The Bears have interviewed their first in-house candidate for the head coaching position, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Fangio is rather popular among the Bears fanbase after turning around Mel Tucker’s porous defense after he arrived in 2015.
Fangio has been the one part of the Bears coaching staff that many consider being well-functioning. When Fangio joined John Fox’s coaching staff in Chicago, he inherited one of the worst defenses in football. He inherited a group that was ranked in the bottom three for two consecutive years.
It was a process, but he slowly built the Bears defense into a playoff-caliber unit. Three seasons after that horrific unit took the field, Fangio had a defense which finished top-10 in both points and yards allowed.
Fangio is also responsible for some of the progress seen out of players like Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan. Both were established players elsewhere but truly found their true potential under the lights of Soldier Field.
Fangio has also courted low round draft picks into reliable players on multiple occasions. Fourth-rounders Nick Kwiatkowski and Eddie Jackson have both been reliable starters for the Bears. Fifth-rounder Adrian Amos was pro-bowl level this past season, finishing second in PFF’s rankings of safeties.
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Fangio’s only success isn’t in Chicago, however. Fangio worked under current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh for four seasons in San Francisco and has an NFC Championship to his name.
During Fangio’s tenure in the bay, the 49ers never had a defense finish worse than 10th in scoring. Even more impressive, that number falls to 5th in yards allowed. That being said, Fangio had some elite talent in San Fran, including Ahmad Brooks, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, and Antoine Bethea.
However, it was in San Fransisco that Fangio had his best example of player development. 3rd round rookie Chris Borland, from Wisconsin, was seemingly on track towards being one of the best players taken in 2014. In only eight starts, Borland racked up 84 tackles his rookie year, earning him a spot on the all-rookie team. However, Borland retired due to fears about concussions.
Fangio has proven time and time again that he and his staff are capable of wizard-like player development. Now, the Bears look to be giving him the opportunity to prove to Ryan Pace that he deserves to be the next head man for the Bears.
The Bears confirmed on Twitter that Fangio was interviewed Wednesday afternoon. It’s unclear whether he is high on the Bears wishlist or not, but he is the third defensive-minded coordinator that Chicago has reportedly been sought after.