As if things aren’t going badly enough for the Bears, they’re now preparing to be without all three coordinators and as many as 20 players when they host the Vikings on Monday.
Bears coach Matt Nagy announced Thursday that assistants Bill Lazor (offense), Sean Desai (defense) and Chris Tabor (special teams) have tested positive for coronavirus and will be working remotely until cleared. They must test negative twice, 24 hours apart, to return to in-person coaching.
They’re not allowed to have any interaction with the team during the game if they’re still in quarantine, which means Nagy will need to tab substitutes. When he missed the 49ers game because of the coronavirus, Tabor coached in his place.
The coaching shakeup comes amid similar turmoil on the roster. The Bears put six players on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, including stars Allen Robinson and Eddie Jackson. The additions pushed them to 12, including two practice-squad players, with all but one going on the list this week.
Furthermore, the Bears have eight players dealing with non-COVID illnesses. The team opted for a walk-through Thursday instead of practice because it was down so many players.
Any vaccinated players on the reserve/COVID-19 list will need to test negative twice in order to play Monday.
Nagy hinted that senior defensive assistant Mike Pettine was the likely choice to serve as defensive coordinator if Desai is out. The Bears hired Pettine this year after three seasons as the Packers’ defensive coordinator. He also spent four seasons in that role for the Jets, one for the Bills and was head coach of the Browns in 2014 and ’15.
Lazor’s replacement is largely unimportant since Nagy will almost certainly reclaim play calling. In that case, Nagy might not even need to name an acting coordinator.
Nagy called offensive plays last season until Week 10 against the Vikings, then reasserted himself as play caller in the offseason. He relinquished that role again after a disastrous offensive performance against the Browns in Week 3.
There has been suspicion lately that Nagy was calling plays again, but reiterated two weeks ago that, “Bill is calling all the plays.”