Rod Marinelli, Chicago Bears; Tampa Two Step

Brad HuotariCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2009

Was Rod Marinelli the right guy in the wrong place, or was he the wrong guy in the wrong place? Or was he wrong as a head coach in any place? 

It's certainly worth debate, but now that Rod Marinelli has landed in Chicago as assistant head coach and defensive line coach with his longtime buddy Lovie Smith, it'll be interesting to see if he has found his calling once again.

Marinelli has signed on to replace the LSU-bound Brick Haley as Lovie's Tampa-Two line guy and already we're thinking, can he re-make troubled/hobbled Tommie Harris into the 21st Century's first Warren Sapp?

For what it's worth, put Sapp in line with the Marinelli guys. Sapp says Marinelli helped make him a student of the game. One thing for sure, Marinelli is "old school." The question is, is he enough old school to subjugate himself to resident defensive knucklehead Bob Babich?

Please don't color me as supporting Marinelli over Babich as defensive coordinator. I don't believe either has the skill set. But if we are stuck with Lovie's Tampa Two, if I were a Bear, I'd want every assistant below the grade of coordinator to be "all in."

Marinelli's first task is the aforementioned Tommie Harris. Harris, is so mega-talented and has been so ineffective following a brilliant rookie year, it's being debated whether his knees will ever allow him to be the guy the Bears counted as the best D-lineman since Danimal, Dan Hampton.

Marinelli's next mission is to figure out how another 2007 rookie sensation, Mark Anderson, can be so good one year and so invisible the next. Also after game planning against the Bears that past few years, he brings a great perspective regarding how to attack both the Bears offense and defense. Maybe he has answer how to put the magic back in Brian Urlacher's game.

Regardless, with Marinelli's hiring, Lovie Smith's defense is running out of excuses. Marinelli is replacing a guy in Brick Haley whose last job prior to the Bears was defensive line coach at Mississippi State. Marinelli on the other hand has 12 tough NFL years under his belt and has been coaching since 1973.

Most Tampa Two experts, including Sapp, will tell you that if you can't get pressure from the front four lineman, the T2 is useless. If that is true, the Bears made a very good move.

Regardless of his results in Detroit, the Chicago Bears got themselves a highly qualified and respected position coach and better yet, by all accounts, a better human being.