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With Vic Fangio Hanging Around, the Bears Might Just Have a Serious Shot at Contending Next Season

Analysis and Commentary

Two days after the Bears announced Vic Fangio’s return as the team’s defensive coordinator, the NFL’s final four was set, and all four teams ranked among the top five in scoring defense. Go figure.

Indeed, throughout the regular season, the Jaguars showed that a dominant defense can carry a team with just enough offense into the playoffs. In the Eagles’ divisional round win, their defense proved that Philly’s success wasn’t entirely dependent upon Carson Wentz’s right arm. The Vikings managed to force two Drew Brees’ interceptions in a game where every possession was crucial. And the Patriots, well, they have Tom Brady, so never mind them for now.

In any case, the importance of Fangio’s return (and importance to the defense) can not be understated – because I’m totally up to see more of this in 2018 and beyond:

Losing Fangio could have been a crushing blow for the Bears. After all, the defense has evolved and improved A LOT under his watchful eye since 2015 – the Bears finished ninth in scoring defense and 10th in yards this past season, despite losing six starters to injured reserve (a vast improvement over the 2014 team that finished 31st in scoring defense and 30th in yards allowed before Fangio’s arrival).

Put differently, starting the defense over with a new coordinator and possibly even a new system would have been a huge step backward for a revamped Bears coaching staff.

So while Chicago’s head-coaching search (justifiably) leaned heavily to the offensive side of the ball, the playoffs are proving the old adage that defense wins championships. The Bears ultimately got the best of both worlds in their coaching search, and that might not have been an accident (perhaps a more defensively minded coach would’ve been brought in if the Bears didn’t think they could retain a talent like Fangio).

By hiring Matt Nagy, Pace brought in a coach who could help develop Mitch Trubisky into being the franchise quarterback he invested so much to acquire. But by bringing back Fangio, the Bears retained their defensive identity, maintained some much-needed continuity, and ensured Nagy’s coaching staff would be as well-rounded as it needed to be. This was a win for Nagy, Pace, and Fangio. Hopefully, that will translate to wins on the field … and definitely more of this:


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.