Who Makes What Happen: A Profile on the Coaches of the Chicago Bears

Joe WillettSenior Writer IMay 29, 2009

LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 20: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears (R) and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli watch an organized team activity (OTA) practice on May 20, 2009 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears are a team with a highly defensive mentality, but with the addition of Jay Cutler, the coaching staff is working on creating a new identity with a defense that still has holes and a suspect offensive line.

But who are the people that will be trying to make a defensive team that relies on the power running game a team that can air it out.

From Head Coach Lovie Smith to Offensive Line Assistant Luke Butkus, each coach is pivotal to a team trying get back to dominance in a weak NFC North.

Lovie Smith, Head Coach

When Smith was hired, he said he had three goals.  Win the NFC North, win a Super Bowl, and beat the Green Bay Packers.

Smith has won two NFC North titles, has one Super Bowl appearance, and is 7-3 against the Packers.

Although there have been some backlash against some of his play calling (see the squib kick against the Falcons that allowed them to come back and win the game), he has been good at keeping an aging defense strong and the running game solid.

He also took a Bears team with an injured quarterback and went 11-5 in his rookie season, winning the Coach of the Year award.

Ron Turner, Offensive Coordinator

Turner is in his second stint with the Bears, this time he is in his fifth consecutive season.  In-between his times in Chicago, he was also head coach for the University of Illinois football team.

However, if Turner isn't able to bring some stability to an offense that could possibly have one of the best quarterbacks in team history, he could be on his way out the door.

Bob Babich, Defensive Coordinator/Linebacker Coach

Babich is entering his third season as the defensive coordinator of the Bears and his sixth with the team in general, however, with the fall of grace by the Bears defense under Babich, Smith is now calling plays on defense and Babich is mostly working with linebackers.

Babich was brought to the Bears with Smith, who was a coach with Babich while in St. Louis.

Dave Toub, Special Teams Coordinator

Probably the most consistent coach for the Bears, Toub always has the Bears special teams among the best in the NFL.

Toub is entering his sixth season as the Special Teams Coordinator and has kept his unit ranked in the top third of the league according to the Dallas Morning News' ranking system, also having two units that ranked at the top in 2006 and again in 2007.

Pep Hamilton, Quarterbacks Coach

Hamilton will be given the task of getting new addition Jay Cutler ready for the upcoming season.

After his work with making Orton a passable quarterback for most of the past season, Hamilton will likely have a breeze getting Cutler in NFL shape.  Hamilton is in his third season with the Bears.

Tim Spencer, Runningbacks Coach

Spencer has been the runningbacks coach for the Bears for six years.  He was the guy who coached the tandem of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson into one of the better one-two punches in the NFL.

Despite Benson being a bust under his guidance, he also made Matt Forte a rookie sensation last season, and will look to create another great running tandem with Forte and veteran Kevin Jones.

Darryl Drake, Wide Receivers Coach

Despite the poor receiver production over the past few years, Drake has still done a good job as the receivers coach when he had talent to work with.

Drake took third round pick Bernard Berrian and made him into a deadly speedster, then watched him leave and come back to tie the longest catch in NFL history with a 99-yard catch against the Bears.

Drake will try to work with a group of receivers who would likely be third on the depth chart at best for most teams.  However, he will look to exploit the history between Cutler and sophomore receiver Earl Bennett.

He also will start the process of getting rookie Juaquin Iglesias ready for the NFL.

Rob Boras, Tight Ends Coach

Under Boras' six season with the Bears, the tight end position has been a staple in the offense.

With the tandem of Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen, Boras has an easy job, with Olsen making the Pro Bowl as an alternate last season.  Boras has done a great job of transitioning Olsen from being a star in college to a smaller role in the NFL.

Harry Hiestand, Offensive Line Coach

The Bears offensive line has been extremely inconsistent throughout Hiestand's five seasons as the offensive line coach.

However, he hasn't had great talent through his term either.  With the addition of Orlando Pace and Frank Omiyale, he will look to get his line in shape so that they can keep Cutler on his feet and open holes for Forte.

Luke Butkus, Offensive Line Assistant

Butkus became the Bears offensive line assistant three years ago, and has been working with Hiestand to create more stability on the line.

Butkus moved to coaching after a failed attempt to play, he was undrafted out of college despite being third-team All American his senior year.  He played two seasons in Europe and attempted to play in the NFL before moving to coaching.

Rod Marinelli, Defensive Line Coach/Assistant Head Coach

Marinelli is entering his first season as a coach for the Bears after leading the Lions to the first win-less season since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did so in 1976, although the Bucs were an expansion team at the time.

Marinelli will look to get the Bears d-line better at rushing the passer, after quarterbacks were given plenty of time and were sacked rarely last season.

Gill Byrd, Assistant Defensive Backs/Safety Coach

Under Byrd, the secondary has been very spotty as of late.  However, a lot of those problems could be blamed on injury.

Also, under Byrd, Kevin Payne emerged as a starter after being drafted in the fifth round two seasons ago.  Payne was a big play threat as a defender and had four interceptions last season.

Jon Hoke, Defensive Backs Coach

Hoke was hired after spending seven seasons with the Houston Texans.  Under Hoke, the Texans secondary had a knack for interceptions, grabbing the seventh highest percentage of the teams interceptions in the NFL.

Hoke will look to bring the tandem of Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher back to the dangerous duo they once were.  He will also look to use Payne to replace veteran Mike Brown, who left the team this off-season.

Rusty Jones, Strength and Conditioning Coach

Jones is one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the NFL, winning the 2006 National Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society.

Jones' workout and nutrition programs are renowned around the NFL as one of the best in the business.

Eric Washington, Defensive Backs Assistant

Washington will look to help Hoke learn about the defensive backs in the system and get him acclimated to how things work in Chicago.

Entering his second season, Washington spent four seasons as the defensive line coach at Northwestern University prior to coming to Chicago.

Chris Tabor, Special Teams Assistant

Tabor is still a young coach and is entering his second season working under Toub.

Tabor has worked his way up from coaching high school and community colleges before working his way up the university ranks and into the NFL.

I'm Joe W.


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