One of the big takeaways from the Marc Trestman introductory press conference is that Rod Marinelli will not return to the Chicago Bears as defensive coordinator. As Trestman noted:
“I had a chance to talk to Rod [Marinelli]. And we’ve had a good discussion. He’s made up his mind to move on.”
Trestman did a nice job to make it clear that it was Rod’s choice to leave the organization. It’s a bit of a blow to the Bears, as they hoped to keep some continuity on the defensive side of the ball. If they’re looking to promote an in-house candidate, the top choice would have to be defensive back coach Jon Hoke. Hoke knows the scheme and has done tremendous work to develop the Bears’ secondary. A pair of starting Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Peanut Tillman and Tim Jennings are evidence of that.
If Hoke isn’t named, there are a few names to keep on the radar. Possibly the biggest name is Rob Ryan, who has ties to the Bears via his dad Buddy, although his 3-4 scheme might not fit with the Bears personnel and his personality might not be a fit with Phil, Trestman and the McCaskeys.
Another interesting name that’s out there is Gregg Williams, exiled St Louis Rams DC and former Saints defensive coordinator, made famous during the bounty-gate scandal. Williams has consistently gotten great results from his defenses, though he might have to ‘change his approach’ a little bit.
With Marinelli’s departure, it makes Brian Urlacher’s situation that much murkier. If Marinelli had returned, you could have assumed a fairly smooth transition and keeping Urlacher might have been a higher priority. With the potential to bring in an outsider who doesn’t have ties or allegiance to Urlacher, it might make the veteran middle linebacker that much more expendable.
While many will argue that Urlacher had a down year, and anyone with a working television could see he was a step slow, he led the team in tackles at the time when he finished his season with a pulled hamstring. Given another full offseason to rehab the knee that bothered him last offseason and get his conditioning back, you might expect Urlacher to return to pre-injury form.
With many other holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball, getting a new middle linebacker, or a new Sam Linebacker if Nick Roach moves to the middle permanently, isn’t a high priority. Getting Urlacher back at the right price would be a good move.
What do you think? Who should the Bears bring in as Defensive Coordinator? What do you think will happen with Urlacher? These are the questions we can’t wait to answer.