The Chicago Bears 2013 season is just days away from getting started with the annual pilgrimage to Bourbonnais for the start of training camp. There will be a lot of familiar faces, but there will also be some extreme changes. Some positions are undergoing an extreme makeover. In this 4-part series, we’ll look at the groups that will have the biggest change.
We’ve come to finale of our four part Extreme Makeover series and we’ve saved the most extreme change for last – the coaching staff. Save Mike Phair (D-line) and Jon Hoke (Secondary), the entire Bears coaching staff is brand new. Lovie Smith is out and Marc Trestman is in. Defense first and blown challenges are out and offense-first is in.
The Bears wanted to keep defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli around, but whether it was loyalty to his friend Lovie or just not wanting to be part of an extreme makeover, he bolted the Bears and headed to Big D to help the Cowboys transition to a 4-3 Cover-2 defense. Could Lovie be far behind if Jason Garrett falters again???
Mel Tucker was brought in as the DC, coming from an underachieving Jacksonville team. With a serious talent boost of Bears veterans, there are high expectations on Tucker to keep the defense at their usually high level. Tucker has experience running both a 4-3 base and a 3-4 base, so based on how the defense holds up this season and the roster turnover, don’t be shocked if bigger changes are on the way beyond 2013.
On the offensive side of the ball, Mike Tice was sent packing, another offensive coordinator left in Jay Cutler’s wake. That makes three offensive coordinators since he joined the Bears – Ron Turner, Mike Martz and Mike Tice. Aaron Kromer will not be another OC left in Cutler’s wake.
Instead, if Cutty can’t do it for this coaching staff, he’ll be the one sent packing. To assist Kromer, Matt Cavanaugh was brought in as the quarterbacks coach. Cavanaugh is known to be hard on his quarterbacks and coach them hard, a stark contrast from Cutler’s pal Jeremy Bates.
Joe DeCamillis was brought in from Dallas to replace special teams coordinator Dave Toub, whose units were consistently among the best in the league. Coach D is known for being very fiery and he’ll need that intensity to help this unit remain among the tops in the league.
Let’s face it, this is all about Marc Trestman. He’s been in exile from the NFL since 2004, working in the college ranks before moving to the Montreal Alouettes where he gained the head coaching experience he needed to get back to achieve his ultimate goal, become an NFL head coach.
Trestman has shown us a glimpse of what to expect from him during the offseason. He is very thoughtful, almost to a fault, and can’t ever seem to give a straight answer to a question. He runs a fast-paced, intense practice and runs around with the players throughout. I get a hint of Dick Jauron from Trestman, so don’t expect a ranting, raving Ditka-type.
The big key will be the relationship between Trestman and Cutler. If they can click, Jay will likely get a big contract extension and the sky’s the limit for the Bears offense. If they don’t, it could very well be the end of the Jay Cutler era in Chicago and we start over again, most likely with a quarterback who’s not presently on the roster. As important as Cutler is to the Bears, Trestman is even more important.
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