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Edmunds excited to reunite with Washington

Maine:Washington2

New Bears defensive coordinator Eric Washington possesses excellent leadership skills, a passion for the game and a keen attention-to-detail.

At least that's how Bears middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds described Washington this week based on their three seasons together with the Bills.

Edmunds signed with the Bears last year after spending his first five NFL seasons in Buffalo. From 2020-23, Washington served as the Bills' defensive line coach, doubling as a senior defensive assistant in 2022.

"He was with the D-line, but it was good just seeing the leadership that he brought, seeing how he got guys ready to play, seeing how he developed some of the young guys," Edmunds told ChicagoBears.com. "You can just tell through the production that they had in Buffalo, it just speaks to who he is as a man and as a coach."

In 2021, the Bills led the NFL in points allowed per game (17.0) for the first time in franchise history and also ranked first in total yards (272.8) and passing yards (163.0). The defense helped Buffalo win its last four games by registering 19 sacks. In 2022, the Bills finished second in the league in points permitted (17.8).

" … I know the leader that he is, I know the man that he is, and I know guys will be locked in and listen to what he has to say." Tremaine Edmunds on Eric Washington

Edmunds recalls being inspired when Washington addressed the defense.

"Each coach would go up and do their presentations throughout the week and everybody knew when coach E went up there, he'd come with the energy and knew exactly what he was talking about," Edmunds said. "You could just feel the room get energized and you could see guys were locked in."

Edmunds believes that Washington's greatest strength is his character, something the coach routinely displayed when speaking to players about their lives and families.

"Just being able to come to you man-to-man and have that connection and be able to just feel when somebody is real, I think that's definitely a big positive in what he does," Edmunds said. "That goes a long way with a player, asking about life off the field, asking about who you are as a human being."

Washington, 54, boasts 16 years of NFL coaching experience, beginning with the Bears as a defensive assistant (2008-09) and defensive line coach (2010). Between his stints with the Bears and Bills, he worked with the Panthers as defensive line coach (2011-17) and defensive coordinator (2018-19).

With Washington joining coach Matt Eberflus' staff, Edmunds is confident that a Bears defense that took major strides over the second half of the 2023 season will take the next step. The unit allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL (86.4 per game) and tied for the league lead with 22 interceptions.

"Putting guys in position to make plays definitely excites me just because I know the leader that [Washington] is, I know the man that he is, and I know guys will be locked in and listen to what he has to say," Edmunds said. "I think he'll make a lot of guys better. Guys are going to be able to feel the passion that he has.

"As a player, you're going to want to play harder. When you have somebody like that in that position, you're not going to want to let that person down. He possesses all those traits, and I think guys will feel that. You'll be able to tell everything is real, everything is genuine, and he truly wants the best out of each and every player."

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