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|Vic Fangio is returning to the Chicago Bears as defensive coordinator after being passed up for their head coaching job.
Fangio re-signed Friday and will continue to lead a defense he helped transform the past three seasons. He was the first candidate to interview for the Bears’ coaching job after John Fox was fired 49ers Fred Warner Jersey , but general manager Ryan Pace ultimately decided to go with former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy.
Fangio was free to go elsewhere after his contract expired. Before he arrived in Chicago, the Bears’ defense ranked among the worst in franchise history. They were more than respectable in 2017 under Fangio despite losing several players to injuries, including linebacker Leonard Floyd.
Chicago’s defense ranked 10th overall, seventh against the pass, ninth in scoring and 11th against the run.
With Fangio back, the Bears have filled all three coordinator spots.
The team announced Friday that it has hired former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator and Chris Tabor as special teams coordinator. The Bears also brought in Charles London to coach running backs and Mike Furrey as wide receivers coach.
Helfrich led Oregon to a 37-16 record in four seasons. That included a run to the first College Football Playoff championship game during the 2014 season with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota at quarterback. He was fired after a 4-8 finish in 2016.
Before becoming the Ducks’ coach, Helfrich was their quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2009-12 under Chip Kelly. With their fast-paced and prolific spread-option offense, the Ducks went 46-7 during that span.
Helfrich didn’t call plays as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and he won’t in Chicago. Nagy plans to do that.
The Bears are looking to get the most out of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and emerge from one of the worst runs in franchise history.
They fired Fox after three seasons with a 14-34 record that gave him the second-worst winning percentage for a Chicago coach. Nagy spent the past decade working under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City and served as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator this past season.
He is trying to help turn around a team that missed the playoffs for the seventh straight season and hasn’t finished above .500 since Lovie Smith was fired after going 10-6 in 2012. The Bears were 5-11 in 2017.
The development of Trubisky, the No. 2 overall draft pick last spring, could go a long way toward lifting an offense that ranked 30th overall and last in passing. But the Bears will need to acquire some playmaking receivers.
Tabor spent the past seven seasons as Cleveland’s special teams coordinator. The Browns ranked sixth in kickoff return average against (21., seventh in the NFL in punt return average (9.9), ninth in total kick return yards (8 49ers Tarvarius Moore Jersey ,974) and 10th in total return yards allowed (7,627) during that time. Tabor was Chicago’s assistant special teams coach from 2008-2010.
London has spent nine seasons in the NFL – the past four as Houston’s running backs coach. He was an offensive assistant with the Bears from 2007-09.
Furrey played eight seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. With Detroit in 2006, he ranked second in the league with 98 receptions while recording 1,086 yards and six touchdowns.
Furrey spent the past two years coaching at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C.
PHILADELPHIA — The top-seeded Eagles are in search of their first trip to the Super Bowl since the 2004 season when they host the second-seeded Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles (14-3) posted a 15-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round last Saturday and will participate in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2008 season. They dropped a 32-25 decision to the Arizona Cardinals in that contest.
Philadelphia hasn’t hosted an NFC Championship Game since recording a 27-10 win over the Falcons following the 2004 season.
The Vikings (14-3) advanced following a thrilling 29-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Stefon Diggs hauled in a 61-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Case Keenum on the final play of the game Sunday.
Like the Eagles, Minnesota has yet to win a Super Bowl. The Vikings have dropped five consecutive NFC Championship games.
Philadelphia will enter Sunday’s game as an underdog, especially with quarterback Carson Wentz out with a torn ACL.
“It’s about those players in that dressing room, whether we’re three-point underdogs or three-point favorites. They really don’t listen to that stuff,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Of course, they have been sort of force-fed for about two weeks now 49ers Kentavius Street Jersey , three weeks now, the information, and they just stick together. They just stick together and find a way and it’s been that way all season.”
Backup quarterback Nick Foles did an admirable job against the Falcons, completing 23 of 30 passes for 246 yards and a 100.1 passer rating. In two career playoff games with the Eagles — the other coming in a 26-24 loss to the Saints in 2014 — Foles is 46 of 63 for 441 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 102.7 passer rating.
“I am very humbled to win this game and to be a part of this team,” Foles said. “That’s what it’s always been about. I know there was a lot of people against us this last week. Just answering questions, and just hearing about it.
“… The biggest thing in our locker room is we believe in one another. Everyone believes, and that was shown on display. The city of Philadelphia obviously believes because they were here and loud. So we are grateful for that. Honestly, it’s unbelievable to win this game and we are not finished.”
The Vikings are in search of their first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1976 season — Super Bowl XI.
During the regular season, the Vikings’ defense ranked first in points allowed per game (15. and yards given up per game (275.9). Defensive end Everson Griffen was tied for fourth in the league with a career-best 13 sacks this season.
While the Vikings likely have seen video of Diggs’ amazing catch a million times, another game awaits in the NFC Championship.
“We should celebrate this and enjoy this Authentic Josh Rosen Jersey ,” tight end Kyle Rudolph told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “It’s hard to win playoff games. There’s a lot of guys in this locker room, including myself, this is our first playoff win. But it’s just the beginning. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.
“It’d be a shame to let something like that go to waste by us not showing up.”
The incredible final play will be etched in viewers’ minds forever.
“I don’t think it’s still really sunk in as far as like what something like that’s going to be,” guard Jeremiah Sirles told ESPN.com. “That’s the stuff that in 20 years, you turn on NFL Films and it’s going to be the 2018 NFL Classic. Something like that that you can’t take away from any player that’s in this room right now. We’ll always be a part of something that happened that was super special like that.”
A win over the Eagles would not only clinch a trip to the Super Bowl, but it would also be the Vikings’ first playoff victory against Philadelphia in four tries. The last time the teams met was in the 2008 wild-card round.
The Vikings are 0-4 all-time in the Super Bowl. In order to get a fifth shot, they’ll have to travel to a hostile environment and knock out the No. 1 seed.
“They’re a pretty resilient bunch,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told ESPN.com. “They’re pretty determined in what they’re always trying to get done. They’re always trying to get better. They’re a good group of guys that work really hard.”
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