The Bears’ COVID-19 situation ahead of Monday night’s game against the Vikings is still tenuous, but they at least got a little good news.
Defensive coordinator Sean Desai has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will be back in the booth calling plays. Bears head coach Matt Nagy revealed the news on his weekly appearance on the team’s flagship radio station WBBM Newsradio 780.
Unfortunately, he also indicated the team would move ahead without offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and special teams coach Chris Tabor, who are still in the protocols. With Lazor out, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo will move up to offensive coordinator against the Vikings, but it’s still unclear who will call the offensive plays.
When asked if he would “return” to play-calling duties tonight, Nagy was vague, as he often has been with the play-calling duties this season.
“I’ll be returning to, you know, obviously helping out with all the play-calling like I do all the time,” he said. “But at the same time, I think Flip and I are going to do a great job of working together.”
Reading into Nagy’s comments, it sounded like he started to say he would call the plays before catching himself. Perhaps there are some competitive reasons for that, but at this point, the Vikings are well-versed in the Bears’ offense.
Nagy called plays for the first three games this season before giving them up to Lazor. It’s the second straight season in which he has given up play-calling duties mid-season.
DeFilippo has been a play-calling offensive coordinator twice in his NFL career, including in 2018 with the Vikings. DeFilippo’s offensive philosophy was a bad match with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, however, and he was fired after a Week 14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. He then went to Jacksonville as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator in 2019 before joining the Bears as quarterbacks coach in 2020.
With special teams coordinator Chris Tabor out, assistant special teams coach Brian Ginn will take over those duties Monday night.
The Bears still have 14 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list as of Monday morning, including eight starters and the entire starting secondary. It’s possible some players could test out of the protocols before the game, but all roster moves need to be made before 3 p.m. CT.