Expectations are high for the Chicago Bears heading into 2019, and a large part of that hype stems from boasting the NFL’s best defense from a year ago.

A lot has been made of the departure of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who is now coaching in Denver, and how it’ll ultimately affect this Bears defense.

But given the talent that the Bears possess on the defensive side of the ball, there’s no reason not to expect more dominance from this unit in 2019.

The Bears will return 10 defensive starters, including All-Pros Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller, as well as Pro Bowler Akiem Hicks and last year’s first-round selection Roquan Smith.

With the offseason program underway, defensive players are getting a chance to know new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, and he’s someone that has left a positive impression.

‘‘He’s a great guy,’’ Smith told reporters on Monday. ‘‘Great sense of humor. Love him. Love his character, and he comes to work every day with a positive attitude.’’

Pagano looks to bring an even more aggressive approach that centers on wreaking havoc and dictating the tempo with a focus on fundamentals and technique.

Chicago doesn’t expect much of a turnaround on defense with Pagano, who isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel. There are some things from a terminology standpoint that he’ll try to make as seamless as possible.

‘‘I don’t think it will be a huge transition because football is football,’’ Smith said. ‘‘There’s only so many calls you can run, so many defenses you can be in. So I think it will be an easy transition.’’

The Bears led the NFL in fewest points allowed and takeaways in 2018, and the groundwork has already been laid for Pagano. Hicks doesn’t believe that transitioning from Fangio to Pagano will have any significant setbacks for a defensive unit that is looking to continue its dominance in 2019.

‘‘No step back, no step back; we’re always going forward,’’ Hicks said. ‘‘There’s always going to be an adjustment period anytime you have new people in the building. I don’t think we have to take a step back. We just have to hit it harder.’’