The Chicago Bears’ defense is earning its place among the best in the league and it could result in their defensive coordinator getting some serious recognition (woohoo!) … by way of interviews for potential head-coach openings (oh…).
In Jay Glazer’s mailbag over at The Athletic, the dialed-in NFL insider dished on the prospects of Bears Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio leaving for a head-coaching gig outside of Chicago. Glazer writes that the Bears are “fearful” Fangio could get a head-coaching opportunity elsewhere, a move that would leave them without the maestro of one of the league’s finest defenses.
Glazer doesn’t speculate on which teams could be interested in Fangio, but favorably compares his plight to that of Bruce Arians. If you’ll recall, Arians didn’t get his first head-coaching opportunity until 2012 when he was 60, and that came on an interim basis with the Colts in place of Chuck Pagano who left the team following being diagnosed with leukemia. The Colts’ 9-3 record spurred Arians to get his first head coaching position with the Arizona Cardinals, a team looking to turn it around with a dynamic offense to go with a defense that was primed to be among the better ones in game. Arians went 49-30-1 in five years with the Cardinals before retiring at the end of the 2017 season.
It’s probably too early to read tea leaves and try to find a good place for Fangio to land. But I imagine a team with a strong offensive core that needs a boost on the defensive side of the ball could be the sort of place Fangio could make some hay.
And why wouldn’t he get so much attention? The Bears defense has improved in each season since Fangio has joined the team and currently ranks in the top-5 in scoring and yardage. And while this year’s effort is garnering a ton of love thanks to the Bears’ rise to the top of the NFC North standings, it would be short-sighted not to point out how Chicago had a top-ten defense in scoring and yardage before they traded for Khalil Mack anyway.
Indeed, a defense led by Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, and Eddie Jackson did wonders last year despite not having an ace pass-rusher, which probably makes Fangio that much more enticing as a candidate. Teams love coaches who can do more with less.
It would stink if Fangio left just as the Bears window of contention opened, especially since the defense is such a strong point and the continuity on that side of the ball really shows itself in big moments. But while it would be nice to see Fangio see this through to the end, it would be great for someone like him to finally get his chance to call the shots as a head coach. And even though we don’t want the Bears looking for a new DC, we can totally understand if Fangio takes his talents elsewhere as a head coach because he has nothing left to prove as a coordinator.