LAKE FOREST – Bears coach Matt Nagy was happy when former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio got his shot as Denver Broncos head coach in 2020.
But there was one assistant Nagy was not letting Fangio take with him. Nagy saw something special with Sean Desai, who at that point coached the Bears’ safeties.
Desai, who spent six seasons as Bears defensive quality control coach, was promoted to defensive coordinator this offseason after Chuck Pagano retired. Desai will call the defensive shots for the first time in his NFL career on Saturday when the Bears host the Miami Dolphins at noon at Soldier Field in the preseason opener.
“Vic didn’t take my calls for like three months after that, but it’s OK, I knew he’d get over it,” Nagy said. “When I first got here, I didn’t know a lot of the guys on the defensive staff. But as the year went on, I got to know them more and more.
“The quality control guys don’t get any credit, but they’re the ones doing all the work and they’re the ones that are learning a lot of the X’s and O’s. They’re in the background, they’re hidden, but they make things go.”
Nagy saw Desai’s energy and knowledge and felt he was too valuable to let him join Fangio. Now, at 38 years old and two years removed from quality control, Desai is running a defense that ranked 14th in the NFL in yards allowed.
“I know what he’s going to do and what he’s going to be like,” Nagy said. “I knew his goal was to be a coordinator. I couldn’t promise him anything, but I could at least give him my word that if an opportunity does arise, you’re going to have a chance at it.”
Nagy said general manager Ryan Pace helped him gauge how valuable Desai was to the staff.
“Ryan was able to give me the background on a lot of coaches that I didn’t know and it helped me out,” Nagy said. “Something I never want to take for granted with my own coaches is I want to have great teachers. I think (Desai) is an elite teacher. He knows how to connect what he’s teaching with his guys and when that happens you build that trust. Those guys trust in him.”
Another day, another pick: Free agent linebacker Alec Ogletree did it again Sunday, picking off an Andy Dalton pass in a red-zone drill against the offense.
Ogletree, who just signed with the Bears on Wednesday, is making a name for himself. He has seven interceptions in the last four practices.
Ogletree is an intriguing player, having been selected No. 30 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He played with the Rams for five seasons, with the New York Giants for two and was with the New York Jets last season before he was cut.
Coincidentally, three of Ogletree’s last four NFL interceptions have come against the Bears.
Ready to Dazz-le: The Bears hope to see rookie wide receiver Dazz Newsome, a sixth-round pick from North Carolina, back in action soon. Newsome is doing limited work as he finishes recovering from a broken collarbone, suffered in OTAs earlier this summer.
“The biggest challenge is just knowing what to do at and where to be at at every (receiver) position,” Newsome said. “Other than that, I’ve just got to ball. I’ve talked to a couple teammates and they helped me a lot. Tarik Cohen, Teez Tabor, Marquise Goodwin, they helped me. They were saying just trust and believe in the process and make sure I’m in the playbook.”
Newsome considers the injury a minor setback, although he knows he has missed valuable time.
“It was definitely upsetting,” he said. “You’ve got to really be on the field for it to click a lot. Obviously, that’s the toughest part.”
No changes: Nagy said there were no changes with the injury list on Sunday. That list was comprised of the following players: Newsome (collarbone), OT Teven Jenkins (back), S Tashaun Gipson (groin), OL James Daniels (quadriceps), DB Michael Joseph (hamstring), LB Josh Woods (quadriceps), OLB Robert Quinn (back), LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring), OT Larry Borom (concussion), CB Desmond Trufant (hamstring), TE J.P. Holtz (quadriceps), WR Thomas Ives (leg), OL Lachavious Simmmons (concussion), LB Roquan Smith (groin).
Trufant did practice Sunday and Iyiegbuniwe ran some sprints alone.
DT Eddie Goldman, LS Patrick Scales, LB Christian Jones and OT Elijah Wilkinson remain on COVID-19 list.
S Eddie Jackson (hamstring) is on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List and OT Germain Ifedi (hip flexor) and RB Tarik Cohen (knee) are on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List and have yet to practice.
Source: The Daily Chronicle