Sean Desai Catches on Quickly in More Ways Than One

New Bears defensive coordinator has the defensive scheming part down already, has been helping with the hiring and networking part of he job, and even is starting to figure out how to handle the media
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Plenty of skepticism bubbled up about new defensive coordinator Sean Desai's ability to help Bears coach Matt Nagy pick a defensive coaching staff.

The Bears had to replace the majority of their defensive assistants in what could eventually be a very destructive changeover, but no one will know until they begin playing games in September.

Regardless, Desai helped make for a quick and fluid hiring process as they brought on inside linebackers coach Bill McGovern, defensive line coach Chris Rumph, defensive backs assistant Mike Adams and promoted Bill Shuey from quality control coach to outside linebackers coach.

"I hope you (media) guys feel that with the way the staff has been built, it's been very thoughtful in terms of guys who are on the staff," Desai said during Monday's teleconference. "Everyone's had either coordinator or playing experience."

That is, everyone except Desai himself. He did neither, and his coaching experience in the NFL had been entirely in Chicago for eight seasons, three coaches and three different defensive coordinators.

Desai noted this fact but pointed out how his role can complement them.

"We've been pretty intent on how we want to develop this staff and the mindset we have from all our staff members, and then the traits that I bring will add balance to that," Desai said. "I think I bring a different set of traits from everybody as well, which I think will be positive."

Coming up with assistant candidates wasn't rocket science. Just because Desai has only coached in Chicago doesn't mean his life started here and he lived in a bubble. He was connected enough.

"In terms of how and where we created a list of coaches from, that's a career-long project and it's an ongoing project," Desai said.

McGovern was one perfect example. The two coached together in college.

"And so, I've had a list for a long time on people that either I've worked with, had seen work, have clinic-ed with, you know so many interactions happen in the coaching world where you build your reputation and all that," Desai said. "So I've had that list running for a long time.

"It's probably four or five deep at each position, as in my opinion it should be."


The one defensive assistant Pettine didn't have much experience with was new senior defensive assistant Mike Pettine, the former Packers defensive coordinator.

Desai first addressed the belief this was a new position created to compensate for his inexperience.

"We had, I think, coach (Ted) Monachino was the senior defensive assistant the last couple years," he said. "So we've had over the last couple years people in those roles. On offense we had Brad Childress as the senior offensive assistant in those roles as well."

Regardless, that is why Pettine was added—that an Nagy's great respect for his coaching schemes.

This much Desai didn't refute.

"And for us, I think it's going to be a resource," Desai said. "I think coach Pettine's going to be able to help us on defense and help us on offense, from a big-picture perspective. He's going to be able to bring in ideas, as our other coaches are going to be able to bring in ideas.

"This is going to be an open environment. Everyone's going to know who we are and what our identity is, and if there's things that we can balance each other off of, then I'm all for that. I think that's a great thing for me as a first-time defensive play-caller, is to have some other perspectives in."

Asked if this meant Desai is Pettine's boss or if he's on the outside of the organizational structure, Desai showed he's catching on to the coaching game rather quickly.

He spoke without giving an answer, as all good coaches do.

"It sounds like you're trying to ask for an organizational hierarchical chart," Desai said, laughing. "So I'm the defensive coordinator and if I guess there's tasks that I need coach Pettine to do ... then he'll do them for me and he'll do them for coach just like anybody else.

"But he'll be a defensive assistant."

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