A couple days ago it looked like new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy had accomplished his first major task. That was finding a way to convince defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to return. He was aided by the sudden closure of several other opportunities including Baltimore and Green Bay, considered two most likely landing spots for the 59-year old. At that point a deal felt like a foregone conclusion.
However things change fast in the NFL. Optimism remains high that a contract is eventually struck but the longer this plays out, the more nervous people get. It’s likely the continued stall is over money issues. That and the new complication of the Seattle Seahawks firing their defensive coordinator. Fangio has deep familiarity with that organization from his time San Francisco.
Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog, the same man who first broke whispers of the Harry Hiestand and Mark Helfrich hires, indicated that the two camps have reached a snafu. Belief is it’s coming from Fangio’s end.
Two people close to the situation have told me the Bears are frustrated with Vic Fangio & his camp. Belief is he still has eyes for other potential gigs. There's a "shit or get off the pot" vibe.
But I still think it happens.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) January 11, 2018
There’s been no indication that the pendulum has begun to swing a new direction. However, history says the risk is there. If the Bears are smart they’d at least be starting to explore other possibilities in the event Fangio changes his mind.
Whispers hint Bears have a couple Vic Fangio contingencies in mind
Details are difficult to come by but a source did tell me that feelers have been sent out by Halas Hall to a number of different camps. Two names that stuck out? Chuck Pagano and Greg Schiano. Pagano is the former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Prior to that though he had a successful season as defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, his unit finishing 3rd overall. He shares a connection with Nagy through former Andy Reid assistant John Harbaugh.
Schiano fulfills two criteria of focus that Nagy has demonstrated the past few days. He’s an accomplished college coach at a major program and he’s got a background working for the Bears. Schiano was an assistant coach under Dave Wannstedt from 1996 through 1998. The past two years he’s been defensive coordinator at Ohio State. His unit finished 9th overall this season and 4th in 2016.
While neither of those options can be considered as proven at the NFL level as Fangio, they certainly bring some credibility to the job. Still, fans should hope that the Bears are able to work through the lingering snag in negotiations. Fangio is worth the price. His defense matched with the potential of that Nagy offense give this team its best shot to make the playoffs in years.
Even so if the negotiations continue to draft those “explorations” could become pursuits in a hurry.