Dannehy: Serious Concerns About Eberflus

| December 8th, 2022

First and goal from the 19 when the quarterback is playing well shouldn’t be a running down.

Third-and-five from the 23 when the quarterback is throwing smoke should not be a running down.

There is a difference between being conservative and being bad. It seemed like Matt Eberflus was trying to lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. He wasn’t, and that raises some major red flags.

Leading 16-10 with a chance to put the game away, the Bears took the ball out of their best player’s hands. What they followed with was 14 out of 18 plays in which they either ran the ball or passed it behind the line of scrimmage. The Bears did everything they could to not win. The Packers came back and took the lead.

On the plays in which they actually let their quarterback do his job, they got passes of 49, 14 and 24 yards, as well as a one-yard scramble. The team’s best player is obvious to everyone at this point, but apparently not to the head coach. How can we not be concerned about that?

The biggest downside of hiring a defensive head coach isn’t that he won’t be able to hire a good offensive coordinator. It’s that even if he does hire a good one, he’ll handcuff him. While Luke Getsy is taking blame for the play calling last week, the truth is more likely that it’s the head coach who limits the offensive coordinator in crucial situations. Getsy, after all, is a former quarterback, quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. You can bet he wants to throw the ball.

Even if it is the offensive coordinator who is calling those plays, the head coach had insisted he be involved in the offensive meetings. He has the ability and the responsibility to tell the coordinator to be aggressive.

Play the Best Players

Equanimeous St. Brown should have been a player competing for a roster spot but instead is going to finish the season leading the team’s wide receivers in snaps played. What do they have to show for it? 17 catches for 280 yards.

We can all understand that St. Brown is a good blocker and that can be important, but N’Keal Harry is an even better blocker and has made nearly as many big plays as a wide receiver. Chase Claypool has played about a fifth of the snaps St. Brown has and has just five fewer catches.

Going forward, the Bears need to base what they do on the talent of the players they have, not how much they like those players.

More Coverage Please

Maybe the most frustrating part about the Bears defense in 2022 has been the huge cushions they have given opposing wide receivers. We saw some of that on Sunday, but the team’s second-string secondary generally did a better job sticking with wide receivers than their starters.

Part of it is surely the pedestrian wide receivers the Packers have, but Sammy Watkins had 93 yards against the Bears in Week 2, so that can’t be the entire explanation.

The Bears’ secondary has been given a pass because the pass rush is so bad. But the pass rush was still bad on Sunday – worse than it was in Week 2 – and the secondary held up despite that. Why can’t it do so with two second-round picks on the field?

We have all seen the Kyler Gordon learning curve, but Jaylon Jones and Josh Blackwell are rookies too. Sunday was the first game in which Blackwell played a single defensive snap and he didn’t look out of place.

At the very least, we can say that Gordon needs to be better. He certainly has the talent to and it’s important to note that some defensive backs just take longer than others. If Gordon can fulfill his potential, the Bears should have a good and deep secondary going forward. If he can’t, there are other players chomping at the bit. It’s a good problem to have.

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