The Chicago Bears will have a new defensive coordinator for the 2021 season. However, the Bears aren’t having to learn who the new coach is as Sean Desai has been a part of the team’s coaching staff for the last eight seasons.
Desai replaces Chuck Pagano as the team’s defensive coordinator after Pagano elected to retire after the 2020 season. Desai was officially promoted to the role in May.
While the chances to be on the field have been somewhat limited, Bears players have expressed their excitement over what Desai could bring to the table now that he’s running the show on defense.
“I was very excited,” safety Eddie Jackson said, via Larry Mayer of the team’s website. “He’s been a guy behind the scenes for a very long time, even before I got here (in 2017). [He] was one of the guys who helped me the most learning the plays, learning the schemes. So, for him to get that type of promotion is huge and I feel like it’s well deserved.”
Desai joined the Bears as a defensive quality control coach in 2013 under then-defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and head coach Marc Trestman. He remained with the team despite coaching chances for 2015 that saw John Fox as head coach and Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator. He again made it through another coaching change in 2018 was hired as the team’s new head coach. Fangio remained in the defensive coordinator role for one more season before getting the head coaching job with the Denver Broncos. That allowed Pagano to take the defensive reins for Chicago.
Under Pagano, Desai was promoted to safeties coach. Two years later, he’s the guy in charge.
“Sean knows strengths and weaknesses,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “He watches a lot of film. He’s a smart guy. He knows football. So, I think that’s going to help put us in the best situation possible in making the right calls and understanding who’s out there and knowing how the guys can make an impact play.”
Taking players like Jackson and Trevathan at their word, it doesn’t seem as though Desai needs to earn the respect of his players as coordinator, which can be one of the bigger hurdles to clear for a coach coming into a team.
“I think that Sean is one of the brighter young minds in the game,” safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. said. “To have him as my defensive coordinator, I definitely understand what he can bring to the table. And with the talent that he has on defense, it’s going to be a beautiful thing to see.”