There's Alot To Lovie About Chicago Bears' Coaching Staff
Often lost in the shuffle of professional teams is the coaching staff. These individuals put in tremendous amounts of hours breaking down film, analyzing players and positions, and coaching up their respective teams.
When the team does well, it is often the coaches that get at least a fair share of the fame. However, a team's failure often spells doom for a team's coaching staff, even if they were not the reason behind the team's failure.
The Bears have a unique, talented coaching staff. Let's meet them shall we.
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Lovie Smith, the 13th Head Coach in Chicago Bears history, is a soft-spoken individual with a resume that speaks volumes to his success.
Smith, already the recipient of an NFL Coach of the Year Award, is the mastermind behind the famed Tampa-2 Cover scheme that the Bears employ on defense.
Smith used the defense while he was an assistant coach at Tampa Bay, and also as the Defensive Coordinator of the St. Louis Rams.
While in St. Louis, Smith helped turn around a defense that was among the league's worst and helped guide them to a Super Bowl appearance in 2001.
The Cover-2 has been the staple of the Bears' defense since Smith's arrival. It requires a pass-rushing defensive line and skilled, athletic safeties.
Players such as Tommie Harris and Mike Brown have flourished in this system in part because of Smith.
Smith played college ball at Tulsa and has a very impressive list of six colleges he has coached on his resume.
Smith is married with three sons and resides in Texas during the off-season.
Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner
Ron Turner is the man in charge of the play-calling for the Bears.
Turner gained fame with his eight-year stint as the Head Football Coach at the University of Illinois.
Though he posted only a 35-57 record, he did lead the Illini to the 2001 Sugar Bowl as Big-Ten Champions. He also led the Illini to the 1999 Micron PC Bowl, where the Illini dominated Virginia.
This is Turner's second term with the Bears; he previously coached with Chicago from 1993-1996. He has been with the Bears since 2005 in his second term.
At times, Turner has taken hits from Chicago personnel and the various media outlets of the city.
In fairness to Turner, the talent has, at times, been less than most, if not all, NFL teams. That hopefully will all change with Jay Cutler and Orlando Pace anchoring the offense next season for Turner.
Turner's brother, Norv, has been the Head Coach of three NFL teams, and is currently the coach of the San Diego Chargers.
Defensive Coordinator Bob Babich
Defensive Coordinator Bob Babich will relinquish his play-calling role this season in favor of Smith.
Babich, the replacement to former Coordinator (and fan-favorite) Ron Rivera, has had two below-average years as Defensive Coordinator for the Bears.
Blessed with a deep, talented defense, Babich's squad has struggled at times. Last season, the Bears' pass defense was the second-worst unit in the NFL, though their run defense was very tough, ranking in the top ten.
Babich and Head Coach Lovie Smith have roots back to their days together in St. Louis coaching for the Rams. Babich grew up in the same Pennsylvania neighborhood as Da Coach, Mike Ditka.
2009 will be the sixth year as a member of the Chicago Bears coaching staff for Babich.
Defensive Line Coach Rod Marinelli
The Bears' Front Office Staff was so excited about the hiring of Rod Marinelli that they called it one of the biggest additions of the off season.
This was, of course, before the Jay Cutler acquisition, but the point is still well noted.
Marinelli will live in infamy because of his 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions, though Marinelli confronted the issue and never backed down from challenging himself and his team.
Marinelli also has roots with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was the defensive line coach for several seasons.
He is credited for the emergence of Warren Sapp as a dominant interior defensive lineman with the Bucs, as well as his work with Pro Bowl defensive end Simeon Rice.
Marinelli will take on the task of lighting a fire under Bears Pro Bowl tackle Tommie Harris. Harris has talent beyond his own realization, and will need the defensive line guru to help him rediscover his game.
Other Notable Coaches
Some other notable coaches on the Bears' staff:
Fans will recognize the last name of the Assistant Offensive Line Coach. It is Luke Butkus, the nephew of Bears legend Dick Butkus.
Luke played center at the University of Illinois from 1998-2001, where he was recruited by current Bears Coach Ron Turner.
Pep Hamilton is the Bears' Quarterbacks coach. Pep joined the Bears in 2007 and has worked to fix the Bears' quarterback problem in his short time on the staff. He has worked with Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman, but his new project will be to improve Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler.
Dave Toub is the Bears' Special Teams Coach. While Devin Hester may get all the credit for the Bears' "special" teams, it is Toub who is the mastermind behind every block, kick, and return.
He has been instrumental in the Bears' continued success on special teams during his tenure with Chicago.