Skip to main content

Matt Eberflus lays out the 4-step process to developing the ultimate player-coach relationship

Matt Eberflus cut his coaching teeth under coaches like Nick Saban, Gary Pinkel, Monte Kiffin, and Rod Marinelli and shares what they taught him about the player-coach relationship aspect of his coaching philosophy.

First-year Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has had quite the road to lead his own NFL franchise.

He played for Nick Saban and then Gary Pinkel at Toledo before starting his coaching career with Pinkel at Toledo and Missouri before breaking into the NFL ranks with the Browns, Cowboys and Colts.

In Indianapolis, he had joined Josh McDaniels staff in 2018 and was in Indy when McDaniels backed out of his deal to become the team's head coach. Thankfully, Eberflus had developed a solid relationship with Colts GM Chris Ballard, who told him he had a spot on the staff, and then Eberflus really hit it off with new head coach Frank Reich and became his defensive coordinator.

After a few seasons doing impressive work with the Colts defense, Eberflus earned his head coaching opportunity in Chicago and recently joined the Rich Eisen show to talk about his coaching journey and overall philosophy.

One of the more interesting parts of the interview was when Eberflus had the opportunity to talk about how important the coach-player relationship is and how cultivating that really comes down to four key areas.

Those four areas? Model. Inspire. Challenge. Encourage.

"I believe in this. I believe in the coach and player relationship. I think that's very important to get the best out of players, you really have to have that."

"Well how do you do that? There's really four different ways."

"You model the behavior that you want to see as a coach. You do that with the player, and then the player does that for everyone else. In that, when you model, you also inspire guys. You inspire them to act and do right and work extremely hard.

The next thing is that you challenge. You have to challenge them, and how you do that is you do that in a respectful way.

"So you model, you inspire, you challenge, and at the end of the day, football is hard and it's difficult and the last thing you've got to do is you have to encourage. Encourage yourself to keep going, and encourage others around you."

"That's really my coaching philsophy and the product that you'll see on the field," he ends the interview sharing.

Hear more from Eberflus in the clip.