The Chicago Bears defensive coaching staff is undergoing some changes. Naturally it started at the top with Vic Fangio, the “godfather” of the defense, leaving for Denver to become head coach of the Broncos. He was replaced by former head coach Chuck Pagano, fresh off a one-year hiatus following his exit from Indianapolis in January of 2018.
As always, with new coordinators come likely changes to the defensive staff. Already outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley is out. Assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson is expected to follow in the coming days. There’s no telling who else might join them as Pagano continues to seek out possible names to join him.
Two surfaced during the weekend. The first was former All-Pro safety Ed Reed who has deep ties to Pagano from their time together at Miami and in Baltimore. The other was former coordinator Rob Ryan, son of Bears great Buddy Ryan. Now according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, there’s another name that could be in heavy consideration.
“Another name some wondered about is John Pagano, Chuck’s younger brother, who is a senior defensive assistant working with outside linebackers for the Texans. Whether or not he’s available remains to be seen. John Pagano also has been a coordinator previously with the Raiders and Chargers.”
John Pagano could add plenty of juice to Chicago Bears defensive staff
While not as lauded as his brother, John Pagano has been in the NFL for a long time dating back to 1996. Over that long span, he’s developed a strong reputation for coaching up the linebackers position. Among the long list of names he’s helped become Pro Bowlers include Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips, Melvin Ingram, and Joey Bosa. He even got a chance to work with Khalil Mack for a year in 2017 with the Raiders.
This past year he’s done work with the Houston Texans, helping Benardrick McKinney to reach his first career Pro Bowl. The familiarity with his brother makes it an obvious idea. However, the odds of him leaving Houston at this point are questionable. It would be a lateral move most likely to coach the outside linebackers, which means the Texans would have to grant permission.
Given the work he’s done for them to this point, that doesn’t feel likely to happen. Hence why the Bears might be looking to Ryan first. He has the added bonus of actually being available. Still, this will be an interesting name to watch.