Chicago Bears DC Chuck Pagano spoke with the media and these are the takeaways.
Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano had big shoes to fill when he took over the defensive coordinator job. He replaced Vic Fangio, who was known as one of the best defensive minds in the NFL.
Fangio took over a Bears defense that fell to embarrassingly low levels. The defense was always a staple for the Chicago Bears franchise, but it was a mess when Fangio took over. In 2014, the season before Fangio became the Bears’ defensive coordinator, the defense ranked 31st in points allowed and 30th in total yards allowed, rankings fans and experts alike weren’t used to seeing from Chicago. Here is how the defense progressed with him:
- 2015 rankings – Total points: 20th, Total yards: 14th
- 2016 rankings – Total points: 24th, Total yards: 15th
- 2017 rankings – Total points: 9th, Total yards: 10th
- 2018 rankings – Total points: 1st, Total yards: 3rd
As you see, Fangio did a great job of getting the defense back to the top, where people expect it to be. In his final season in Chicago, the Bears defense was the most dominant defense in the NFL.
As I mentioned, Pagano had big shoes to fill. In his first season on the job, he did a pretty good job, though. Many people expected regression from the defense. The defense wasn’t as dominant as it was in 2018, but injuries were a big reason why. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and linebacker Danny Trevathan missed 18 games combined. Linebacker Roquan Smith was on his way to having a bigger season than he had in his 2018 rookie campaign before a torn pectoral muscle forced him to miss the final three games of the season.
Despite dealing with injuries and having his players adjust to his system, Pagano’s defense still performed well. The unit ranked fourth in points allowed and eighth in yards allowed. The defense allowed 17.7 points per game in 2018 and 18.6 in 2019. That isn’t much of a difference, especially with the injuries Pagano’s unit dealt with.
Now, with all his players healthy, and with new additions, we should expect some big things from Pagano’s defense. If the players stay healthy this could be a more dominant defense than the one in 2018.
Pagano met with the media recently. Here are some highlights from that presser.