Can These Key Additions Finally Help Bears Own Packers in 2020?

Trubisky Matt Nagy

Getty Bears QB Mitch Trubisky

Could the newest members of the Chicago Bears coaching staff finally give the team an edge over its rivals to the North? That’s what Da Bears Blog’s Andrew Dannehy thinks. Since head coach Matt Nagy’s arrival in 2018, the Bears have gone 9-3 against the NFC North. But while Chicago has gone 8-0 against both the Vikings and the Lions, Nagy and company have gone 1-3 against the Packers, and Dannehy thinks change could be on the horizon.

Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has fared incredibly well against Matt Nagy’s offense over the last two years. Pettine’s defenses have held Bears offenses to an average of 14 points and 324 yards since Nagy’s arrival, which won’t get it done. But Dannehy thinks the arrivals of quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and offensive line coach Juan Castillo specifically could provide the Bears with the boost they need to finally topple the Packers.

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Dannehy on Bears’ New Coaching Additions: DeFilippo Has Done Well vs Pettine Recently

When Pettine was head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2015, DeFilippo was his offensive coordinator, and Dannehy points out that quite a few of Pettine’s former coordinators have gone on to do quite well against him, citing 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan a prime example. He lists DeFilippo as another. The man they call ‘Flip’ served as the OC for the Vikings in 2018, and Dannehy notes his offense had a great deal of success against Pettine and Green Bay:

“Flip has… faced Pettine twice, both coming during the 2018 season when he was the offensive coordinator of the Vikings. In the first game, the Vikings scored 29 points before putting up 24 in the second. In those two games, Kirk Cousins threw seven touchdown passes to one interception, completed nearly 75 percent of his passes and totaled 767 yards. The Bears don’t have Cousins, but Cousins wasn’t close to as successful without DeFilippo last year, passing for two touchdowns and three interceptions and 352 yards combined in two games last year. Green Bay’s defense was much better in 2019 than it was in 2018, but it wasn’t that good.”

Dannehy also pointed out that if new o-line coach Castillo can make half the impact he’s expected to, the running game should improve against the Pack, as well, which will be key if they want to finally beat Green Bay with any kind of regularity.

Can Juan Castillo Make Bears Better Running Team?

Dannehy also thinks Castillo’s experience could be an x-factor — specifically, his experience running the outside zone, which the 49ers also heavily use:

“Much has been made about Juan Castillo and his connections to the Andy Reid offense, but the veteran offensive line coach also has connections to the outside zone that the Shanahan family made famous and Pettine has been unable to stop. In two seasons with the Packers, Pettine’s defense has given up an average of 145 rushing yards per game against teams that feature that famed running scheme. Castillo has said in the past that he runs a variety of schemes, but he has preferred the outside zone in his most recent stops”

Considering both DeFilippo’s resumé and Castillo’s background, it’s not unreasonable to assume that together, they could have some success against the Packers, especially with this ‘D’. Aaron Rodgers is 19-5 against the Bears, but he threw for just 406 yards and two scores against this defense last season, and he was sacked six times in two games. If Chicago’s offense can finally get something going against Pettine — whose job seems to be in perpetual flux in Green Bay — they may finally get over the hump against their biggest rival.

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