Bears’ ad­di­tion of new DC Pagano looks like a home run

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS -

The Bears have a gen­eral man­ager and head coach who ap­par­ently are both very com­fort­able in their own skins.

Chuck Pagano wasn’t only one of the hottest de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor prospects avail­able, he was viewed by a num­ber of my sources as a head coach­ing can­di­date when the NFL’s 2019 job fair opened.

Pagano was a suc­cess­ful head coach in In­di­anapo­lis who won divi­sion ti­tles and play­off games be­fore his G.M.’s — Ryan Grig­son — and his in­abil­ity to get along be­came too much for ei­ther to over­come.

Still, Pagano left Indy fol­low­ing the 2017 sea­son with a win­ning record, the re­spect of most of his peers and a ton of front of­fice folks around the league.

While I think the world of Pagano, Grig­son is also a friend and long time ac­quain­tance so I’m not the one to de­ter­mine whether one or the other was more re­spon­si­ble for their un­pleas­ant divorce.

What is not open to de­bate though is after giv­ing Pagano the in­valu­able gift of An­drew Luck, Grig­son missed on a num­ber of high draft picks mak­ing it harder and harder to com­pete.

What is also not de­bat­able is, know­ing Pagano’s his­tory of a less than suc­cess­ful G.M. re­la­tion­ship in In­di­anapo­lis, it would have been easy for Pace to sug­gest to Nagy they not bring that ex­pe­ri­ence to Chicago.

Ap­par­ently, all Pace wanted was the best guy for the job — and Pagano might be that and more.

Nagy also scores very high marks for mov­ing im­me­di­ately from Vic to a guy in Pagano who has far more head coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence than him, more gold stars on his re­sume and should the Bears fall on hard times, a guy some would look to as his po­ten­tial re­place­ment.

This is just an­other ex­am­ple of why Bears fans should feel so con­fi­dent there is lit­tle chance the 2019 Bears will be the 2018 Jack­sonville Jaguars.

The Jags had some nice young pieces but the Bears are younger, more tal­ented and Mitch Tru­bisky is much more ex­cit­ing and promis­ing than Blake Bor­tles.

And they’ve now proven again that Pace and Nagy are very much part­ners in their quest for the golden rings. How Tom Cough­lin feels about his G.M., David Cald­well and head coach Doug Mar­rone is any­body’s guess.

These Bears ap­pear to be in very good hands at the top in the front of­fice and on the field, and now on de­fense again as well.

Ed Donatell would have been a very good choice, but he didn’t bring the chops Pagano does.

It will be a huge loss if Donatell can’t be re­tained as sec­ondary coach, which seems likely now after he de­vel­oped All Pros Kyle Fuller, Ed­die Jack­son and fu­ture star Bryce Cal­la­han.

But guess what? Pagano made his bones as a sec­ondary coach teach­ing the likes of sure Hall of Famer Ed Reed in Bal­ti­more be­fore he be­came the Ravens D-co­or­di­na­tor in 2011 and over­saw a top-three NFL de­fense there.

And, if the Bears have to re­place Donatell, and pos­si­bly also very well re­spected D-line coach Jay Rodgers if the ru­mors are true about him and Donatell join­ing Fan­gio in Den­ver, Pace and Nagy will get help from the vet­eran Pagano who put to­gether an ex­cel­lent staff in Indy in­clud­ing his first hire, Bruce Ari­ans.

Pagano comes with a long ready list of qual­ity as­sis­tants.

Will the tran­si­tion be seam­less? Prob­a­bly not. Look at the dis­as­ter in 2007 with the Bears after Lovie Smith fired Ron Rivera and gave the job to Bob Babich to sooth Smith’s own ego.

But Babich, while one of the all time great guys, was nowhere near the DC can­di­date Pagano is, and ob­vi­ously Nagy doesn’t strug­gle with the same in­se­cu­ri­ties Lovie did.

We should all be sad to see Vic go, he was a one of a kind.

Pagano is more ag­gres­sive than Vic, prob­a­bly not the Mae­stro of zone cov­er­age Fan­gio was and will have to learn this Bears sec­ondary prob­a­bly isn’t as good in man if he wants to blitz more as it is in zone.

But he’s very smart, adapt­able, and these Bears ap­pear to be in very good hands with Pace and Nagy, and now Pagano too.

PHOTO BY TOMMY GILLIGAN

New Bears de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Chuck Pagano is pic­tured be­fore an In­di­an­po­lis Colts game in 2017.

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