Earlier today, Vic Fangio left his post as the Bears defensive coordinator in favor of a head-coaching gig with the Broncos, opening up a job in Chicago. For a brief moment, we thought Todd Bowles might be making his way to Chicago, but he chose the Buccaneers instead.
And now, one of the other logical replacements for Fangio, Ed Donatell, could follow Fangio to Denver:
Early rumor is the Broncos are going to try to bring Ed Donatell in as DC.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) January 9, 2019
NFL insider Benjamin Allbright hears the Broncos are trying to bring Ed Donatell on board as the team’s new defensive coordinator. In case you’re unware, Donatell has coached Bears defensive backs since 2015 and has a lengthy history teaching defense in the NFL, dating back to his time as the Packers’ DC from 2000-2003 and for the Falcons from 2004-06. It’s also worth noting that he spent a year as the secondary coach in Denver back in 2010.
Donatell’s experience as a play-caller and knowledge of the system (and players) in place in Chicago make him an ideal – or, at least, a frictionless – replacement for Fangio. It would promote a deserving in-house candidate and maintain the continuity that has been building since 2015. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
As we discussed yesterday, Donatell is a free-agent-to-be. And there is a very real chance he’d take a promotion and follow Fangio, who he’s coached alongside since the two were with the 49ers in 2011, then just stay here, instead. With that said, if Donatell heads to Denver, he (probably) wouldn’t be calling the plays for the Broncos defense with Fangio around. But here in Chicago, with the offensive-minded Matt Nagy as head coach, he might have some more agency in that respect. We’ll see if the Bears feel strongly enough about Donatell to try to keep him around and if he values the extra responsibility enough to do it.
Between the potential of Donatell leaving for Denver coming after the Bears’ top candidate Todd Bowles decided to take a job with Tampa Bay, Chicago could be without its top two candidates to replace Fangio rather quickly. But still … a franchise just three days removed from a gut-wrenching playoff loss has no time to sulk. Things are moving quickly now that their offseason is officially here.