After finishing with the #1 defense in the NFL, the Chicago Bears knew there would be a risk that their beloved defensive coordinator Vic Fangio might be gone. Though not a lot of teams came calling, it only takes one. The Denver Broncos, intrigued by his long run of success and experience, made him their next head coach. It marks the first time in a three-decade career that Fangio reached the mountaintop.
It’s well-deserved to be sure and he will be missed. Still, the Bears have no choice but to move forward. They have some good going on defense and they can’t afford to screw it up by hiring the wrong guy to run it with Fangio gone. They’ve already made that mistake before with the likes of Bob Babich and Mel Tucker.
Can Matt Nagy get it right? On paper, it would seem he most definitely has. Reports are flooding in that former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano will be assuming the vacant defensive coordinator job in Chicago. This not only brings the Bears welcome experience but also somebody who might alter their philosophy in a good way.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 12, 2019
Chicago Bears Chuck Pagano connection could reap big rewards
Pagano is mostly known for his head coaching stint from 2012 to 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts. During that time he went to the playoffs three-straight years including an AFC championship in 2014. He only had one losing season but it came at a bad time, resulting in his firing. Before that, though he was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2011.
That year the team finished 3rd in both total yards allowed and points allowed, making it all the way to the AFC championship game. All-Pro outside linebacker Terrell Suggs set a career-high with 14 sacks and the defense collected 15 interceptions and forced 23 fumbles. Pagano has a deep background in defensive backs, so one can imagine there won’t be any drop off with the Bears secondary moving forward.
So what should Bears fans expect?
Pagano is a 3-4 specialist so there won’t be any scheme changes. However, the philosophies may be a bit different. Fangio was known for his bend-don’t-break style built around sound discipline, keeping plays in front of you and stiffening in the red zone. That may not be the case with Pagano. One quote that stood out about him came from Suggs back when he left for Indianapolis.
“Chuck is unorthodox,” Suggs said. “He’s like the Joker. You never really expect what he’s going to do, and everything has a motive.”
He isn’t afraid to bring pressure and is known for his ability to relate to his players, teach them, and also has a keen attention to detail. Something he demands from all of his players. That is exactly the sort of thing that was true of Fangio as well. So one can safely say the Bears defense should be in good hands.