Still searching for defensive leader

There's a good chance that Lovie Smith has his man to lead the offense, but in his first adversity as coach he has been denied the opportunity to go after his top defensive choice.

All signs point to Terry Shea being named the offensive coordinator in the coming days. However the Bears were denied permission to interview Tampa Bay Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli for the defensive coordinator position.

It most cases a coach being offered a promotion by another team is granted permission, but the New York Jets were also denied in their quest to talk to Marinelli.

At this point Lovie Smith is looking at former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Larry Marmie to run the defense. Marmie was the head coach at Tulsa when Smith played cornerback.

In the meanwhile Smith made his first hire. Bob Babich has been named the linebackers coach, which is the same position he held with the St. Louis Rams this season. Before that Babich spent six years as head coach at North Dakota State. The two have a relationship dating back to when they spent time at Tulsa together.

All of Dick Jauron's assistants have been released from their contracts with the exception of cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford, tight ends coach Pat Flaherty and receivers coach Todd Haley. All three are considering job offers elsewhere, but there is a chance Bedford and Flaherty could return.

Surprisingly John Shoop has found work before Greg Blache. The former Bears offensive coordinator accepted a job with the Bucs as their quarterbacks coach, a position he once held in Chicago before being promoted.

Blache could end up as Kansas City's defensive coordinator or even Green Bay after Ed Donatell was fired Friday.

It seems as if Jauron has the choice between rejoining Tom Coughlin's staff with the New York Giants or going to Detroit as Steve Mariucci's defensive coordinator.


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