John DeFilippo is joining Matt Nagy’s new-look Bears offensive staff as quarterbacks coach under new coordinator Bill Lazor and new passing-game coordinator Dave Ragone, formerly the Bears’ QBs coach, according to multiple published reports Wednesday.
The 41-year-old DeFilippo, who surprisingly parted ways with the Jacksonville Jaguars as offensive coordinator Monday, was among the finalists in general manager Ryan Pace’s head-coaching search two offseasons ago that ended in Nagy’s hiring.
DeFillipo’s Jaguars offense ranked only 20th in yardage, but he oversaw the development of surprise sixth-round starting QB Gardner Minshew, who “Wally Pipped” big-ticket signee and Super Bowl LII champion Nick Foles en route to setting franchise rookie records for passing yards (3,271) and touchdowns (21) in only 12 starts, including an NFL rookie-high six wins.
It was DeFilippo’s work with Foles and then-rookie Carson Wentz as Eagles QBs coach during their Super Bowl run two years ago that vaulted him to the coordinator job with the Minnesota Vikings. But he was shockingly fired only 13 games into the 2018 season by Mike Zimmer over philosophical differences, mainly the head coach’s desire to run the football more – and more successfully – than DeFillipo was coordinating.
The arrivals of DeFillipo and Lazor, who was out of the NFL last season after a three-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, also mean a promotion for Ragone. The Bears’ longest-tenured offensive assistant was hired by former Bears coach John Fox in 2015 and retained by Nagy, making him the only offensive coach inside Halas Hall who preceded Mitch Trubisky’s arrival.
The Bears’ most precipitous backslide from 12-4 division champs in Nagy’s 2018 maiden head-coaching voyage to 8-8 also-rans this season stemmed from their 29th-ranked scoring offense and the struggles of Trubisky.
In Lazor and DeFilippo, the Bears added two experienced QB developers with 14 combined seasons as NFL quarterbacks coaches and seven more as NFL coordinators.
It should be noted that although Nagy and Pace said at their end-of-season news conference that they intend on Trubisky starting next season, he’ll almost certainly be surrounded with two new quarterbacks, as backup Chase Daniel and third-stringer Tyler Bray are impending free agents.
Lazor worked closely with fellow potential impending free agents Ryan Tannehill and Andy Dalton, and DeFilippo and Lazor worked together on Chip Kelly’s Eagles staff in 2016, when Foles was invited to the Pro Bowl and registered the third-highest passer rating in NFL history (119.2).
If Nagy – who also coached Foles, in 2016 with the Chiefs – and the Bears are interested in the 31-year-old Super Bowl hero, it’d likely have to be after the 2020 season. He signed a four-year deal in Jacksonville that includes $50 million guaranteed last year and would carry a $20-plus million cap charge next season.