(WTVO/WQRF) — The Bears have a lot of new coaches on their coaching staff this year. One of the exceptions in Chuck Pagano. He was the fresh face a year ago, but he’s entrenched now as the defensive coordinator and he is aiming to make the Bears defense one of the best, if not the best, in the NFL.
That can happen, but only if first Khalil Mack makes more big plays than he did last season. Two years ago he maded 12.5 sacks. His sack total dropped off to 8.5 last season. Some say Mack is driven by that decline, and he’s pushing extra hard conditioning this offseason. Pagano didn’t dispute that during a video conference with reporters Thursday.
“He’s determined. He’s just…we want to be the best, you know, defense in the National Football League, and he wants to be one of the best players in the National Football League, but more importantly he just wants to win.”
The biggest newcomer to the defense is free agent signee Robert Quinn. He had 11.5 sacks with the Cowboys last season. Quinn should make Mack and the entire defense more effective.
“Obviously (he’s) a really, really talented football player,” said Pagano. “A guy that everybody just thinks he can rush the passer, but he’s relentless. He’s tough. He’s athletic, physical.”
Pagano has been playing a little defense himself this offseason trying to stay clear of the coronavirus. Pagano has battled cancer in the past. He needs to be more cautious than most people, and he’ll continue to do that when the coaches and players are allowed to return to Halas Hall.
“I can’t let my guard down like anybody else, so I’ll take the necessary precautions and follow orders.” “I’m concerned for everybody like everybody else is, but I’ve got complete faith in our organization. They’ve done a phenomenal job…they’ve put the health and and safety of all of us, every employee that steps in that building, first.”
Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 when he was coaching the Colts.