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Vic Fangio faces challenges, opportunity in final year of Bears contract

Vic Fangio faces challenges, opportunity in final year of Bears contract
Published On: Sat, Jun 10
Dec 28, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears Jay Cutler (6) directs his offense as they play the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

When Vic Fangio addresses the Bears defense at the mandatory minicamp that starts Monday, the veteran coordinator will look upon a group of 42 players with exactly zero Pro Bowl selections among them.

Whatever emotions that fact stirs in Fangio, at least they won't be new.

The Bears' defense also had that dubious distinction last season. They were and still are the only defense in the NFL without a single Pro Bowl player. Quite extraordinary given the current selection format in which bids are distributed like Halloween candy.

It's a remarkable starting point for Fangio as he enters his 31st NFL season and the final one of his Bears contract. Amid the intense intrigue about the team's quarterback overhaul, Fangio's success this season and his status beyond it are nearly as important to a rebuilding project still striving for continuity.

As the team advanced from the Year 3 starting line over the past few weeks, Fangio recognized the flaws in his undistinguished group and internalized whatever handicaps they entail. He has, after all, proven himself to be a realist through two full seasons on coach John Fox's staff.

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