Tagged in: vacancy

Chicago Bears to hire Indianapolis Colts DC Matt Eberflus as head coach

The Chicago Bears will hire Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their head coach.

Eberflus, 51, also was considered a candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head-coaching vacancy. He will join new general manager Ryan Poles in taking over a Bears team that went 6-11 in 2021 under Matt Nagy and has missed the playoffs in nine of the past 11 seasons.

Chicago also interviewed Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell for the job.

Eberflus has spent the past four seasons as the Colts’ defensive coordinator under coach Frank Reich. His defenses finished in the top 10 in scoring three times, including being tied for ninth in 2021 at 21.5 points per match.

Eberflus will inherit a Bears team that ranked sixth in the NFL in total defense in 2021 but struggled offensively and endured instability at quarterback, where Andy Dalton alternated as the starter with rookie Justin Fields.

The first big question for Eberflus in Chicago will be selecting an offensive coordinator, since a big part of the job for the new coach and GM will be solidifying the quarterback position that has haunted the founding NFL franchise for decades.

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The Bears do not have a first-round draft pick in 2022 because they traded that selection to the New York Giants to select Fields, who showed flashes of potential as a passer and as a runner but concluded with just seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Chicago went 2-8 in the 10 games Fields started this past season.

The Bears made two postseason appearances in their four years under Nagy but last won a playoff game in 2010. They are 1-3 in the postseason since appearing in Super Bowl XLI after the 2006 season, a game the Colts won.

Eberflus, a former linebacker at the University of Toledo who began his coaching career at his alma mater and hometown school, also interviewed for head-coaching jobs last year after his third season with Indianapolis, where he developed a reputation for demanding relentless effort out of his players.

Eberflus’ high standards included counting “loafs” — a term former Bears coach Lovie Smith also used in his Tampa 2 defense. Eberflus refined his style and terminology during a seven-year stint in Dallas, where he worked with Rod Marinelli, who, like Smith, came from the coaching tree of Hall of Famer Tony Dungy.

Now Eberflus will be the second coordinator to leave Indianapolis in two seasons.

Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles filled their head-coaching vacancy with Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, who took a handful of Colts assistants with him.

It’s unclear how many, if any, assistants will follow Eberflus from Indy or Philly to Chicago.

When Eberflus started his coaching career at Toledo in 1992, he spent nine years with the Rockets as a student assistant, grad assistant, outside linebackers and defensive backs coach.

He spent the next eight seasons as Missouri’s defensive coordinator (2001-08) before making the jump to the NFL, where he coached linebackers in Cleveland (2009-10) and Dallas (2011-17) before joining the Colts ahead of the 2018 season.

In Eberflus’ first season in Indianapolis, the Colts improved from 30th to 10th in scoring defense, from 30th to 11th in total defense and from 26th to eighth in rush defense.

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New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton stepping away after 16 years with franchise

Sean Payton revealed his decision to step away Tuesday, 16 years after he was hired as the New Orleans Saints’ coach, though he stressed multiple times that “retirement is not the right word.”

Payton, 58, said he doesn’t plan to coach another team in 2022, adding, “That’s not where my heart is right now.” And since he has three years left on his contract, the Saints would have to agree to trade compensation if he wanted to coach another team.

However, Payton didn’t rule out a return to coaching in the future. And he said he is interested in pursuing a TV analyst job, though he insisted that neither he nor his agent Don Yee have talked with any media outlets yet.

“I don’t know what’s next — and it kind of feels good,” Payton said during an emotional 90-minute news conference at the team’s practice facility. “But, man, I felt like it was time. … But not with any regret. There’s some excitement, like, ‘All right, what’s next?'”

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Payton explained that he had been considering this departure all the way back to training camp before confirming how he felt over the past two weeks. He said owner Gayle Benson, general manager Mickey Loomis and team president Dennis Lauscha all tried to talk him out of it. And he thanked Benson for encouraging him to go on vacation for the past two weeks before making a final decision.

The Saints are now the ninth NFL team with a head coaching vacancy.

Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. are two obvious candidates for a possible promotion, considering the Saints just posted their fifth consecutive winning season and aren’t necessarily looking for an overhaul.

Payton mentioned Allen by name while explaining that he and the Saints never discussed any sort of arrangement where he might possibly come back after a one-year hiatus.

Payton admitted that he searched the internet Monday night for tips on how to avoid crying during a news conference.

He started by singling out Benson, Loomis and Lauscha individually, calling Loomis “one of my best friends.” And he presented Benson with a piece of king cake — a traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras dessert — saying it was his version of TV character Ted Lasso’s biscuit tradition.

Payton made his mark as the winningest coach in Saints history and one of the NFL’s all-time great offensive minds. The Saints signed Brees two months after Payton was hired in 2006, and they led New Orleans to the first Super Bowl triumph in franchise history in 2009.

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Buck Showalter, Joe Espada, Matt Quatraro to get second interview for New York Mets’ managerial vacancy

Buck Showalter will be among the candidates to get a second round of interviews with the New York Mets regarding their vacant managerial position, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Matt Quatraro started the second round of interviews with the Mets on Tuesday, while Joe Espada is scheduled for Thursday and Showalter for Friday, sources confirmed to ESPN.

New general manager Billy Eppler, who spent 2015 through 2020 in the Angels’ organization, stated last month that he would talk to the baseball operations department about the best approach on hiring a skipper, balancing the factors between in-game management, analytical approach and clubhouse culture creation

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The Mets fired Luis Rojas after a season in which the team held onto first place for 103 days but ultimately finished 77-85 and missing the playoffs.

Showalter, 65, has been a major league manager for four teams between 1992 and 2018.

He won American League Manager of the Year honors during stints with the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. He also managed the Arizona Diamondbacks. He has a career record of 1,551-1,517.

Espada, 46, has previously interviewed for multiple major league managerial vacancies but has yet to be hired. He has served as bench coach of the Houston Astros since 2018 after also spending time with the Yankees and Miami Marlins as a third-base coach.

Quatraro, 48, has served on coaching staffs with Cleveland and Tampa Bay, where he is the current bench coach.

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