The Matt Nagy Country Club is officially closed. Chicago Bears players had it pretty easy with the former head coach. While his leadership got them to play hard, the man was never known for holding them accountable or demanding a certain level of physicality from them. Over his four seasons in charge, the Bears were accused of being soft more than once. When Matt Eberflus took over, he said that was going to change.
Nobody can accuse the man of being a liar. Barely months into his tenure, the new head coach saw his team slapped with NFL rules violation for excessive physicality during practices in May. Players aren’t allowed to make contact without pads on. The Bears were warned to cease doing so, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune. They kept doing it anyway. As a result, they saw one of their OTA practices this week forfeited as punishment.
The message is pretty clear from that.
Eberflus knew what he was doing and was okay accepting the punishment in exchange for seeing his players execute with more aggression and violence. He wanted them to understand that the standard has changed around here. If you want to play on this team, be prepared to fight for the privilege. The head coach isn’t keen on getting guys hurt. He wants to toughen them up. Too often, the Bears were the team getting pushed around in years past.
That isn’t going to happen on his watch. Eberflus has stated he wants a fast and physical football team. That is the identity he feels the Bears will need to win football games. He isn’t wrong. Look at most successful organizations over the past several years and share similar qualities. The Rams, Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Patriots all fit the bill.
Matt Eberflus is already proving he’s willing to push.
This doesn’t seem to be a man in awe of his position. He understands exactly who he is and exactly what his job entails. That job is winning football games with the Chicago Bears. If that means bending the rules for the betterment of his team, so be it. He isn’t the first to make this sort of sacrifice. Kyle Shanahan did it in San Francisco. Mike McCarthy did it in Dallas. John Harbaugh did it twice in Baltimore. Two of those men have Super Bowl rings, and the other has four playoff victories in the past three years.
Maybe Matt Eberflus is onto something. Bears fans won’t know until next month when training camp begins. When the pads go on, the media will get their first real look at the kind of violence he intends to demand. If he’s willing to let players hammer each other in shorts, one can only wonder what is coming.
Fans certainly seem in favor of it.
They are tired of watching their team get pushed around every year, even when it’s halfway decent. Eberflus might be taking the organization back to its old school mindset. They’re going to win one of two things: the game or the fight.
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