New Chicago Bears head coach John Fox, hired yesterday afternoon, wasted no time in his search for coordinators. Even before the ink dried on his contract, Fox reached out to former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
It’s being reported Fangio will interview with the Bears and the Redskins in the coming days.
Fangio is a seasoned coach who took his first NFL job in 1986 as linebackers coach for the New Orleans Saints, a post he held for nine seasons. From 1995-1998, he served as defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. Fangio was then DC of the Indianapolis Colts from 1999-2001 and the Houston Texans from 2002-2005.
From 2006-2010, he coached for the Baltimore Ravens, first as special assistant to the head coach/defense, then as special assistant to the head coach/linebackers. In 2010, he was defensive coordinator under Jim Harbuagh at Stanford. Fangio then followed Harbaugh to San Francisco, where he was DC from 2011-2014.
Fangio was released, along with Harbaugh, this offseason.
In 15 seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator, here are how Fangio’s units ranked in overall defense, rushing defense, passing defense and points allowed:
Fangio had success his first two years in Carolina, yet for the next nine years, he didn’t field a single Top 10 defense. In fact, his units during that span averaged 23rd overall, 21st against the run, 24th against the run and 21st in points allowed.
Fangio was fired following a 2005 season in which the Colts finished 31st overall and 32nd in points allowed. He then took a step back, working as an assistant head coach with the Ravens, an organization known for consistent defensive dominance the past 15 years.
It was time well spent for Fangio, who emerged a much better defensive coach after five years in Baltimore.
The past four seasons in San Francisco, he led a 49ers defense that ranked 4th, 3rd, 5th and 5th overall. In fact, Fangio’s units finished in the Top 10 in all four major categories each year in San Francisco.
It’s safe to say, Fangio has been the NFL’s most successful defensive coordinator since 2011. In the last four seasons, the 49ers ranked 7th, 11th, 18th and 21st in sacks, as well 4th in total takeaways each year, which is phenomenal.
Fangio runs a 3-4 defense known for solid tackling and an aggressive front seven.
The other name attached to the Bears DC job is former Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, who was John Fox’s defensive coordinator for the Broncos in 2011. From 2006-2010, Allen coached for the New Orleans Saints, while Bears GM Ryan Pace worked in the front office.
Both Pace and Fox are very familiar with Allen, who had an 8-28 record in three years as head coach of the Raiders.
Under Allen in 2011, the Broncos finished 20th overall, 18th against the pass, 22nd in rushing and 24th in points allowed. He also runs a 4-3 defense, although one that incorporates many 3-4 and 5-2 sets.
The Bears have not scheduled an interview with Allen.
Fangio appears the frontrunner at this point, with Allen likely in wait-and-see mode.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.