Pagano Seeks Calculated Aggression In Bears D

(670 The Score) In hiring Chuck Pagano as their new defensive coordinator on Jan. 11, the Bears were confident in him in large part because they believed he could implement a similar approach for an established unit that was previously led by Vic Fangio, who left to become the Broncos' head coach.

It wasn't just the 3-4 base system that Pagano will continue to operate but also a familiar philosophy.

"Wreak havoc," Pagano said of the defense's goal as he introduced at Halas Hall last week.

The Bears had the top scoring defense (17.7 points) in the NFL in 2018 while also leading the league in takeaways (36) and interceptions (27). They also registered 50 sacks, often doing so without requiring an aggressive blitz that compromises the secondary.

With Pro Bowl talents like Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks as well as the likes of Leonard Floyd and Eddie Goldman rushing the passer, the Bears often created pressure on opposing quarterbacks with a four- or five-man rush.

In his past stops, Pagano has been aggressive in calling for blitzes, but he plans to fit his schemes to the Bears' strengths.

"Be smart about it and calculated about it," Pagano said. "I think any defensive coordinator and any defensive coach for that matter will tell you if you can get there with four and play seven in coverage, that’s a benefit. That’s a bonus. You don’t find that at every place. We have that here. 

"You got game-wreckers. You got Mack, Floyd and Hicks. You’ve got a bunch of guys on that defensive front seven. Whether you’re bringing Roquan (Smith), it doesn’t matter. You can create it however you want to create it."

Pagano referenced "simulated pressure" as part of his strategy, a tactic in which the Bears would disguise a three- or four-man rush in order to confuse the quarterback and offense. The key in that approach is waiting until the Mike linebacker is declared by the quarterback, which sets the offense pre-snap, and then adjusting the defense at a later point in the play clock.

The hope is that when the Bears do implement simulated pressure, they will have free rushers getting to the quarterback. It's one of many ways that Pagano can carry on the success of this Bears defense and why Nagy was sold on him the replacement for Fangio.

"Our vision for this defense is to be the best," Pagano said. "Can we be best in the history of the game? The pieces are there. And they'll continue to add pieces. Can we be better than we were last year? Absolutely."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​