The Chicago Bears made an under-the-radar hire by promoting former quality control coach and current safeties coach Sean Desai as the new Defensive Coordinator, replacing the recently retired Chuck Pagano.
Desai had been on the staff since the 2013 season, and has served under three defensive coordinators.
Desai has received rave reviews from current and former players alike, and it is the continuity of running the 3-4 defense with its current personnel that may have tipped the job in his favor. This can’t be taken with a grain of salt, because players immediately know if a coach is on top of his craft, and it makes the buy in that much easier.
This may not have been the case with Chuck Pagano, as fans and the media alike seemed to get fed up with his lack of aggression, and although their is truth to that based on film, every week brings a different chess match. Pagano was able to use a lot of the same pieces Fangio did, but at times seemed outmatched by some of the younger up and coming offensive coaches across the league.
Desai had been regarded as for DC Vic Fangio’s “right hand man” when it came to game prep and film during the week, and it can pay big dividends now. Believe it or not, Fangio didn’t bring a ton of pressure either, but was noted and highly respected for disguising his intentions on the back end. Fangio frequently kept both safeties high and moved them at the last second, which helped gain a numbers advantage in the pass game.
A common way that most coaches break into the league is doing tedious film work and cut ups as either an offensive or defensive “quality control” for at least two years. After doing that for six NFL seasons, the advantage for Desai is that he has seen the offensive trends in the NFL come to fruition, and apparently soaked in enough knowledge to impress his own bosses in a formal interview.
Desai has seen the absolute highs and lows in his eight years in Chicago, from Mel Tucker’s rough stint as the DC for during the Trestman Era, to Fangio helping the defense peak in 2018. At the very least he would know what would work and what he would want to do. Also bear in mind, that Desai has been retained by two different regimes under John Fox and Matt Nagy. Surely they must have seen something.
The Bears are taking a risk, but at the same time, the Chicago DC job may not look very appetizing to outside coaches. Seems daunting first time, and in reality, it is a big jump. Desai is cut out for it with his background. If anyone can teach defense correctly, it’s a guy with an Ivy League masters, and an educational doctorate.