With Vic Fangio’s promotion officially official, the Chicago Bears are now in search of a new defensive coordinator. An ideal candidate is someone who can be the de facto head coach for a defense featuring three first-team All-Pros, four Pro Bowl starters, four other Pro Bowl alternates, and nine projected returning starters under contract for 2019. Following Fangio isn’t an easy task, but someone has to do it.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at candidates who are (and could be) on the Bears’ radar leading up to the announcement of a new defensive coordinator.
Previously: Ed Donatell
Name, Current Team, Position
Gregg Williams, Free Agent (Most recently: Cleveland Browns), Defensive Coordinator
- Cleveland Browns (Interim Head Coach, 2018; Defensive Coordinator 2017-18)
- St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (Defensive Coordinator, 2014-2016)
- New Orleans Saints (Defensive Coordinator 2009-11)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (Defensive Coordinator 2008)
- Washington Redskins (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, 2004-07)
- Buffalo Bills (Head Coach, 2001-03)
- Tennessee Oilers/Titans (Defensive Coordinator 1997-99; Senior Defensive Assistant, 2013)
- Houston Oilers (Defensive Quality Control, 1990-92; Special Teams, 1993; Linebackers 1994-96)
- University of Houston (Graduate Assistant, 1988-89)
- Hue Jackson (2017-18)
- Jeff Fisher (1994-2000, 2014-16)
- Mike Munchak (2013)
- Sean Payton (2009-11)
- Jack Del Rio (2008)
- Joe Gibbs (2004-07)
- Jack Pardee (1990-94)
Hey, It Might Work…
Gregg Williams is one of football’s best defensive coordinators and has been for a long time. Since his first DC gig back in 1997, Williams’ defenses have seven top-10 finishes in total yardage, six top-10 showings in takeaways, and five top-10 seasons in points allowed. And since 2014, Williams’ defense has had three years when it has finished in the top half of the league in takeaways, two seasons where it finished in the top half in yardage, and one occasion when it closed the year in the top half in points allowed. And those were with less-talented Rams and Browns teams. Williams runs an aggressive scheme that has been successful for the better part of two decades. What’s not to like?
OK, Maybe He’s Not The One…
Oh yeah. Bountygate. Williams was at the center of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, one which the team was found guilty for paying bonuses for injuring opposing players between 2009-2011. It was a wide-ranging ordeal that included more than 20 players and led to suspensions for Williams, Head Coach Sean Payton, Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt, and GM Mickey Loomis. You can read more about it here. So while that might be water under the bridge at this point, the Bears would have to do a little bit of PR work to put Williams over in the eyes of some fans. It’s not a major step, but it’s one the team probably would need to take anyway.
In The End …
If Matt Nagy doesn’t want to worry about the defense and would rather delegate those full responsibilities to someone with experience, than Williams makes a ton of sense. In addition to decades of experience as a defensive coordinator, Williams also has time as a head coach under his belt. Much like Fangio was last season, Williams could theoretically step into Halas Hall and be a de facto head coach of the defensive side of the ball with full autonomy. Williams has experience, success, knowledge of how to run a quality 3-4 scheme, and a reputation of being someone players will run through a wall to play for, which makes him a desirable candidate. I suppose if we can get over the Bountygate scandal, he might be the perfect candidate for the gig.