Chuck Pagano is the new defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. Thinking that this would be the only change going into the offseason would be foolish though. Every new coach wants to work with his own people so it’s only natural that there would be changes among the assistants as well. As great as they were in 2018, nothing stays the same for long in the NFL.

It’s happening already. Ed Donatell is no longer under contract as secondary coach and seems like a long shot to return. He’ll be joined by outside linebackers coach Bradon Staley who was granted his release. Pagano clearly has ideas in mind for what he wants to do and requires the right people on board to do it.

The question is who? Already there are rumors he may try to bring in future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed as a defensive backs coach. However, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune is hearing a different name. This one is the replacement for Staley.

“A source said the rumor making the rounds in league circles is that Rob Ryan, the son of Buddy Ryan, architect of the 1985 Bears defense, could be hired as the replacement for Staley.”

Rob Ryan has consistently proven a master of molding edge rushers

Now a lot of people aren’t fans of Ryan. Mostly because he’s a lot like his father in that he’s bombastic and can be a bit much at times. He also has a rather uneven reputation as a defensive coordinator, having some great years intermixed with some truly awful ones. Even so, there is one thing people cannot argue about the man.

He knows how to get the most out of his pass rushers. If a team actually gives him talent on the edges, he’s shown time after time for many years that he will show them how to get to the quarterback more than they ever have in their careers. If you don’t believe it, just look at some of the numbers from notable names who played for him.

  • Derrick Burgess – 16 sacks in 2005 (career-high)
  • DeMarcus Ware – 19.5 sacks in 2011 (.5 sack short of career-high)
  • Anthony Spencer – 11 sacks in 2012 (career-high)
  • Cameron Jordan – 12.5 sacks in 2013 (career-high at the time)
  • Junior Gallette – 12 sacks in 2013 (career-high)
  • Lorenzo Alexander – 12.5 sacks in 2016 (career-high)

One or two instances of success can be explained away. Ryan did it at four different locations. This isn’t even counting his four-year stint with the New England Patriots as their linebackers coach when they won two Super Bowls. This guy is decorated, experienced, and very good at what he’ll be asked to do, which is turn those outside linebackers into headhunters.

It’s scary to think that after what Khalil Mack just did this season that he might actually become even more dangerous in 2019. To say nothing of all the good things that Ryan’s presence might do for Leonard Floyd. Hats off to Pagano. Reputation doesn’t matter. He sees a good football coach in Ryan and knows exactly where to put him.