LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Chicago Bears officially introduced former Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano as their new defensive coordinator on Thursday morning.
Pagano is inheriting a stout defense that finished first in points allowed at 17.7 points per game and third in yards allowed at 299.7 yards per game.
“Our vision for this defense is to be the best,” Pagano said. “Can we be the best in the history of the game? The pieces are there and they’ll continue to add pieces. Can we be better than we were last year? Absolutely. It will be very, very difficult and a huge challenge, but one we’re all up for.”
Last season was the first season, Pagano didn’t coach in 33 years. He spent time with his family and as a consult to the NFL, offering a coach’s perspective on officiating issues. And of course, working on his “honey-do list” from his wife, Tina.
“Take laundry in. I was taking in clean shirts just to find something to do,” joked Pagano. “I still had the tag left on them. Take them back. ‘Coach, this is already clean.’ Just clean them again. I need something to do.”
Pagano said he also had plenty of time for the three ‘r’s’: rest, recharge and reflect. The reflection part included his six seasons in charge of the Colts’ sideline.
“I always say I’m better, not bitter about the experience,” said Pagano. “Reflect on all the good things that we did and the things that you would do differently moving forward.”
He said he watched Colts games and was happy to see Andrew Luck playing again after the quarterback missed all of Pagano’s last season in Indianapolis with a shoulder injury,
“I love him like a son,” Pagano said. “We had a great run, great experiences together. I was a lot better coach when 12 was under center than when he wasn’t. He probably got me a few more years than maybe I deserved. My wife’s going to kill me for saying that. She always says, ‘don’t say that,’ but I just keep it real.”
As for his motivation to become a head coach again?
“I’m not. I’ve done it.”