Not that it’s surprising, but new Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has his work cut out for him in regards to filling out his defensive staff. The latest news, that of former Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell joining Vic Fangio with the Broncos, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
As a coach that helped develop Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller into First-Team All-Pro’s, Donatell was someone that Chicago reportedly wanted to potentially retain. So his loss is a blow, albeit a small one. It’s a promotion with a coach Donatell has been with for the last eight seasons that was evidently too much to pass up.
What Donatell’s departure outlines further for the Bears is this: they now have four defensive coaching staff spots to fill and counting. That’s after news surfaced that they wouldn’t retain linebackers coach Glenn Pirres, outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley (who has also joined Fangio’s coaching staff in Denver), and assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson in the past several days.
The last big domino to fall is defensive line coach Jay Rodgers, who has helped coax the best out of Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, and now Bilal Nichols in recent years. There’s been no decision made on the future of the 17-year coaching veteran, although it’s clear the Bears have the means to retain his services if they so choose.
The challenge for a new NFL coordinator is always filling out his staff. Professionals want to bring in their friends and former respected colleagues while having conducted their own search, yes, but that doesn’t mitigate the idea of the obstacle in itself. The hiring carousel of January moves fast. It’s not a major concern for a respected and admired guy like Pagano, but he better have his guns quickly locked and loaded (which he does) so as to not be left standing around wondering what happened.