In wake of what has been a chaotic week for the Chicago Bears brass, reports surfaced on Thursday morning regarding a pair of interviews. On Friday, the Bears will interview New Orleans Saints VP and assistant GM Jeff Ireland for the GM job. Following the Ireland interview, the team will interview Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator on Monday for the head coaching job.
Jeff Ireland is currently the VP and assistant GM for the New Orleans Saints. This title might perk some ears, as the latest Bears GM, Ryan Pace, also came to Chicago via the Bayou. Ireland has worked in the NFL in some capacity since 1994, where he worked directly for the NFL Scouting Combine. In 1997, Ireland became a scout with the Kansas City Chiefs, spending four seasons there before latching on with the Dallas Cowboys as a national scout in 2001.
The Abilene, Texas native stuck with the Cowboys through 2007, earning a promotion to vice president of college and pro scouting in 2005. Following that tenure, Ireland accepted the Miami Dolphins GM job in 2008 and served in the role through 2013.
However, after draft success in Dallas with finding players such as Roy Williams and Jason Witten, Ireland was not well received in Miami, as calls for his job began in 2011. Following his stint in Miami, Ireland made one stop as a draft consultant with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 before assuming his current role with the Saints in 2015.
In addition to not being received well in Miami, Ireland also asked Dez Bryant during the draft process if his mother was a prostitute. That led to questions about his character and even NFL players began calling out Ireland. This is certainly something the Bears need to keep in mind. However, Ireland's long connection to the Bears, as noted by Ian Rapoport, is something to keep in mind as well.
Matt Eberflus' coaching career began in 1992 at the college ranks. Eberflus spent most of his early coaching days in college, not jumping to the NFL until 2009. However, he served in various roles for Toledo from 1992-2000 before becoming Missouri's defensive coordinator in 2001, where he served until jumping to the NFL.
After two seasons as the Cleveland Browns linebackers coach, Eberflus assumed the same role in Dallas in 2011. In 2016, he continued as linebackers coach but also assumed the role of passing game coordinator. His success with Dallas in 2016 and 2017 in said role led to his hire with the Colts in 2018. He has served as their defensive coordinator ever since.
As noted by Rapoport, Ebeflus is one of the best defensive minds available. In George McCaskey's press conference, he addressed the idea of entertaining coaches with any football background. That statement bodes well for Eberflus considering many fans are likely hoping for an offensive coach. Although a name such as Brian Flores is on the market, Eberflus certainly can stand his own within this offseason's pool of potential coaching candidates. The success Indianapolis' defense has had in the last few seasons can be contributed to great drafting by the front office, but also great coaching by Eberflus and company.
What's On Tap Next?
The Bears still have a number of interviews to conduct with potential GM and head coaching candidates. That said, it's refreshing to see the Bears turning every stone as they attempt to find the best fit in Chicago going forward.