Chicago Bears Defensive Coaches

Back to real life these days.  Funny how quickly we do get over the Bears going in the tank, right?  Seriously, I have a lot of work/career/family stuff going on over the next six months, so this will again turn into a weekly blog, or a blog whenever there is Bears news to discuss.  But don’t forget about us when the draft and training camp roll around again.

So as of this writing, the Chicago Bears have fired linebackers coach Lloyd Lee and defensive backs coach Steve Wilks, and defensive line coach Brick Haley left for a similar position at LSU.  Presumably, uninformed fans without the ability to understand the situation think that places are being created on the Bears’ staff for Lovie Smith’s best friend Rod Marinelli and his son-in-law Joe Barry to become defensive line and linebackers coaches, respectively.

If this should happen, and it seems that it’s what is happening, will this make the Bears and their defensive coaching staff better?  Probably.  Hopefully.  Marinelli was Smith’s first choice to become his defensive coordinator when he was hired in 2004, but Tampa Bay would not allow Marinelli to leave.  Marinelli is said to be an elite defensive line coach, and these guys both have the experience and probably a better pedigree than the men they would be replacing.

But-what it potentially would also mean is more of the same that has resulted in the Bears’ defense greatly dropping in productivity since Ron Rivera’s departure (virtual firing).

It has been widely reported that despite the official proclimations of it being a “mutual decision”, Rivera wasn’t retained after coaching a solid unit in 2005 and 2006 because he had dissenting viewpoints from Smith on various areas of running the defense.  It’s his way or the highway with Smith, and if Rivera wouldn’t fully conform to Smith’s views, he was done.  Promoting Lovie’s friend Bob Babich to coordinator took away Rivera’s dissenting voice.

So bringing in Smith’s best friend in Marinelli and his son-in-law certainly won’t breed a single new out-of-the-box idea, it will only serve to further the monopoly of Smith’s ideas.  Even less dissention than what has existed in the two years that have seen a plummeting defensive performance.

Hey-it’s Smith’s team, and if General Manager Jerry Angelo and the rest of the organization is willing to allow it to happen, there’s nothing anyone else can do about it.

But remember this.  Any Chicago Bears History book worth its weight will mention that George Halas purposely hired coaches with conflicting viewpoints (now I sure hope my book mentions this).  Halas didn’t want one leader and a bunch of yes-men (presumably except when he was head coach), he wanted conflict and argument to make sure all angles were being considered for the best interests of the football team.  This Bears team is going farther away from that philosophy.

Only time will tell if this happens, what the results will be for the 2009 Chicago Bears.  Should they regress again, we can only hope there will be hell to pay.

10 Responses to “Chicago Bears Defensive Coaches”

  1. Yeah, you see the Packers fire ALL of their defensive staff. The Bears start from the bottom up instead of the top down. And the Bears won’t fire Bob Babich.

    Theres also a new press release that says “Multiple sources” tell the Sun Times that Chicago made no offer and with the Bears opting to keep DC Bob Babich, Marinelli may have no interest.

    Lovie is going the same route with Babich as Dick Jauron did with John Shoop.

  2. Scott,

    Unless there is a name, “sources” mean nothing to me. A “source” who opted not to be named said Cowher was interested in the Jets job. And of course, that was a bunch of garbage. Marinelli is probably looking at the best situation right now for himself. Lots of teams would want him as an assistant.

  3. I rarely read David Haugh’s stuff and come away agreeing with what he says, but his viewpoint today, RT’s writeup here, and other media analysis of the situation this week are on the mark. It makes absolutely no sense so fire position coaches UNDER Babich and Lovie, while keeping Babich in his current position. Those two, and ultimately Angelo, are the ones who own all of the accountability for the now desposed defensive position staff members who were originally hired by Lovie in the first place to exuctue Lovie’s philosophical “plan”. Haugh is right on that the Bears are in denial – Babich/Lovie’s system is not working in any way, shape or form, and there is no doubt many members of the overpaid/underachieving defense (Tillman, Vasher, Dvoracek, etc.) are not doing the job. It looks like the Packers may also be changing their entire defensive strategy. Lovie will never do that and it makes me sick to know he and Babich will likely be here through the duration of their contracts executing the same garbage.

    One final note – the Marinelli/son in law joined at the hip package is not the answer to anything. I don’t really care what they did in Tampa. Let’s look at the last 3 years in Detroit as a more realistic barometer. I heard Barry say “he wants to coach again”. OK – so what? Why bring on two guys that oversaw one of the biggest embarrassments the NFL has ever seen? Even considering it tells you right there the Bears can’t/won’t think out of the box and are always settling for the lowest common denominator.

