his staff, like safeties coach Andre Curtis and cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke. Guys like linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi also have experience working with Eberflus as a defensive coordinator from their time together in Indianapolis.
“They know how I like to operate,” Eberflus said. “They know how it is when I am calling the play and running that side.”
Another option would have been for the Bears to promote an assistant coach to defensive coordinator for the week, but Eberflus said he believes this decision is best for the team as a whole.
The Bears don’t have a timeframe for Williams to return to the team.