The Chicago Bears did a lot of searching in regards to their defensive coordinator job after Chuck Pagano retired. They examined a number of candidates including James Bettcher, Aaron Glenn, and even Mike Singletary. In the end though, head coach Matt Nagy decided to keep it in-house. According to Ian Rapoport, safeties coach Sean Desai will be promoted to take over as defensive coordinator.

This is a really cool story, first and foremost. Desai arrived as a coaching assistant in Chicago way back in 2013. During the following years he worked his way up the ladder despite two different head coaches being fired in Marc Trestman and John Fox. He was promoted to safeties coach this past season, getting some productive seasons out of Tashaun Gipson and DeAndre Houston-Carson.

It appears he did enough to convince Nagy he deserves this shot.

One person who was a major advocate for Desai was former Bears linebacker Sam Acho. He took to Twitter recently declaring the team needed to give the young assistant an opportunity. He believes the man is right up there with Vic Fangio in terms of his intelligence and grasp of the Xs and Os. Players also love him, affectionately nicknaming him “Doc” thanks to the doctorate in education he received. So he can communicate well.

One of the bigger regrets the Bears probably had was letting former assistant Brandon Staley walk in 2019. After a year he Denver, he became defensive coordinator in Los Angeles and made the Rams defense #1 in the NFL. Now he’s the head coach for the Chargers. It’s quite possible Nagy didn’t want to risk letting another gifted assistant slip away without at least giving him an opportunity.

Chicago Bears are also handing Desai a tough task

He’s inheriting a defense that had its worst season since 2016. It is also a unit that is getting older in some bad spots. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, and Robert Quinn will all be in their 30s this coming season. Desai has to find a way to get them back to their productive peaks or at least close to them while also figuring out what went wrong with somebody like Eddie Jackson who finished with zero interceptions in 2020.

By the sound of things, he’ll employ a lot of the hallmarks of Fangio’s defense from two years ago. The same that made this unit #1 in the NFL. That isn’t a bad thing at all. Desai is also a defensive backs specialist and one could argue the secondary is where the highest concentration of talent is for them right now. So it’s not a bad move strategically either.

Desai has prepared for this for a long time.

He hasn’t been a coordinator since 2010 when he was the special teams coordinator at Temple. It is surprising he didn’t end up leaving the team in 2015 along with the rest of the coaching staff. It seems he felt staying might end up being better for his career in the long run. Based on the latest news? That was a smart decision. Perhaps the first of many by the up-and-coming young coach.