Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio is going to run things his way on defense, which is a perk for Matt Nagy and the offensive coaches as the construction of a fully operational NFL offense begins (not to mention the fact that Fangio is pretty darn good at what he does).
With that said, Nagy explained that he would eventually like to share his input with what’s going on with the defense, even if it won’t happen right away: “To be able that as a head coach with Vic to be able to take that defensive side of the ball and do what he’s been doing for years and years is a benefit. Now, I’m also not going to just let that go. I need to be able to be a part of that,” Nagy said during his Wednesday press conference (highlights of which you can read are right here).
“And for Year One as a head coach trying to implement this offense – we as a staff doing this – there’s going to be more time that I’m away from the defense. As we continue to grow as an offense and the coaches and players become more and more comfortable, then I’ll be able to be more involved into that side of the defense.”
The one thing Bears head coaches have had since Mike Ditka’s firing is being well-schooled on the defensive side of the ball, with the notable exception of Marc Trestman. Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron, Lovie Smith, and John Fox all scream defense, defense, defense, and more defense.
So yeah, things are going to be a little different for Nagy as he embarks on this journey. Not only are these Bears being led by an offensive-minded head coach, they are getting one who can take a hands-off approach on defense should he choose to do so because of the defensive coordinator on the other side of the ball.
So while Nagy’s focus during this portion of OTAs might lean toward the offensive side of the ball, he still has a clear idea of what he wants to see the defense working on.
“Vic’s gonna have some different things on defense that he wants to experiment and play with. And he’ll use the strengths that he sees with each player,” Nagy said. “But for these guys, our guys on defense, I think it’s really for them – confidence wise – to be able to go out their and just do their assignments one play at a time and then continue to just keep building on something special that they’ve really done the last couple years.”
Bears GM Ryan Pace struck an ideal balance on the coaching side of things this offseason when he hired Nagy and retained Fangio as the team’s defensive coordinator. It’s almost as if the Bears have a head coach on each side of the ball. Fangio’s presence as the de facto head coach on defense allows Nagy to take some of the steepness out of the head coaching learning curve. Eventually, Nagy will have his say on defense. But we all know who the top dog is now, and that’s probably not changing any time soon.