Chicago Bears president Kevin Warren sent head coach Matt Eberflus a serious message Friday. Warren spoke to the media about a few issues facing the team this offseason.
The two biggest questions in the offseason will be the status of Eberflus and quarterback Justin Fields. Eberflus was on the hot seat when the Bears started 0-4, but the team has rebounded and won four of their previous five games.
Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network reported last weekend the Bears were leaning towards retaining Eberflus for the 2024 season if the team had a “strong finish” to end the season. The Bears defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17, but they have a big game against the Green Bay Packers to finish the season Sunday.
The Bears will try to play spoiler against the Packers, who only need to beat Chicago to make the playoffs. The outcome of the game weighs heavily on the front office’s mind regarding Eberflus.
The Chicago Bears send a message to Matt Eberflus
Reporters asked Warren Friday if Eberflus would return to coach the Bears in 2024. According to Courtney Cronin with ESPN, Warren was noncommittal towards Eberflus. Warren reiterated the sentiment in Rapoport’s report that the Bears need to finish the season strong:
Kevin Warren when asked whether Matt Eberflus will return in 2024: “As we’ve said all along, we just continually will stay focused on finishing the season strong, take a big picture, methodical look at everything. I’m looking forward to heading to Green Bay tomorrow. Hopefully the team can keep playing well.”
Warren added he was happy with the state of the Bears, including how hard players were competing and the intensity being given at practice:
“I’m very pleased with the energy of our team, and it’s not only on game day. It’s around the practice facility, around Halas Hall. Just the energy. You all see it in the locker room. Guys are playing hard, they’re competing and so we’ll continually just build forward as a franchise.
I’m just really energized as a franchise of where we are, with what we have going on with the stadium, what we have going on internally, just building our brand and what we have going on with our football team.”
Kevin Warren when asked whether Matt Eberflus will return in 2024: "As we’ve said all along, we just continually will stay focused on finishing the season strong, take a big picture, methodical look at everything. I’m looking forward to heading to Green Bay tomorrow. Hopefully…
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 5, 2024
Ryan Poles wants the Chicago Bears to finish strong
Warren’s statement reinforces general manager Ryan Poles’ previous statement before the Falcons game. According to Dan Wiederer with the Chicago Tribune, Poles and another Bears source said the Packers game is an essential for the Eberflus regime:
Before last week’s game, Poles spoke on the Bears pregame show on WMVP-AM 1000 and emphasized his desire for the team to “finish this season on a high note” while also vowing “to take a step back and look at everything in its totality to make sound decisions” after the season.
The season ends with what one source called “a moment” for the Bears — a bright-lights game at Lambeau Field with legitimate stakes for both teams. For the Packers, a victory means a playoff berth. For the Bears, an upset could be the closing argument Eberflus needs to stick around.
Eberflus future doesn’t seem written in stone heading into Week 18. How the Bears finish against the Packers will likely determine if he returns in 2024.
And it should.
The Bears need to prove they can beat better competition, and a win over a Packers team fighting to get into the playoffs is a good gauge for the front office. Bears ownership was unhappy after the team’s embarrassing loss to the Packers in Week 1. Another loss to the Packers is a major red flag for Eberflus.
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