It's proven an arduous week for the Chicago Bears, who on Wednesday dealt with both the surprising resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams and with the media firestorm from quarterback Justin Fields seeming to connect coaching to his "robotic" play.
Head coach Matt Eberflus, in charge of a team that's already dealing with the crunch of an 0-2 start, hopes taking over as defensive play-caller helps alleviate some of that stress.
"This is the best thing for right now," Eberflus said Friday of running the defense, per ESPN. "I think that's where it is. It's the best thing for our football team and for our organization. That's where we see it, and that's where it is."
Eberflus considers serving as the de facto defensive coordinator a "natural fit," and he has the resume to believe so after spending four years as Indianapolis' DC from 2018-2021. The Colts finished in the top 10 in scoring defense three times and never fell below the league average (16th) in yards surrendered under his orchestration.
It was that experience that netted him the Bears job in the first place, and it will be that experience he leans on to rectify Chicago's so-far-listless operation, which ranks 31st in points allowed two weeks into the 2023 season.
The process figures to be smoother moving forward. Ebeflus called plays on shorter notice in last Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Buccaneers, before Williams' one-game absence turned into a resignation.
"Obviously, I was with him four years, five years," Eberflus said of Williams, his DC in Chicago and defensive backs coach in Indy. "I have a lot of friendship. I have feelings for him. And again, he's resigned and it's for health and family, and we'll see where it goes from there."
As for Fields' comments pointing to coaching as a possible reason for overthinking on the field, Eberflus remains firmly in his franchise signal-caller's corner, just as he was earlier this week.
Fields has been under some fire after struggling to the tune of 427 passing yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and a 70.7 passer rating. It's by no means been all on him, but the 24-year-old has occasionally looked lost in the pocket, and has already taken 10 sacks.
He made the initial remarks about his performance Wednesday, before speaking with reporters a second time post-practice to clarify he assigns no fault to his coaches. During that impromptu availability, Fields said he takes "all the blame" for anything that goes wrong and needs to "play better -- that's it, point blank."
Neither Eberflus nor general manager Ryan Poles publicly took any issue with anything that was said.
"Hey, that's the way he felt," Eberflus said Friday, touching again on Fields. "He felt that was the right thing to do. I always tell them, 'Hey, if you think something's right and you want do right, step up and do it. If you see something that's wrong, something that you can help with, step up and say it.' That's how you be a leader. That's how you be a man, and a team."
Heading into the weekend, things appear to be calming down, with Eberflus taking on defensive duties and Fields on the same page with his coaches.
That won't necessarily make getting off the schneid any easier -- Chicago travels to Kansas City on Sunday to face the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.