Pasqualoni hire gives Bears versatility


With the addition of Paul Pasqualoni to their staff, the Chicago Bears made a move that gives them a lot of options going forward.

While the rumors that Pasqualoni was going to be on the Bears staff is about a week old, it was first confirmed by the Chicago Tribune’s Rich Campbell.

The Bears have yet to announce where Pasqualoni will fit in on their staff. He has experience coaching both linebackers and defensive line. That experience will allow the Bears to hire the best candidate to fill the other position.

Pasqualoni spent 14 years as the head coach at Syracuse before Bill Parcells brought him onto his coaching staff in Dallas in 2005. Pasqualoni coached tight ends his first year there then moved to linebackers the next two.

When Parcells went on to an executive role with the Miami Dolphins, he hired Tony Sparano from Dallas to be the head coach in Miami and Sparano brought Pasqualoni on to be the defensive coordinator, replacing Dom Capers.

In Pasqualoni’s first year, the Dolphins defense improved from 30th in scoring defense to ninth. A lot more—including improved offensive performance and a number of changes in personnel—went into that than that, but it’s better than any of current Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker’s defenses have finished.

In 2009, Pasqualoni’s defense dropped to 25th and he was fired. He was back in Dallas for the start of the 2010 season, this time coaching the defensive line, but he was back in the coordinator role soon.

Eight games into the 2010 season, Pasqualoni was back to being a coordinator as the Cowboys fired head coach Wade Phillips.

The Cowboys defense finished 31st that year, but improved when Pasqualoni took over. The improvement was still pretty bad as they gave up 25.2 points per game, but they gave up 29 per game when the very highly thought of Phillips coached the defense.

Pasqualoni then left Dallas to become the head coach at UConn. There, he struggled and was fired four games into the 2013 season.

While he struggled as a collegiate head coach and sometimes as a coordinator, Pasqualoni’s overall experience is a tremendous asset to the Bears.

It’s expected that Pasqualoni will end up coaching the Bears linebackers, since that is where he has more experience, but the Bears have options.

A week ago, I suggested they bring back a familiar face to coach their linebackers. With the hiring of Pasqualoni, that’s still possible. What might make even more sense is bringing in Pepper Johnson, the former linebackers coach with the Patriots.

Or they could keep Pasqualoni with the linebackers and bring in a new defensive line coach.

That’s not the extent of the Bears options with their new coach.

There is no question that the Bears kept Tucker as the coordinator because they feel he can and will turn their defense around. That said, general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman strike me as guys who like insurance. Should Tucker’s defense struggle again next season, they now have someone who can replace him during the season if they need to.

Even if they ultimately came to the conclusion that Tucker should remain as their coordinator, the fact that it took so long for Emery and Trestman to decide that is evidence that they weren’t completely sold. This isn’t to suggest that Pasqualoni was hired to replace Tucker, but the Bears do have the option should it come to that.

If it doesn’t, the Bears are coming away with a veteran coach who has had experience and success coaching a number of positions. That’s always a good thing to add to a coaching staff.

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