Losing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to a head coaching job was something that should not have been a surprise to anyone. It happens every year. Teams that rise like the Bears did this year always see some of their coaching talent poached by other teams.
With the importance the defense plays in the overall success of the team, the Bears can’t go out and grab anyone to take over their defense. They need to find someone that can not only maintain the level of excellence that was displayed this year but make it better.
They appear to have found the person they believe is right for the job—former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.
We have hired Chuck Pagano as our defensive coordinator.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 12, 2019
Pagano is known best for the six seasons (2012-17) he served as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He inherited a team that had gone 2-14 the year before and turned them into an 11-5 in his first year. They would go onto to win the division over the next two seasons.
But then injuries to key players and poor personnel decisions caught up with the team. They stumbled through two 8-8 seasons, but a 4-12 season in 2017 did him in.
He did not coach last year but did work as a consultant for the league.
Prior to his stint with the Colts, he made his name as a defensive coach. After several years in the college ranks, he coached the defensive backs for the Cleveland Browns (2001-04) and Oakland Raiders (2005-06).
After going back to the college ranks for a year, he returned to the NFL in 2008 as the secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens (2008-10). When the previous defensive coordinator left to take the same job under Brady Hoke at Michigan, the door opened for Pagano to get his first shot as a defensive coordinator in the NFL.
Under Pagano in 2011, the Ravens defense was third in points allowed, third in total yards allowed, fourth against the pass, and second against the run. With the Bears defense, he inherits a unit that was first in points allowed, third in total yards allowed, seventh against the pass, and first against the run.
If he just maintains the status quo, fans will be happy with him. But if he can make them better? Opposing fans will loathe him while Bears fans will love him.