Lovie Smith will call the defensive plays and take over as the defensive coordinator next season.
Lovie had this to say about the change:
“I’m excited about taking a more hands-on approach to helping our defense get back to where it was.”
“I’m a big boy, and after five years in this role, I think you find out exactly how much time you have and where you have time to do a few more thing.”
“This past year I coached the (nickel backs) for about half of the season and enjoyed that quite a bit. So I saw that I had a little bit more time to do some of these things. It’s not unprecedented for head coaches to call defensive signals, but rare. There are a lot of offensive coaches in the league that call plays, that do a little bit more on their side of the ball where their expertise is.”
“For some reason, a lot of defensive coaches haven’t done it. But I think it’s time to change some of that.”
The Bears’ defense finished 28th (354.7 yards per game) in 2007 and 21st this past season (334.7 ypg) under Bob Babich.
That is just unacceptable, when you have that many talented players on the defense.
The Bears hired former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli Saturday as defensive line coach and assistant head coach. Smith and Marinelli became good friends while coaching together under Tony Dungy with Tampa Bay from 1996-2000, and Smith said Marinelli will make his job easier.
Lovie said this about Marinelli:
“I have worked with Rod in the past. I know what he brings, he’s an excellent teacher, communicator, motivator.”
Marinelli, fired after the Lions went 0-16, was pursued by both Seattle and Houston, but chose Lovie and the Bears.
“I just knew that it was a perfect fit for Rod to be here,” Smith said.
Lovie on the demotion of Bob Babich:
“Bob is a team player.”
“We didn’t meet our expectations this past year and in the off season you look to try to make improvements the best you can. … And just because I’m going to be more involved doesn’t mean that Bob’s not our defensive coordinator. There will be a lot of things that he’ll be helping me do.”
What to expect:
Lovie hasn’t coached a defense since 2003, his last season with the St. Louis Rams.
I expect this defense to be much improved, with the demotion of Babich, hiring of Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach and Lovie calling the defensive plays.
It all depends on Brian Urlacher, he is the most important part of the Cover 2, and most of the season he was horrible.
all quotes taken from chicagotribune.com