It's Sean Desai's Defense Now and Other Bears Bullets

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It’s Sean Desai’s Defense Now and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Filling out a passport application was on my to-do list in March 2020, but I never got around to it because *gestures at 2020* …

However, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I need to get it in gear and start filling out some paperwork. It’s on my to-do list today (after I press “publish” on today’s Bullets).

•   In a world where all is well that ends well, the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator search lasted all of 10 days. It featured three known interviews, one candidate who said “thanks, but no thanks” to the opportunity, and one potential candidate who left for an opportunity out west. And in the end, Sean Desai is the man who is handed the keys to the castle. I can dig it. So let’s dive into it.

•   The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain wrote a deep dive on Desai in June 2018, back when he was a quality control coach on Vic Fangio’s staff. Two years later, Desai was writing a call-to-action op-ed in The Athletic “to rid our country of systemic injustices.” And finally, last July, the site named Desai one of the rising stars in the coaching industry, referring to him as Fangio’s right-hand man. Desai also made Tom Pelissero’s list of young coaches to watch, which was drawn up in November. There’s certainly much to like about this hire. That Desai comes highly acclaimed with much praise at such a young age is pretty neat.

•   Some love from the head coach:

•   Matt Nagy is right about one thing: He is fortunate to be able to promote from within. We probably don’t talk enough about how loaded that defensive coaching staff was back in 2018. Vic Fangio (DC) is a head coach. Brandon Staley (OLBs Coach) will start his first season as a head coach in 2021. Ed Donatell (Secondary Coach) is a defensive coordinator. Jay Rodgers could land a DC job of his own in the near future. And now Desai gets a promotion into a coordinator gig. It’s impressive across the board. Let’s keep the line moving with assistants who have upside, shall we?

•   It’s a history-making hire for the Bears:


•   I’m curious to see if other minority coaches get internal promotions from Nagy’s staff. Perhaps Ronell Williams (Defensive Quality Control) gets moved into a position. Maybe Henry Burris (Bill Walsh Coaching Fellow) earns a promotion in 2021. Good organizations promote from within whenever possible. And after a summer in which the NFL made public pleas to promote minority candidates, the Bears moved one up the coaching ladder and have others waiting in the wings. Good stuff.

•   Louis Riddick has my undivided attention when he chimes in on the Bears:

•   I realize the hire isn’t going to make everyone happy. And I understand the hesitance to embrace hiring an unproven safeties coach after watching Eddie Jackson’s regression in 2020. However, that’s just a small snap shot. For instance, if Desai wears it for Jackson’s regression, does he get credit for making transitions to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Tashaun Gipson Sr. look smooth? Additionally, does he get stick taps for the development of DeAndre Houston-Carson? What about Deon Bush? What if Jackson didn’t get two pick-sixes negated by penalties? I just have so many questions that don’t fit into a box.

•   Ultimately, if Desai’s familiarity with a Fangio-style defense re-positions Jackson back into the #BestSafetyInTheLeague stratosphere, then we’ll look back at the concerns and chuckle. Not to say that it all hinges on Jackson’s return to prominence, but a bounce back to 2018 form would certainly help matters.

•   This thread dives into the potential changes that could bring this defense back to performing at high levels:

•   To be clear, it’s not on Jackson alone. And the good news is that there’s plenty of help around the defense. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, and Kyle Fuller are blue-chip players. Jaylon Johnson is a stud on the rise (if he can stay healthy). Bilal Nichols has grown into a solid rotational defensive lineman. Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley are young contributors who can chip in when called upon in a pinch. Eddie Goldman is lined up to return in 2021. The makings of a top-10 defense are still here. Let’s not lose sight of that.

•   I’ll admit there’s real pressure to make magic happen with the GM in the final year of his contract, head coach on the hot seat, and several defensive players in search of rebound years. But as far as I’m concerned, pressure is a good thing. If there’s pressure on you, it means there are expectations. And when real expectations are on the table, you have something to strive for moving forward.

•   Some former Bears laud the hire:

•   How Desai surrounds himself with coaches will help dictate his future as a coordinator. He still has to replace Jay Rodgers’ presence coaching the defensive line. And it would be wise to hire another safeties coach, which would allow him to focus solely on calling the defensive plays. After all, the Bears don’t want to overload the new guy.

•   Hey, now. This is a good idea:

•   Adam Hoge (NBC Sports Chicago) dives into why losing Jay Rodgers is a big hole the Bears need to fill this offseason.

•   Part of me hopes Sam Acho is speaking something into existence. It would make sense to add a position coach to the roster who has some experience as a play-caller. And because James Bettcher has already been communicating with Matt Nagy (as noted in our “Meet a Candidate” series) maybe that’s something that appeals to him.

•   What more does one need beyond the Vic Fangio stamp of approval?

•   Throwing it back for your listening pleasure:

•   This feels noteworthy:

•   I love art:

•   Our condolences to a member of a championship-winning Bears squad:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.