The Chicago Bears took their time, but they finally found the man they believe can carry the success of their defense forward. After a year off from coaching this past season, Chuck Pagano will return to the sidelines as their new defensive coordinator. He replaces former colleague Vic Fangio whom he actually worked with for two years in Baltimore from 2008 to 2009.
Pagano only has one year of coordinating experience in his career, but it was a good one. In 2011, he helped the Baltimore Ravens finished 4th in the league against the pass and 2nd against the run. This helped him become head coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. There he would lead them to the three playoff appearances including an AFC championship berth in 2014.
He was fired after a 4-12 season in 2017 and since then has awaited his next opportunity. The Bears job opened up, the team seeking an experienced coach with a 3-4 background. It was a natural fit and after an interview on Friday, they didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. With the process concluded, the questions now abound.
Who is Pagano? What exactly are the Bears getting? If you want an idea, just see what a former assistant who worked with him told Sports Mockery.
Former Ravens assistant Todd Washington offers a glimpse into Chuck Pagano
Curious about who the Bears might be getting as their new defensive coordinator, I reached out to somebody who actually got a chance to work with him. Todd Washington, now working in the upstart Alliance of American Football as the tackles coach for the Orlando Apollos, was the Baltimore Ravens assistant offensive line coach in 2011.
So he had a relationship with Pagano during that season. When I asked about the type of person and coach he is, Washington had plenty to say.
“Chuck is a hell of a coach. A great defensive mind. He can relate to players. A great sense of humor…extremely competitive. I’m excited to see what happens.”
He wasn’t done.
He actually had a phenomenal story about one of the first impressions Pagano made on him, and it came after the first game of the season. Baltimore had just concluded a pasting of the rival Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7. The Ravens ran for 170 yards in that game. Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns and was only sacked once. Washington was a big part of that thanks to an outstanding performance by the offensive line. So what happened after that?
“The next day, I see a gallon of Crown Royal on my desk and a note, ‘Congratulations on your first win. Those guys played their asses off. So damn proud of you.’ – Chuck. That’s Chuck Pagano”
That sounds totally awesome and an inside look into the type of man Pagano is. He appreciates the effort that’s involved from everybody no matter their level of employment on the team. It’s little wonder he became a head coach so quickly and had a lot of success. Sounds like the Bears defense will be in good hands.