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Bears, Matt Eberflus optimistic about starring role on 'Hard Knocks': 'We have a good thing going here'

In Chicago, there is nothing but optimism regarding the Bears.

They have a new franchise quarterback, their defense came around in the back half of last season, and a productive offseason has the team looking good on paper. HBO and NFL Films deemed that combination worthy of being documented in this year's edition of Hard Knocks.

After fighting off those who wanted him fired last season, coach Matt Eberflus is energized by the increased scrutiny in the form of documentarians prowling around the Lake Forest, Illinois facility. He sees it as a chance to introduce the world to the Bears.

"Hard Knocks, the big announcement yesterday, I talked to the team about that because I've been involved in that before, and I believe NFL Films and HBO do an outstanding job of getting their message out of the team," Eberflus, who served on Indianapolis' staff during its inclusion in Hard Knocks: In Season. "And we're going to be proud of that message, because I'm proud of these guys, and proud of this organization. We have a bunch of really good people in the building, not only the football players, but also the support staff 鈥 We have guys that love football, that love each other, and respect the game and play it the right way. So we're excited about getting that going."

As the buzz surrounding the Bears is at a high, Eberflus is confident the spotlight will shine positively on his team.

"We have a good thing going here," Eberflus said, "we've got a good brotherhood, a good mindset, obviously you guys have heard about our culture and how tight we are as a group, and that showed at the end of last year, it showed through adversity, and that's going to show again this year."

Eberflus was the Colts' defensive coordinator during the 2021 season, which saw Indianapolis finish painfully shy of the playoffs with a 9-8 record and the team's collapse showcased on Hard Knocks. That campaign preceded the total meltdown that was the 2022 season, in which Frank Reich was fired and replaced by interim coach Jeff Saturday.

By then, Eberflus had already left for Chicago. But the 2023 season seemed to be shaping up similarly for Eberflus -- that is, until his defense blossomed, making the Bears into a competitive, feisty bunch that also happened to own the No. 1 overall pick.

They've since spent it on USC star Caleb Williams, who has arrived to an offense that also features a number of key additions, with receiver Keenan Allen and running back D'Andre Swift leading the group of new faces. The selection of Washington receiver Rome Odunze filled out a depth chart that suddenly looks promising.

One might wonder why a coach armed with new toys and carrying plenty of pressure would want to participate in Hard Knocks. For Eberflus, the only difference is the cameras.

"Yeah, so I was the defensive coordinator at the time (in Indianapolis), and really it's the same message," Eberflus explained. "We had a real positive attitude about it, and we knew that we had good people in the building, and our message was going to be who we are and how we operated. No one changes how they act, no one changes what they do, we just focus on our job. And they're going to have the special interest stories that they do, which I think some of them are pretty good, and we have a lot of them here in this building, so I'm excited to see that."

Chicago will be loaded with storylines for NFL Films and HBO producers to track. From a television production standpoint, choosing the Bears was a no-brainer.

"It shows that we got something brewing here," Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds said. "Everybody wants to see what's going on."

They'll receive an up-close and personal look at all of the happenings inside Halas Hall come August.

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