Different Style, Same Bears Defense

Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai has immediately won over his staff with the approach and conviction they see as necessary to follow successful coordinators like Vic Fangio and Chuck Pagano.
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New Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai delighted the wordsmiths in the media with his use of the words "palpable" and "inculcated" during this week's Zoom conference.

The staff assembled by Desai has been impressed with their new boss for varying degrees of time and different reasons.

Desai's inexperience as a coordinator will remain a theme to the Bears season on the defensive side until it's proven a non-factor, but his staff members see someone capable of handling the succession to both Chuck Pagano and Vic Fangio as defensive boss.

"You know, my first year here Sean and I actually shared an office," new outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey said. "So, I got to learn early on how detailed of a guy, and how efficient of a guy Sean is.

"Obviously, he's been coaching a long time. He's had various roles. He paid his dues in that quality control role for a while, which I also have done that in the past. So I can appreciate the grind that he went through to get to the opportunities that he's in."

Shuey came to the Bears in 2018 and has been in quality control as well as a defensive pass analyst/assistant linebackers coach before this year. He's been around the NFL dating all the way back to 2001, when he started a decade with the Eagles. So his observations about Desai's abilities carry a little more weight than some other coaches.

"He's a smart guy, and like most of us, I think he would say this, it comes down to being around and being exposed to other great coaches and other great players, and learning from them," Shuey said. "Obviously Sean's background with Vic, with Chuck, and then prior to that, he's had some opportunities to be around some really great coaches. So I've got a lot of confidence in Sean, and look forward to him having the opportunity to put his stamp on things."

New inside linebackers coach Bill McGovern is another longtime NFL assistant with the Eagles and Giants but has known Desai since 2012, when they were together on the Boston College staff.

"You could tell he was just an outstanding coach," McGovern said. "He was prepared in everything that he did. He had a thirst for knowledge. He wanted to understand everything. He wanted to get it.

"He wanted to find a better way of doing it. I think that was the thing that jumped out."

New defensive line coach Chris Rumph has been around Desai only a short time and is in only his second NFL season after a long college career, but has full confidence Desai can elevate the defense.

"Well, I think the first thing that you notice is his organization, his ability to communicate and get his point across, and also his willingness to listen to different ideas and to really think things through," Rumph said. "If someone has a different plan or a good idea, everybody is going to elaborate on it and then we'll come to a decision if we think it's player friendly and can help us be successful.

"So I think just the organization, his intelligence, the way he communicates is unbelievable."

Bears defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend is the only coach on that side of the ball back in the same position this year, but said having Desai in charge lets them retain some continuity which might otherwise be lost.

"It makes it easy for us because the one thing that happens on a lot of staffs is when you change it, the language changes," Townsend said. "For us, being together last year, the last couple years, it makes it easy because we're speaking the same language.

"When you have that it makes it easy to carry over to the players. So I think it's pretty much the same."

They're hoping the results will be the different part, after sliding from top 10 on defense to 11th last year. 

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