  4. One last thought I just had. Take a step back and try to do a quick analysis of Lovie’s track record of doing things. Let’s use adjustments as an example. Lovie never, ever makes any in game or halftime adjustments – it’s always stay the course, no matter what may present itself in a game to tell you to alter the game plan for better results. Now apply that line of thought to what Lovie is doing right now. Logic tells anyone with a brain that wholesale changes are absolutely needed in a lot of areas. Yet all indications are that nothing is really going to change any time soon. Just pathetic.

  5. Grabber,

    You should not even consider looking at Detroit. That whole place is a waste land. MArty Morrenwig won five games there in two years. He’s now an assitant head coach/offensive coordinator under Andy Reid, who happens to be good friends. Steve Marricui can easily get another coaching job if he really wants to. He’s too confortable behind the desk. Friends do get jobs in the NFL. It happens all the time.

    Marinelli was a good assistant in Tampa. Some coaches are just not head coaches but good assistants. Cam Cameron had a 1-15 record in Miami. Now, he is the OC on a good Ravens team. Previously, he was a good OC in San Diego. Norv Turner and Wade Philips are fine coordinators. They just aren’t very good head coaches. Marinelli has proven to be a good assistant. The brother in law, well, thats another story.

  6. I do, however, agree the Bears aren’t good at adjusting during the game. They prepare well, but don’t always adjust well. They led the league this season in points scored on the first drive, and were in the top five in points scored in the first quarter. Fourth quarter was a little different. Other than both Packer games, the Bears were ready to play at the beginning of every game.

  7. Re: The hiring friends stuff throughout the league, sure it happens. But in this case, I don’t like Lovie’s friends – i.e. Babich. The Bears must really think the media and fanbase are brain dead if they believe even for a second that the positional firings will be perceived publicly as really doing something to improve the staff. Because they are only being done as a salary dump and to save Babich from being canned and keeping him as Lovie’s right hand man. Granted, unless they consolidate those positions down a little, new $$ are going to be needed to fill three positions out yet again.

    Re: Marinelli, I don’t doubt the guy has defensive coaching experience, that is obvious. But looking in his direction is an effort that takes no creative effort at all on the Bears’ part. As RT already pointed out, bringing him and son-in-law Barry in only would mean that the D is going to be status quo again. And as we’ve already confirmed, that system and the players in it are not working at all. The defense is as broken down as it can be, nearly impossible to get any worse than what it is right now.

  8. Let the record show I do not think Babich should be retained. It is obvious the players and him are not on the same page. Everyone is always going to look at the defense and say once Rivera left, the defense took a dive. However, this is not the case. What they fail to realize that the defense was not nearly as good in the second half of 2006. Now, other than the first half of Arizona game, the defense the first six weeks was down right sick. When Mike Brown went down, the run defense took a huge hit. They were still a pretty solid group, but teams were able to run on the Bears a bit easier. When Tommie Harris went down, the defense was then average. Other than the Saints game, the defense wasn’t very good at all after Harris’ injury. Of course, everyone was too concerned of Grossman’s struggles. They did an ok job against the Seahwaks, but I would hardly call it a dominant performance. And, Rivera was also the DC in the 2005 Carolina game and Super Bowl. To me, the players are to blame more than anything. They are overhyped, overpaid, and big mouthed. Can you imagine how this defense would be this year without Briggs and Alex Brown???

  9. Honestly, I don’t believe changing coaches is going to have any effect what so ever if the players on the field don’t learn how to tackle first or quit blowing assignments, hitting gaps, anything that a defense should know how to do. Seemed like there wasn’t a game that went by where the defense would try to knock a guy over instead of actually trying to tackle him. As much as I like to blame the coaches, and I do want Babich replaced, has to start with the players actually showing that they care to be on the field. Maybe it does have to do with players and Babich not being on the same page, but there is a reason they are supposed to be professionals. Just seems like there is no communication between the players/coaches from what is actually happening in the game to how to deal with it. Seems like they all think they know what is going on and don’t need to share amongst each other. With that said, I am no for starting from scratch. New coaches, players, administration. Just tired of seeing other franchises have good extended long runs and the Bears make the playoffs and then take a sabbatical until they feel up to it.

  10. The Bears are a second rate team with an aging defense and no proven QBs. Coaching will get you prepared for what the other team brings to to the field. Coaching cannot play a down; management cannot play a down. It’s easy to take shots at both and this year they deserved it by thinking that had anything that resembled an offense. Firing Lovie Smith or Jerry Angelo only brings four or five years of new systems and philosophies; not results. The ’07 team was a fluke and the Colts chewed them up when the game was on the line. Remember, Chicago is not a city that has dynasties come along to often. It also freezes every winter and only makes me think of baseball.

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