The Seattle Seahawks are looking for a new defensive coordinator and have asked for permission from the Bears to interview Sean Desai. Desai was the defensive coordinator in Chicago in 2021 and had to coach his defense as it was suffering a multitude of injuries.
Before becoming DC last year, Desai had been with the Bears since 2013. He started off as a defensive quality control coach and was promoted to safeties coach in 2019 and then DC in 2020.
If one looks at the raw statistics, the Bears defense wasn’t very good last year. They were 22nd in points allowed per game (23.9), 19th in yards allowed per rush (4.4), last in quarterback-rating-allowed (103.3) and 26th in creating turnovers (16). But there is more than meets the eye here.
What Sean Desai could bring to the Seahawks as defensive coordinator
According to Football Outsiders, the Bears DVOA on defense was 13th (compared to the Seahawks which were 21st). In 2020, Chicago ranked 8th in DVOA. The issue with the Bears defense last year was they had only two presumed starters play the entire season. In 2020, they had 7 such players play every game.
Superstar linebacker Khalil Mack missed 10 games in 2021. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks played in only 9 games. Chicago was an injured bunch yet it appears Desai still got them to play like a cohesive unit that kept Chicago in more games than it should have been. The Bears offense was atrocious as well which put even more pressure on the defense.
Desai’s defense did not use a lot of blitz packages (Chicago blitzed just 22.6 percent of the time – 21st in the league) but Desai does seem to know how to involve his secondary and allows them to make plays on the ball while playing the majority of snaps in a 3-4. This would be different than what the Seahawks have done recently which is a 4-3 base.
Desai comes from the Vic Fangio coaching tree which has produced some very good coaches, such as recent Rams DC Brandon Staley.
Desai also is young enough – he is 38 years old – to develop into a head coach for quite some time. The question is if his one year of experience as a DC with a banged-up unit that didn’t produce at a high level likely due to injuries enough to show he will be a good defensive coordinator for the Seahawks?
Because if Desai is hired and greatly improves a defensive group that has talent, especially some very good young talent (like Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor), then if the Seahawks hire Desai they might not only be hiring the new defensive coordinator for 2022 but eventually Pete Carroll’s replacement as head coach.