PALM BEACH, Fla. – During a media session this week at the NFL owners meetings, coach Matt Eberflus was asked about the three unrestricted free agents the Bears have added to their defense: End Al-Quadin Muhammad, tackle Justin Jones and linebacker Nicholas Morrow.
Bears players eager to know what to expect from Eberflus will have a valuable resource in Muhammad. The free-agent acquisition arrives in Chicago after spending the last four seasons playing on a Colts defense that was coordinated by Eberflus.
"He not only knows what we're going to do, but he knows how we do it," Eberflus said. "The way we practice, he's going to be the example of how we do things. We all look at it and say, 'hey, how do you do something,' whatever the skill is. When you sit there and watch somebody do it, you're going, 'OK, I know how to do that.'
"That's going to be a really important piece for our team to be able to see that. There are other guys that are great workers that are already on the squad. We'll just challenge them and push them and let them know what the standards are, and then uphold them to the standards and then move forward."
Muhammad played in 64 games with 25 starts for the Colts, compiling 124 tackles, 11.0 sacks, 22 tackles-for-loss, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
The 6-4, 250-pounder was selected by New Orleans in the sixth round of the 2017 draft out of Miami and played in four games as a rookie, all as a reserve, recording four tackles. He was claimed by the Colts off waivers from the Saints prior to the start of the 2018 season.
Last year was Muhammad's first as a regular starter; he opened all 17 games and compiled career highs with 48 tackles and 6.0 sacks while also amassing seven tackles-for-loss.
“He not only knows what we’re going to do, but he knows how we do it.” Bears coach Matt Eberflus on DE Al-Quadin Muhammad
Jones told reporters a couple weeks ago that he was going to sign with the Colts before receiving a phone call from Eberflus, who convinced him to join the Bears.
Asked how he was able to sway Jones, Eberflus said: "You look at what the man can do physically and how he fits into your defense, and you just talk to him about that. I think he was excited when we talked about that. I go back to my college recruiting days of 18 years or 17 years, whatever it was. I was excited for him because it's a good fit."
Jones was selected by the Chargers in the third round of the 2018 draft out of North Carolina State. He played in 51 games with 35 starts the past four seasons, recording 63 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 12 tackles-for-loss, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
After appearing in 15 games as a rookie in 2018, all as a reserve, Jones opened 35 of the 36 games he played over the past three seasons. Last year the 6-3, 309-pounder established career highs with 37 tackles and 3.0 sacks and matched a career high with five tackles-for-loss.
Eberflus is eager to begin working with Morrow, who signed with the Bears March 18.
The 6-foot, 225-pounder spent his first five NFL seasons with the Raiders, originally signing in 2017 as an undrafted free agent from Greenville University, which is located in southern Illinois about 50 miles east of St. Louis.
Morrow returns after missing all of last season with an ankle injury. Hurt in a joint training camp workout with the Rams, he returned to practice prior to the Raiders' wild-card loss to the Bengals but did not play in the game.
Morrow appeared in 62 games with 29 starts his first four seasons, compiling 254 tackles, 20 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks, two interceptions, 20 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
"His résumé is the tape," Eberflus said. "Worker. Prepares. Very smart. You can see the athleticism on tape, his ability to cover in space. He can cover a lot of ground, cover tight ends, cover backs. So he's an exciting piece to add."