Coaching Mainstays

Greg Blache has gotten rave reviews for his work with the defense this season, while John Shoop struggled through his first full season as the offensive coordinator. Yet, Jauron said he couldn't imagine what it would be like without either of them.

"The assistant coaches, they deserve so much credit – the players and the assistant coaches and I would not want to lose anybody."

Blache is the most vocal and charismatic member of the Bears coaching staff. He's never short on words and is quote machine making him a media favorite. However, he didn't go without blame as the team went 11-21 in first two years defensive coordinator.

The defense began to take forward steps in the second half of 2000. Young players like Brian Urlacher, Mike Brown and Rosevelt Colvin made an impact that carried over into this season.

Blache's went from giving up 355 points in 2000 to a league low 203 points this year. A big part of the improvement of the defense was the free agent acquisitions of Ted Washington and Keith Traylor.

The big men in the middle were used as shields for the Bears trio of speed linebackers in Urlacher, Colvin and Warrick Holdman. The formula worked to perfection allowed Chicago's rush defense to be ranked among the league leaders throughout the season.

Still, for all his success this season Blache doesn't take credit. He often pumps his players up after a disappointing loss and makes sure to be critical after a solid performance to ensure his men don't become overconfident. With a serious pet peeve about statistics being used as a measure of his teams' success.

"Usually when you look and you look at your numbers and the numbers are the most important thing you did, then you didn't win the championship. When you win the championship those numbers mean nothing," he said. "The guys that talk about numbers are the guys that come in second and third. They say, `well, but we were 1 in this' when you've won the ring you don't care about the rest of that stuff."

He joked about riding off into the sunset, if the Bears had gone on to win the Super Bowl. However, Blache has stated in the past that he has head coaching aspirations.

He was considered a candidate for the Indianapolis Colts job before Tony Dungy was hired. Now, he'll turn his attention to being the Bears defensive coordinator and striving towards the only goal he knows.

"We're in this to win a championship so all the rest of that stuff is totally moot. It really is."

On the other side of the ball John Shoop didn't have the opportunity to leave the Bears for a head-coaching job. It was more of a case of if; Jauron and Angelo wanted him back.

Jauron is adamant about Shoop calling him an intense competitor, while Angelo has stayed quiet about his feelings towards Shoop.

After the Bears elimination from the playoffs Jauron restated his approval of Shoop and if he thought the offensive coordinator would return next season.

"I think so, but at the present time we haven't had a lot of time to discuss that," Jauron said. "We've been totally focused on the football season but I don't think there will be a problem there."

In the end it will be difficult for Angelo to disagree with the record of the team no matter how much of an impact Shoop had in the Bears success. It will be even harder to argue with the opinion of the NFL Coach of the Year.

Likely scenario both Greg Blache and John Shoop will roam the sidelines with Dick Jauron next season.


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