The NFL Black Monday countdown was at 5 weeks when Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus welcomed his gamers again to Halas Hall after their bye week.
Five weeks for Eberflus to persuade workforce management his 4-8 Bears have made sufficient progress that he shouldn’t be part of the annual league custom of firings the day after the common season ends.
Perhaps solely Chairman George McCaskey, President Kevin Warren and basic supervisor Ryan Poles know if Eberflus, now 7-22 because the Bears coach, can do something to sway the choice over the winnable remaining slate of video games in opposition to the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers.
When the subject got here up a number of occasions with reporters Monday, Eberflus — who has been round sufficient soccer groups over 32 seasons to be accustomed to this ticking clock — caught to his speaking factors about specializing in his day by day work.
He didn’t chew on a query about whether or not he thinks his job is secure, given previous workforce help. Poles, in spite of everything, publicly supplied help Nov. 1 when he known as Eberflus “a grown man that has leadership skills to get this thing out of the hole and into where it needs to be.”
“What you can focus on is leadership, and the first rule of leadership is leading yourself,” Eberflus replied. “Come to work each day. Put the plans collectively — offense, protection, particular groups. Lead the soccer workforce. Help the management council.
“Because true leadership comes from within. That’s really what you focus on, and that’s put your best foot forward every single day.”
Bears gamers are, after all, conscious of the fates that grasp within the stability — not simply Eberflus’ however these of all the teaching employees, together with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, and quarterback Justin Fields. Those selections are probably intertwined, with the Bears undoubtedly making an allowance for their 2024 quarterback-coach pairing.
With such selections looming, Eberflus stated he tries to strike a stability between being optimistic but in addition actual with gamers and coaches, so that they know the place they should enhance.
“That is the business we’re in,” linebacker T.J. Edwards stated. “No matter what, it’s all the time there. But on the finish of the day, we’re right here to win video games and we’re right here to be the perfect soccer gamers we may be. That is our job. That is what we’re right here for.
“Our team is understanding that these are important games and we know … we’ve got to win them. And we’re excited about that. We have the right people in here, the right leaders who understand that and to keep the main thing the main thing.”
The essential factor this week is a rematch with the Lions, who got here again from 12 factors down Nov. 19 to win 31-26. The Bears preached ending after that deflation, they usually did it — albeit in ugly vogue — in a 12-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 27.
“You can’t really mark it as full change until you do it consistently,” tight finish Cole Kmet stated.
So that’s a mission this week: present the consistency that has not been an indicator of this Bears regime. They haven’t received back-to-back video games for the reason that finish of the 2021 season below earlier coach Matt Nagy.
Despite that, Eberflus, Edwards and Kmet asserted that progress is being made and is exhibiting up on movie.
“You see all the plays that are being made,” Edwards stated of a protection that has seven interceptions within the final two video games. “You see the hassle that’s there, and that’s one factor that’s not appeared on as a lot is simply the tenacity that we’re taking part in with. That’s laborious to do each single play, the place somebody’s giving it their all. You see that on movie with our workforce.
“It is the league in terms of ‘You are what your record shows.’ But I don’t think we necessarily believe that. We know we’re a good football team and have got to go out there and finish. We’ve got to make those plays at the end of the game to seal those victories.”
And in the event that they do, would that be sufficient to maintain the Bears out of the Black Monday information cycle? They have 5 weeks to strive.
“The season didn’t start the way everybody wanted, for sure,” Eberflus stated of an 0-4 begin. “But over the last eight weeks, we’ve put some good things out there. We’re certainly excited about doing that this week. Our focus, as anytime in the NFL, is where your feet are.”
Tyrique Stevenson anticipated again
Eberflus stated it seems to be like rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson might return this week after lacking the Vikings sport with a foot harm. He stated the Bears would possibly contemplate rotating Stevenson and fellow rookie Terell Smith, who stuffed in when Stevenson was out.
“Smitty did play well and we want to get our young guys more and more playing time,” Eberflus stated. “If they’re effective and produce, we certainly will play them.”’