MOBILE, Ala. — New head coach Matt Eberflus won’t be calling the Bears’ defensive plays, but he’s bringing in a respected assistant who will. Alan Williams, the Colts’ safeties coach the last four seasons under Eberflus, was named the Bears’ defensive coordinator on Wednesday.
Williams will run Eberflus’ 4-3, Cover 2 scheme, and the head coach has vowed to let him call the plays so Eberflus can focus on the entire team. That’s a departure from Matt Nagy, who insisted on calling his own offensive plays upon the Bears hiring him four years ago.
The 52-year-old Williams has spent the last 21 years in the NFL. He was the Vikings’ defensive coordinator from 2012-13 and was the Lions’ defensive backs/safeties coach from 2014-17. He worked for the Colts before and after, first as the defensive backs coach from 2002-11 and then as the safeties coach starting in 2018, when Eberflus was named defensive coordinator.
Eberflus and new general manager Ryan Poles began to fill the team’s coaching staff Wednesday before they boarded a flight to the Senior Bowl. Williams, who is well-respected in the league, had been considered the favorite to land the job.
“Alan has really good command of the whole picture,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said Tuesday. “Alan is fast on his feet as a thinker. Listening, being on the headset and hearing ‘Flus’ call the defenses, interact with the defensive staff, hearing Alan’s input, hearing the dialogue between he and Flus, how dynamic it was, how much ‘Flus’ trusted him over those four years seeing that relationship develop.
“I just think Alan has great energy on the field. Watching Alan run drills on the field, he’s got good energy, good body language, got a good positive vibe to him, can connect. So Alan’s an excellent football coach.”
After being in the middle of the pack in 2012 — the Vikings allowed the 16th-fewest points and 14th-fewest yards — Williams’ team allowed the most points and second-most yards in the NFL. Leslie Frazier’s staff was fired after the 2013 season.
Eberflus and Williams are importing another former Colts coach, Dave Borgonzi, to be in ,charge of the team’s linebackers. He spent the last four seasons in the same role in Indianapolis and coached alongside Eberflus for three years in Dallas, when he was both an offensive and defensive assistant. Borgonzi coached under Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay from 2014-15. With the Colts, he helped develop star linebacker Darius Leonard. Borgonzi’s brother, Mike, worked closely with Poles in the Chiefs’ front office.
Eberflus picked an offensive line coach, too — Chris Morgan, the assistant offensive line coach for the Steelers last year and the offensive line coach for the Falcons from 2015-20. In Atlanta, Morgan ran outside zone concepts from the Shanahan coaching tree from which new Bears coordinator Luke Getsy sprung. The Bears considered the offensive line coaching role critical to their team; Poles and assistant GM Ian Cunningham are both former linemen.
The Bears will continue to fill out their coaching staff this week. NFL Network reported Wednesday night the Bears were expected to hire Giants receivers coach Tyke Tolbert as their receivers coach/pass-game coordinator. Tolbert has coached receivers for the Giants for four years, the Broncos for seven, the Panthers and Cardinals for one apiece and the Bills for six. He interviewed for the Vikings’ offensive coordinator job a year ago.
The Bears interviewed Joe Brady on Tuesday but he is set to become the Bills’ quarterbacks coach, a source confirmed.