The start of the NFL season has not been easy for the Chicago Bears, and the turmoil of a 0-2 team boiled over today with the resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams. While no specifics were given, Williams sighted his “health and family” as the primary reason for his resignation.
Alan Williams’ decision to resign comes after head coach Matt Eberflus took over the defensive play-calling duties in last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Statement from former Bears DC Alan Williams on his resignation, effective immediately. “I am taking a step back to take care of my health and family. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Chicago Bears, a storied NFL franchise with a rich history. The McCasky family is…
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2023
What the Alan Williams Resignation Means For the Chicago Bears
This is Truly Matt Eberflus’ Defense
Head coach Matt Eberflus will continue calling plays this week as the Bears travel to Arrowhead to play the Kansas City Chiefs. Since becoming the head coach of the Bears, the team’s defense has struggled to find an identity, with the pass rush being the team’s number one concern. Now that Eberflus has full control over the defense and the play calling, there will be more pressure put on the former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator to right the ship.
The team had the worst defense in the NFL last season and has yet to show drastic improvement this season, despite the additions of rusher Yannick Ngakoue and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Before his resignation, Williams was criticized for his lack of adaptability and sticking too much with the set 4-3 scheme despite what was happening in the game.
In Week 2, with Eberflus in full control of the defense, the team was able to pressure Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield consistently, but still failed to record a sack. Eberflus blamed poor technique – something he can’t rely on now that he has taken complete ownership of the defense.
A Unsettled Locker Room
Any time a team starts the season winless, there will be a high degree of frustration and disappointment. For a young team like the Chicago Bears, those feelings seem to already be turning into bitterness.
Earlier in the day, quarterback Justin Fields seemed to have vented his dismay with the way he was being coached, saying he felt he was “robotic.” He would later clarify his comments, taking full responsibility for his poor play. Nonetheless, the resignation of Williams only adds fuel to the fire that the Bears are a team that is completely lost.
Who Replaces Alan Williams as the Defensive Coordinator?
Even though Matt Eberflus will call the defensive plays for the time being, it remains unlikely that he will take up that mantle for the rest of the season. Eberflus has always focused on being the team’s ‘head coach’ – someone who oversees the whole team.
While the top candidates for the position are coaching for other teams, the in-house candidates are an interesting bunch. The immediate name that comes to mind is secondary coach Jon Hoke who has over 40 years of coaching experience and has been a staple in the Bears organization for decades.
Another candidate is linebacker coach Dave Borgonzi who worked with Eberflus in Indianapolis. The Bears have always been a team that has demonstrated pride in the linebacker position, and Borgonzi helped develop a core of young linebackers including Nicholas Morrow and Jack Sanborn. While working with Eberflus with the Colts, the defensive unit finished top 10 in scoring, run defense, and takeaways.
A dark horse in this race is Bears defensive quality control coach Kevin Koch, who has direct experience working with Eberflus to plan call sheets, and scripts, and work with the defensive backs and scout team. While inexperienced, his youthful energy and mind could be just what the Bears need to turn their season around.
Main Photo: David Banks – USA Today Sports