Changes Chuck Pagano made to defense place Bears in learning mode at minicamp

Some head scratching is going on as Bears defense stumbles against offense.

Kyle Fuller had to be about as tough a sell as anyone on the Bears defense when it came to new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.

After all, former coordinator Vic Fangio had become sort of his golfing buddy and helped him cope mentally when he was having trouble bouncing back from a knee injury in 2016. Fangio helped Fuller get a grip on his game, his knee healed and the Bears now have a Pro Bowl cornerback.

So when the Bears brought in Pagano and everyone else has been throwing rose petals at his feet, Fuller's voice is going to carry a little more weight. Fuller rarely makes his feelings about things at Halas Hall known at all. He makes very safe plays when it comes to commenting on anything and doesn't go overboard in lavishing praise.

In fact, he doesn't say too much period.

"It's pretty impressive," Fuller said. "Vic was a great coach. Working with Chuck now, I'm pretty impressed with his teaching style, his coaching style, his, like, motivation. He does a pretty good job at it."

Fuller likes the way Pagano relays his own life experiences and makes everything clear to players.

"He makes you sit there and nod your head after what he says," Fuller said. "You're like, you can really apply that on the field and off the field."

The big secret in the brain trust has been how much of the defensive scheme is being scrapped and do players have to learn new terminology. In fact, Pagano wouldn't even really address this during his last press conference. He sort of sidestepped the whole question.

The answer, it seems, is not quite what people had hoped.

Khalil Mack backed what what was said, and he's thankful to have a full offseason and training camp with the new defensive system after going through and picking up last year's defense on the fly.

"Just communication-wise and understanding the language that the different coordinator uses, it’s big when you think about that," Mack said. "We’re playing different things that you’re going to have to do in different coverages and all those different things, different intangibles, all-around learning."

Coach Matt Nagy seemed to stumble through a bit when asked about Pagano's system. His offense seemed to have the upper hand in Tuesday's practice in red zone passing, at least.

"I think what you're seeing is, our defense in particular, starting last year from my first year here, they were in Vic's system for a little while and they knew it inside out," Nagy said. "They were flying around.

"And right now, with all these guys on defense, what I'm seeing, I stand back there from the offense's perspective and I get to see these guys and all the different things that coach Pagano's doing and I'm seeing the amount of fun that our guys on the other side are having."

It's easy to have fun in non-contact drills before anyone has a game played or a block thrown.

"They're flying around," Nagy said. "They might not always be right with what they're doing. but their intensity is extremely high. That means that they know what they're doing."

This much is open to interpretation but at least they're upbeat about the approach heading toward training camp.


Comments (1)
No. 1-1

I was worried about this when pagano took over but it looks to me like what they are saying is he pretty much gutted the defensive system