Bears interviewing Chuck Pagano for defensive coordinator job, source says

Brad Biggs and Rich Campbell, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Football

CHICAGO -- With teams moving fast to hire experienced defensive coordinators, the Bears are deep in the process to replace Vic Fangio.

An NFL source told the Tribune the Bears are meeting Friday with former Colts coach Chuck Pagano. The Bears interviewed secondary coach Ed Donatell for the coordinator role Thursday.

With Pagano's experience working in 3-4 defensive schemes, there would be some continuity in hiring him even though he has not worked with Fangio. The Bears are putting an emphasis on finding a replacement with a 3-4 background to take over the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense.

Action is happening quickly around the league as ESPN reported the Cardinals will hire former Broncos coach Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator. ESPN also reported former Cardinals coach Steve Wilks will meet with the Browns for their coordinator job. NFL Network linked Gregg Williams to the coordinator role on Adam Gase's staff with the Jets.

Pagano has interviewed with the Panthers, who have a vacancy for a secondary coach but might rearrange titles on the staff with coach Ron Rivera running the defense again. Pagano, 58, sat out this season, and the Browns and Cardinals were reported to have interest in him as a defensive coordinator. The way the dominoes are falling, he could be the top target in play for the Bears, who have the league's best opening for a defensive mastermind.

Pagano was the Ravens' defensive coordinator in 2011, when they went 12-4 and ranked third in total defense, third in points allowed, second against the run, fourth against the pass and third in sacks. Before that he served as defensive backs coach for the Ravens, Raiders and Browns.

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If the Bears do not promote Donatell, they could soon be in the market for a defensive backs coach. Donatell's contract is expiring and sources have said he might follow Fangio to Denver.

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