If Bears want to get defensive, Todd Bowles could be their guy

At the end of 2018, after Patrick Mahomes led the NFL with 50 touchdown passes, 9.6 yards per attempt and dozens of gasp-worthy plays in his first full season, an AFC West rival made a bold move.

Deciding they needed the league’s best defensive mind to try to counteract the Chiefs quarterback, the Broncos gave Bears coordinator Vic Fangio the chance that had eluded him throughout his career: a head-coaching job.

Fangio, though, never figured out Mahomes. Todd Bowles did.

The Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator held Mahomes to a 52.3 passer rating and nine points in last year’s Super Bowl. Mahomes was sacked three times and threw two interceptions. The Chiefs had only four plays of 20 yards or more, and they came in the second half when they trailed by 15 or more.

Teams took notice. Bowles was set to interview with the Bears on Saturday, one day after talking to the Vikings. As it becomes increasingly likely that Aaron Rodgers remains in Green Bay to torture the NFC North for years to come, hiring a defensive-minded coach makes sense for both teams.

Unlike Fangio, Bowles has head-coaching experience, uninspiring as it may be: He went 24-40 in four years with the Jets before joining the Bucs. He almost became the Bears’ defensive coordinator after the Jets fired him. In January 2019, former Bears coach Matt Nagy wanted Bowles, who played for Nagy’s father in high school, to be his…

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