LAKE FOREST, Ill. — There will be someone else calling the defensive plays for the Bears on Sunday in their second game of the 2023 season.
On Friday, the team announced that coordinator Alan Williams will miss the game against the Buccaneers in Tampa due to personal reasons.
Because of this, head coach Matt Eberflus will fill in for him and make the defensive calls for the team, doing so for the first time since he joined the Bears before the 2022 season.
“It’s more about the operation of the game management side of it,” said Eberflus of the added play calling duties this week. “When offense is up, it will be normal business, with throwing challenge flags and being right there with (offensive coordinator) Luke (Getsy) and the offense. When the defense is up, I’ll be making the calls and when we’re off the field to make the corrections pretty quick.
“The guys on the sideline are going to help me do that with the players and really, from there, setting up the next series, what’s coming the next series with those guys, so we can communicate that.
“From there, it’s just normal.”
Eberflus doesn’t have a timetable for Williams’ return to the team, but he’s no stranger to making defensive playcalling in football. Most recently, he did so as the defensive coordinator for the Colts from 2018 through 2021.
When he took over the Bears’ head coaching job, it was decided that he would hand playcalling duties to Williams, whom he hired as the defensive coordinator.
During his news conference on Friday, Eberflus was asked why he didn’t give the playcalling to one of his other defensive assistants for Sunday.
“Just what’s best for us,” said Eberflus. “We just think that’s the best way to go for our defense and really for our football team. That’s why we made that decision.”