The Matt Eberflus Effect

Chicago Bears

There has been so much emphasis on the Chicago Bears offense, that the defense has been overlooked. This article will explore the similarities between the 2018 Colts defense and the 2022 Chicago Bears.

The 2017 Colts were ranked 27th in defensive DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). When Matt Eberflus took over the Colts defense in 2018, they instantly jumped from 27th to 11th in defensive DVOA. They also were 10th in points allowed. This was a massive jump in production.  

2018 Colts Defense 

Starters:

DE – Sheard 

DT – Woods 

DT – Autry 

DE – Hunt 

WLB – Leonard (rookie) 

MLB – Walker 

SLB – Adams 

CB – Desir 

CB – Harrison 

NCB – Moore 

FS – Hooker 

SS – Geathers 

Key reserves 

DE – Muhammad 

DT – Stewart 

DE – Turay 

S – Odum

Leonard was called a reach by draftniks as a 2nd rounder, and Moore was signed off waivers after being cut by the Patriots a year prior. The team had no established stars, made no significant signings, and still managed to jump from 27th to 11th on defense in one season. The Matt Eberflus effect. 

2022 Bears Defense 

Starters:

DE – Quinn

DT – Blackson 

DT – Jones 

DE – Gipson 

WLB – Smith 

MLB – Morrow 

SLB – Adams 

CB – Johnson 

CB – Gordon 

NCB – Graham 

FS – Jackson 

SS – Brisker 

Key reserves 

DE – Muhammad 

DT – Edwards 

DT – Tonga 

S – DHC 

I think the 2022 Chicago Bears have more established talent and have invested more into the defense than the 2018 Colts did. There is a chance this defense can be damn good. That alone gives the 2022 Bears a floor. The 2021 team was ranked 13th in defensive DVOA. Even after suffering injuries to Mack, Hicks, and the secondary having several breakdowns in communication. It should not be out of the realm of possibility that the defense could be a top 10 unit.  

A little caveat, Chuck Pagano was the Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. Ted Monachino was his Defensive Coordinator. The defense was largely Chuck’s thing. Chicago Bears fans are very familiar with Chuck and his defenses. Could we see a similar jump with Eberflus in Chicago? I think the 2022 Bears have more talent in the secondary and defensive line than the 2018 Colts had. Smith is more established than Leonard was as a rookie.  

Football is a complementary sport. Defense still matters. Professional football is not fantasy football. One team’s offenses don’t go head to head with another to see who can score the most points. Defense still matters in football. The Matt Eberflus effect. 

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