John DeFilippo Wins Praise from Kirk Cousins at Pro Bowl

Gene Chamberlain

You didn't need to see Kirk Cousins' impressive display at the passing skills competition for the Pro Bowl this week to know the impact new Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo had on his career.

It's right there in his numbers, but the praise doesn't hurt DeFilippo's cause.

Cousins achieved his career high in touchdown passes (30), in completion percentage (70.1) and dropped his interception rate to what was then a career low of 1.7.

At the Pro Bowl, Cousins said he wouldn't have minded working more with the new Bears QB coach.

"I really enjoyed working with him, and I was disappointed I didn't get more time with him," Cousins told reporters. "But it's my own fault."

Cousins was taking blame for what probably wasn't his fault. DeFilippo might have made a difference in Cousins' passing but he also refused to run the ball as much as coach Mike Zimmer wanted. It's why DeFilippo was fired by the Vikings before the season even ended, and why the Vikings brought in Gary Kubiak to help with the new offense. The running game emphasis helped put the Vikings back on track offensively and set Cousins' yards per pass attempt soaring, as well as his passer rating.

In 2019, Cousins averaged 8.1 yards an a pass attempt and had a career-high 107.4 passer rating.

So Cousins thinks the Bears and Mitchell Trubisky will benefit from the new QB coach.

"He'll be outstanding," Cousins told reporters. "He's a great coach. He's been around this league for a long time. I think it says a lot when someone like Matt Nagy, who knows quarterbacks so well, hires him. I think that says a lot about Flip."

DeFilippo has done it before with other QBs, especially Carson Wentz. Wentz led the league in his second season with a touchdown pass percentage of 7.5 under DeFilippo's guidance. He had a career-high 33 TD passes and improved his passer rating from 79.3 to 101.9.

"When you look at what he did with Carson Wentz as a young player, I think there's a lot to like there," Cousins said. "And he's going to add a lot to that staff. It's going to be to my detriment because we're in his division, but he's a great coach."

The other positive from the Bears' standpoint is DeFilippo isn't saddled with running the offense or calling plays. His offensive coordinator experience didn't go so well as he was fired by the Vikings, Browns and Jaguars before his second season with each.

However, his impact on quarterbacks with the Vikings, Eagles and Jaguars in particular was great.

The Bears will have former Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor organizing the offense as coordinator and former quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone will be the passing game coordinator, and it looks as if Nagy will continue calling plays, although this has yet to be verified by Nagy or the team.

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