A Closer Look at The Bears Coaching Staff

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A Closer Look at The Bears Coaching Staff
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Coaching is arguably the most important element in all sports. They are hired to get the most out of the players they have, make the right decisions at the right times, and most importantly- win. With the 2009 NFL season right around the corner, let's take a closer look at the Chicago Bears' coaching staff.


Head Coach- Lovie Smith


On January 15, 2004, the Lovie Smith era officially begun in the windy city. The 13th head coach in Bears history wasted no time making some bold statements to starved Chicago fans everywhere. Smith said his primary goals were to beat the Green Bay Packers, re-capture the NFC North division, and win the Super Bowl. The Big Sandy, Texas native hasn't been too far off from accomplishing the tri-fecta. During his tenure, the Bears have won seven of the ten games against the rivals in green and gold, won two division titles (2005 and 2006), and fell short to his mentor and former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy in Super Bowl XLI.


Smith was hired after completing an impressive two-year coaching stint in St. Louis as the Rams defensive coordinator. He led the defense to a resurgence haven't seen in years. Smith's crew went from being ranked 23rd in total defense to being ranked third. In addition, the Rams' defense was third in the NFL in fumble recoveries and takeaways. This is the philosophy Smith continues to preach today.


While the Bears defense experienced the same type of success early on in Smith's tenure, the past two seasons haven't been as productive defensively. Ron Rivera, the former defensive coordinator for two of the most successful defensive units during the Smith era, was let go in favor of the current leader Bob Babich. However, among the coaching changes this off-season, Smith decided to get back to what he knows best. The 2005 coach of the year announced he will be making the calls on the defensive end this season and for the foreseeable future. Smith is up for the challenge.


“There are a lot of offensive coaches in the league that call plays and do a little bit more on their side of the ball where their expertise is,” Smith said during an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “For some reason, a lot of defensive coaches haven’t done it. But I think it’s time to change some of that.”


Offensive Coordinator- Ron Turner


Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner is headed into his ninth year with the Bears and 5th as the main offensive play caller. The Martinez, CA native is in his second stint with the Bears after serving in the same position from 1993-96. Turner came back to Chicago after his eight-year tenure as head coach of the University of Illinois. Six of the top 24 offenses in Bear history have come under his tutelage.


Last season, the Bears struggled to put away opponents. Turner's offense was among the league leaders in first quarter scoring, but seemed to fade in the later portion of games. He is criticized for not making the proper adjustments when needed as well as being too conservative offensively. With the addition of Pro-Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler, Turner has arguably his biggest offensive weapon to date. It'll be interesting to see how Turner will utilize his new big play threat.


Defensive Coordinator- Bob Babich


This season, Bob Babich will be heading into his sixth-year as an assistant coach with the Bears and his third as the Defensive Coordinator. In fact, Babich was the first coach Smith hired to be a part of his staff back in 2004. Both men worked together back in 2003 in St. Louis. The former linebackers coach for both the Rams and Bears has been under a ton of scrutiny since taking over for Rivera. One of the few bright spots has been Chicago's ability to cause turnovers. Last season, the Bears finished second in the NFL with 32 takeaways. However, the defense as a hole put up sub-par performances in every category. Chicago was 16th in the league, allowing just an average under 22 points per game, a 21st ranking in total yards given up per contest (334.7), and almost dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed(30th). As a result, Smith will be making the majority of the calls on defense. Babich will keep his title and salary. However, this shows that he may still have the keys, but this is Smith's car.


Dave Toub- Special Team Coordinator


There's one constant among the Bears... Special Teams will play a major role in regards to the teams' ultimate success. That was the case in 2006 Super Bowl season and remained true last year. Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub will be spearheading the group for a sixth consecutive year this season. His crew is usually among the league leaders in blocked kicks, punt return yardage,and turnovers. The former Mahopac,N.Y. Native has earned a reputation for being one of the top coaches in the league over the past few years. With the success of kick-returner Devin Hester, kicker Robbie Gould, and former Chicago Bear Brendon Ayanabadejo, Toub became the first special teams coach in team history to send multiple players to the Pro- Bowl in consecutive seasons. Toub's journey has also included stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, and 15 years in the college coaching arena.


Rod Marinelli- Defensive Line Coach/Assistant Head Coach


Before the huge Cutler trade, general manager Jerry Angelo's signing of Rod Marinelli was no doubt the biggest signing of the off-season. The 13-year coaching veteran is coming off a not-so-glorious head coaching stint with the Detroit Lions. The winless 0-16 record made history in the fashion most coaches don't want to be a part of. However, Marinelli's reputation around the league as a great defensive line coach is still apparent. Before the Detroit experiment, he served alongside Smith and Dungy in same position while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Marinelli's defensive line included Pro- Bowlers Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice. The line as a whole tallied up 328.5 sacks during Marinelli's tenure. He hopes to re-ignite a Chicago defensive line that has under-achieved since their Super Bowl run in 2006.



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