Bears promote Marinelli to D-coordinator

Unable to find outside help, the Chicago Bears have promoted Rod

Marinelli to defensive coordinator while rounding out their

coaching staff.

Coach Lovie Smith announced the move Friday and called

Marinelli “among the best defensive coaches in the NFL.”

“From the first day I became head coach of the Chicago Bears

I envisioned Rod as our defensive coordinator,” he said. “I

considered him for the role last year, but wanted him to have the

opportunity to work exclusively with our defensive line and become

acclimated to our team.”

Marinelli and Smith are friends who worked on Tony Dungy’s

staff in Tampa Bay and even roomed together for part of that time.

So it was no surprise that he wound up in Chicago despite a 10-38

run with the Lions that ended with a winless season.

“I’m very excited,” Marinelli told chicagobears.com. “The

defensive staff has all worked together, so it’s just a chance to

keep going and build on the subtleties of our system. We’ve all

been in it together and I think the familiarity will help.”

Marinelli, who retains his assistant head coach title, worked

with the Bears’ defensive line this season after spending three

years as the Detroit Lions’ head coach. He will essentially replace

Smith, who called defensive plays last season even though

linebackers coach Bob Babich still held the defensive coordinator

title.

Marinelli will continue to work with the defensive line, but

the coordinator role is new for him. He’s never been one in the

NFL, but the Bears turned to him, ending a search that had taken a

back seat as they focused on the offensive side following a 7-9

season.

They hired Mike Martz to replace the fired Ron Turner as

offensive coordinator this week, creating an interesting scenario.

He was fired as the Lions’ offensive coordinator when Marinelli was

the head coach.

Now, they’re united again and Martz insisted during a

conference call he had no ill will.

Smith initially said he would look outside for a defensive

coordinator and that Marinelli wasn’t in the running, but the only

candidate known to interview was former assistant Perry Fewell, who

ended last season as Buffalo’s interim coach. He wound up becoming

the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator.

“As I mentioned at the end of the season, I think we have an

excellent defensive staff,” Smith said. “Our position coaches bring

a valuable expertise to their respective areas and our defense

evolves every year based on the input they bring to our planning

meetings. We are excited to get to work and we expect to play the

type of disruptive defense we have been known for.”

The Bears also promoted Eric Washington from assistant

defensive line coach to defensive line coach and hired Shane Day as

quarterbacks coach on Friday. Washington was Chicago’s assistant

defensive line coach for two seasons, while Day spent three years

as the San Francisco 49ers quality control coach.

This year, Chicago’s line produced 24 sacks — tied for ninth

most in the NFL among defensive fronts.

Andrew Hayes-Stoker (offense) and Mikal Smith (defense) were

added as assistants. Besides adding Martz, the Bears also brought

in Mike DeBord as tight ends coach this week after hiring offensive

line coach Mike Tice last month.