The hiring of Chuck Pagano as new defensive coordinator was announced by the Bears Friday night, and now the concern over the continuity within their defensive secondary might begin.
With Pagano as defensive coordinator, it would seem a foregone conclusion they'll lose secondary coach Ed Donatell to the Broncos as Vic Fangio's new defensive coordinator. The Bears had interviewed Donatell for defensive coordinator but chose Pagano, the 58-year-old former Colts head coach.
"We are excited to add Chuck to our staff as defensive coordinator," coach Matt Nagy said in a statement issued by the Bears. "He has successful experience at many different levels in this league and he is a great teacher with an aggressive mentality that fits our style of football.
"He is a man of high character and has a passion for the game that will no doubt add to the culture we have already started building at Halas Hall."
At this point there's no telling if Pagano is coming in with a completely different defensive system, but he has experience as a 3-4 coordinator in a scheme similar to what the Bears currently run.
The Bears are scheduled to hold a season-ending press conference on Monday at 12:30 p.m. and Pagano's hiring will be addressed.
Pagano was the second NFL coach to win at least 11 games in each of his first three seasons while with the Colts, although he missed a big chunk of his 2012 season while combatting leukemia. He coached in Indianapolis from 2012-2017.
Pagano was the Baltimore Ravens' secondary coach from 2008-2010 and was defensive coordinator in 2011. The Ravens were third in the NFL in scoring defense from 2008-2011 and in 2012 were third overall
In 2011, when the Ravens went 12-4, they ranked third in defense and points allowed, second against the run and fourth against the pass with Pagano as defensive coordinator.
Donatell helped to mold the Bears' current secondary which produced an NFL-high 27 interceptions this season.
The Broncos were reportedly interested in adding Donatell to their staff as defensive coordinator, although Fangio would be calling defenses in games. His contract with the Bears is expiring and they would not be able to prevent Denver from talking with him.