Chuck Pagano knows he’s inherited a pretty good situation with the Chicago Bears. They have the best defense in the NFL, so talent won’t be a big problem. His job will be to see how he can shake out a proper coaching staff in order to make that talent as good or even better than it was this past year.
There have already been rumors about possible upcoming changes involving names like Ed Reed and Rob Ryan. Neither is a sure thing which means there may yet be other possibilities out there. This is before pondering where the Bears may yet keep certain coaches on the staff.
If Pagano does play to make a change, which seems likely, here are a few names he’s connected to from the past that might end up being quality additions to the staff in the even the Bears are able to get them.
Pagano crossed paths with Pendergast for the first time back in 2003. That year they were both on the coaching staff for the Cleveland Browns with Pagano running the secondary and Pendergast the linebackers. Since then the 51-year old has had an extensive career bouncing between the NFL and college ranks. He was defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals for four years, during which they reached the Super Bowl in 2008.
He then went to Cal where he had a solid run as their defensive coordinator, moved to USC in 2013, jumped to San Francisco in 2014 and 2015 and returned to USC in 2016 where he’s been since. Pendergast has had a hand in developing some notable NFL talents including Roy Williams, Adrian Wilson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eric Reid, Cameron Jordan, and Leonard Williams.
A man who has been around the game for a long time. Mattison was with Pagano in Baltimore from 2008 to 2010 as first the linebackers coach then defensive coordinator. He eventually went down to Michigan to become their defensive coordinator. Eventually he was demoted to defensive line coach in 2015, a position he held until the end of this past season.
Across that time, the man has helped produce some top quality NFL talents including star Seahawks pass rusher Frank Clark and Raiders standout rookie Maurice Hurst. Going back much further the list also includes Patriots hero Ty Law, Giants legend Justin Tuck, and Pro Bowler Reggie Nelson.
When it comes to being a defensive coordinator, Manusky has a somewhat bland reputation. He has some good moments but has otherwise been average. When it comes to coaching linebackers though? This is something he’s excelled at. Pagano knows. It’s a big reason he made Manusky defensive coordinator in Indianapolis for four years.
Among the long list of notable names Manusky turned into studs include Lavar Arrington, Donnie Edwards, Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips, Patrick Willis, Jerrell Freeman, and D’Qwell Jackson. There is no denying he has a certain touch for the position and could do wonders for Roquan Smith in his continued ascent to the top.
Pagano met up with Monachino for the first time in 2010 when he joined the Ravens staff. Apparently, he made an impression because five years later Pagano lured him away to become defensive coordinator in Indianapolis. While still a young coach, the guy did do something that seemed almost impossible at the time. He helped the Ravens transition out of the Ray Lewis era without missing a beat.
His work helped turn C.J. Mosley into an immediate Pro Bowler in 2014 while also getting a career-high 17 sacks out of Elvis Dumervil that same year. Then with the Colts, despite being handed an atrocious roster, he got 108 tackles out of Antonio Morrison and 97 from Jon Bostic in 2017. The guy knows his stuff.