Ranking NFC North head coaches before 2024 free agency

Here's how the four coaches stack up.
Connecticut v Marquette
Connecticut v Marquette / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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4. Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears

They lost 14 in a row. Sometimes it's just really that simple. And frankly, Eberflus is probably lucky to still be coaching the Bears – there were a lot of credible rumors from credible reporters in Chicago that his return wasn't anywhere close to a sure thing as late in the season as Thanksgiving.

To his credit, the Bears' defense turned into one of the best units in the league when Eberflus took over for defensive coordinator Alan Williams, who mysteriously resigned for personal reasons in late September. But that also highlights the fact that Williams was the second coach under Eberflus to leave the team for vague reasons (running backs coach David Walker was also dismissed for failing to uphold team standards "on and off the field"), which doesn't look great.

That's sort of the rub on Eberflus: he could be one of the best defensive coordinators in football, and not a whole lot more. And now that he's going to go into 2024 with "his guy" at QB, whoever that is, the clock's officially ticking. He's not comically bad in the way that some of last year's coaches were, but given the choice, most people would pick all 3 other NFC North coaches over him.

3. Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

It's tough to judge O'Connell too harshly yet, as the former Rams offensive coordinator has only been the Vikings head coach for two years. As promised, the offense has been there: they've been a top-10 unit, yardage-wise, in each season, and have finished 4th in total touchdown passes in both as well; Cousins has played some of the best football of his career under O'Connell's offense.

But, like previously mentioned, Cousins may be off to Atlanta, which will be the first real test of what O'Connell can do. Can a mediocre veteran be as proficient? Can they figure out how to refresh a rushing game that was one of the league's worst last season? (28th in attempts, 29th in yards, 30th in TDs) It's not that O'Connell is bad, it's just that no one really knows what he is yet.