When NFL analysts predict the Bears defense will take a step back in 2019, one of the biggest factors is the change in defensive coordinator.

Chuck Pagano is loved by his players everywhere he coaches, but he might not be at the elite level of defensive scheming Chicago had under Vic Fangio.

Three of the NFL’s best young offensive coaches see the now-former Bears defensive coordinator as the toughest to deal with.

ESPN asked Rams head coach Sean McVay, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur which coach’s defense is the toughest to read and attack.

“There are so many guys and every system is different, but I look at Vic Fangio,” LaFleur said. “Just the fronts and the multiple looks you get from him. That's incredibly difficult.”

“My hardest has probably always been Vic Fangio,” Shanahan said. “He does so many things with his personnel groupings that he puts you in a bind with protections. He ties a lot of stuff together.”

“For us, I think Fangio and the Bears did an outstanding job of a sound scheme with versatility mixed with great players,” McVay said.

 

Both McVay and Shanahan played against the No. 1 defense last season, and neither was able to reach the endzone thanks to Fangio’s work.

LaFleur hasn’t coached in a game against Fangio since 2013, when the young offensive mind was the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins and lost to Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers without scoring a touchdown.

Fangio’s reputation as a top defensive mind extends beyond his work with the 2018 Bears. Pagano might blitz more, but opposing coaches sound relieved that they won’t have to face the same defensive coordinator in Chicago this season.

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