Colts would be crazy to let Matt Eberflus leave for head coaching job

Colts DC Matt Eberflus (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Colts DC Matt Eberflus (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Matt Eberflus has been extremely valuable to the Colts. The team cannot let him leave.

The Colts’ strength has gone from a high-scoring offense to a swarming defense in what feels like the blink of an eye. Players such as Darius Leonard, Khari Willis, Julian Blackmon, and Bobby Okereke have turned out to shine on a young defense, but one could argue defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is the most important piece.

Eberflus was also a big part of the DeForest Buckner trade in the offseason that has elevated this unit in a colossal way. A lot of credit goes to Chris Ballard for drafting the players, but Eberflus has put these guys in the right position to succeed.

Eberflus was hired in 2018 from the Cowboys, where he was the linebackers coach and couldn’t get a promotion. The Colts have been one of the top defenses in the league since he took the job in Indy.

Not only has Eberflus been a big part of the development of young players, but he’s also a leader on this team. Watching the interviews with the media, you can tell he has a passion for the game and is constantly pushing his defense to be better. He’s also the first to criticize and call out players who don’t perform well and light a fire under them.

How good has he been, exactly? In 2017, the Colts finished 4-12 while allowing nearly 26 points per game (30th in the NFL). They also ranked 30th in rushing defense and 28th in passing defense. The Colts allowed 30+ points in four games, including two above 40.

After hiring Eberflus, the Colts finished 10th in total scoring defense, improving their points per game to 21. They also finished 10th in total defense, bolstered their red zone defense from 28th to 11th, and improved their record to 10-6. That season, Anthony Walker and Darius Leonard combined for 270 tackles and eight sacks while Leonard won Defensive Rookie of the Year.

In 2019, the Colts improved yet again in the rushing defense category, ranking sixth in the NFL. Although the passing defense fell to 18th, that should have been expected due to the losses of Vontae Davis and Pierre Desir. However, the young talent was brought in, and it changed the game. The Colts defense ranked first in the NFL through the first 10 weeks of 2020.

As you can see, Eberflus is invaluable to the Colts’ success, and allowing him to leave for a head coaching job would be a major mistake. We know that’s sometimes out of the organization’s control, but Reich and Ballard need to do everything in their power to ensure Eberflus remains with the team as this roster continues to flourish into a Super Bowl contender.