Adapting to something new isn’t a new thing for the Chicago Bears. The last time this happened was in 1981, could it be the start of something special?
Schematics in football are always changing. The Chicago Bears changed the way the game is played due to their defense. Matt Nagy is known as an offensive mastermind by his mentor Andy Reid. So far, Matt Nagy’s offenses have struggled.
His scheme could use a few tweaks or at least something to create a little bit more firepower. Perhaps, maybe he just needs different personnel. However, what if it is not Matt Nagy who is working on something new for this offense? What if the other mastermind on the other side of the ball is shaking things up a bit?
Chuck Pagano kicked off his coaching career as a graduate assistant for USC in 1984. Pagano got hands-on in 1987 with Boise State as a linebackers coach before finding his calling as a secondary coach with East Carolina in 1992. He spent his time with the defensive backs in college until 2001 when the Cleveland Browns gave him a shot as their secondary coach. Pagano worked with Todd Bowles under the leadership of Foge Fazio and Dave Campo running their 43 base defense.
In 2005 Pagano went to Oakland under Rob Ryan and learned how to mix the 43 and 34 defense to stay unpredictable. After a stint in college Pagano found himself with the Baltimore Ravens running the aggressive attacking 34 defense Rex Ryan was known for.
When Rex Ryan left, Pagano worked under Greg Mattison before becoming the defensive coordinator for one year with the Ravens. The more recent stuff should not be too hard to remember. Chuck Pagano, unlike Matt Nagy, has been around a lot of different offensive minds. He has considerable knowledge of the game and understands what offenses are trying to do.
After Akeim Hicks was put on injured reserve, the Chicago Bears nickel defense started taking a hit in the run game. Chuck Pagano began to use an odd formation out of his nickel package. He had three defensive linemen, two edge rushers, one linebacker, three corners, and two safeties. Most nickel packages have two defensive linemen, two edge defenders, two linebackers, three corners, and two safeties.
Once in a while, a team will sub out a linebacker for another safety or corner. But this defense Pagano was using could stop the run and create internal pocket pressure and use four rushers at times to disguise who was rushing.
He started using this formation a little less when Hicks was back but still had it ready to come firing when needed The last time the Chicago Bears came up with a new defensive nickel package, they turned it into their base package in 1981. That defense was known as the 46 defense. Will it stay a package or become a full-time thing? Only Chuck Pagano knows, but he may have started something great without even realizing it.