Bilal Nichols discusses departure of Bears DL coach Jay Rodgers

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Alyssa Barbieri
·2 min read
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The Chicago Bears had several coaches depart elsewhere this offseason, which left some vacancies along the offensive and defensive coaching staff.

Perhaps the biggest departure came with defensive line coach Jay Rodgers, who has been with the Bears since 2015. Rodgers left Chicago to join former Bears outside linebackers coach and new Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley as the team’s new defensive line coach.

The loss of Rodgers, who was an internal candidate to replace Chuck Pagano as defensive coordinator, is huge for this defense. The defensive line hasn’t only been the most consistent position group, but Rodgers has been instrumental in the development of players such as Bilal Nichols, Nick Williams and Roy Robertson-Harris.

Nichols recently joined the Hoge and Jahns podcast, where he sounded off on the departure of Rodgers.

“Man. A lot of my success so far in this league has come from Coach Jay Rodgers and the vets that I’ve been blessed to play with,” Nichols said. “From Day 1 — from the first day of becoming a Chicago Bear — he’s been on me about the little things, the details, the technique and a lot of the plays that I make and a lot of the positions that I be in to make those plays are a credit to him. I definitely think he’s, if not the best, he’s one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL so we’re going to miss him.”

While Rodgers was assumed to be an in-house candidate for defensive coordinator, the Bears ultimately promoted safeties coach Sean Desai to the role.

Chicago hired Chris Rumph to replace Rodgers as defensive line coach. Not unlike Rodgers, Rumph has been praised for his development of players. He’s relatively new to the NFL, having spent a majority of his coaching career at the collegiate level. Still, his extensive knowledge and experience coaching the defensive line should be valuable for a unit that will also be returning nose tackle Eddie Goldman in 2021.

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