I was already pretty confident that Chuck Pagano is the right choice to replace Vic Fangio and that Bears fans are going to like him, and his introductory press conference as the Bears' new defensive coordinator Thursday sealed the deal for me.
Asked how he handled his year away from the field last season, Pagano explained at Halas Hall: “I got to do a bunch of ... I called it the 3 Rs ... it gave me time to reset, recharge and reflect.
"All the family stuff, I have three daughters, I have three granddaughters, they all have black belts in shopping. That’s a problem.”
That a boy, “Chuckles,” always lead with the punch line.
Barely beneath the surface of what is making this edition of the Bears so likable and exciting to their fans are what real and normal people they seem to be, from the McCaskey Family to Ryan Pace and certainly Matt Nagy.
It was also what was so likable and down to earth about Vic Fangio, and Pagano is going to promise more of the same.
Who can’t relate to a wife and daughters who excel at taking an unlimited budget and exceeding it by leaps and bounds?
There are very few coaches in the NFL who don’t know the game inside and out and aren’t capable of teaching it and improving at it given the right set of circumstances.
It’s the communicators and coaches and players with a passion for the game and the people they work with that excel, and when they do it in a style that every fan can relate to, they occasionally make something special happen.
That appears to be what Pace and Nagy are building here — or at least trying their best to build.
Pagano explained that what attracted him to the Bears job was, "hearing about coach and how he was a person, from the minute that I walked into this facility started meeting with him, we always talk about culture each strategy.
“And the culture that he’s built, and the man that he is and the person that he is, the father, all those things, it was so authentic and so genuine.
“It’s a people business. Coach is all about people. And he’s all about relationships. And he’s just a football coach. And he’s just a normal guy.”
What, I’m being too hokey for you? You need the X’s and O’s? Try Pagano’s defensive philosophy on.
“Wreak havoc and be calculated about it," he said. "Want to be aggressive. Want to dictate the tempo. But a premium on fundamentals and technique.
“Put a premium on the ball, like we talked about before. Take the thing away. Nobody did it better than the Bears last year, with 36 takeaways and 27 interceptions.
“Affecting the quarterback. Stopping the run. Getting them in third-and-long, so we can be creative, we can be aggressive. And at the end of the day, the bottom line is having fun. Guys want to do that. The philosophy is a "kill" philosophy: Keep It Likable (and) Learnable.”
Any Bears fans out there have a problem with that?
I’d say this offseason was going as well as could be expected right now, if it wasn’t for the other story — or non-story — that just won’t go away.
Shortly after the Pagano gabfest, team chairman George McCaskey paid a visit to 670 TheScore and was, of course, asked about the possibility former Chief and Nagy disciple Kareem Hunt might become a Bear.
McCaskey replied that the Bears just, “are not there yet” in terms of deciding whether or not to pursue the troubled superstar but added, “we’re willing to give a troubled player a second chance if the circumstances are right.”
I couldn’t agree with McCaskey more, everyone deserves a second chance ... if they earn it!
Assuming you’re familiar with his transgressions, what can Hunt possibly have done in just the last couple months — since he was released by the Chiefs after a Feb. 2018 video of him pushing and kicking a young woman surfaced — to have earned that chance?
Next season has the potential to be a special one for the Bears based on everything they’ve done to build the culture Pagano described so clearly.
Why the Bears would risk it by dropping Hunt in the middle of it all before he’s done anything to earn that chance is a mystery to me.