Read Between the Lines at Bears PC

Ted Phillips, Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith did their dog-and-pony show Tuesday at Halas Hall, but fans of the Chicago Bears seeking the truth need to read between the lines. Here's what JC figured out ...

New defensive coordinator is just going to be another puppet
Both CEO Ted Phillips and general manager Jerry Angelo talked about the Bears needing to evolve as an organization, and getting rid of six offensive coaches is perhaps a sign of evolution, but coach Lovie Smith is going to run his version of the Cover 2 on defense as long as he is in Chicago – end of story.

While Smith does deserve some credit for his performance Tuesday, removing himself as the de facto defensive coordinator and play caller and admitting it was at times too much responsibility to handle, his stubbornness with regard to the scheme remains. Therefore, the Bears have severely limited the selection process with regard to their new defensive coordinator because he's going to have to be familiar with and willing to run the Cover 2. Plainly speaking, much like the overmatched Bob Babich was in 2007 and '08, whomever is named the new defensive coordinator will be little more than a puppet as Smith goes back to playing puppet master from above.

So unless the Midway Monsters can start to generate a better pass rush with the front four and take some pressure off the back seven, and do so without the help of a top draft pick or key free-agent acquisition, you're most likely going to see more of the same on D in the Windy City next season.

Difficult to justify Martz as offensive coordinator if he's hired
The NFL is about throwing the football more than ever these days, but Smith still talked at the podium about being balanced on offense next season and the ability to run the ball after the weather takes a turn for the worse later in the year.


Mike Martz
Getty Images: Jeff Gross

Smith has a long track record of hiring assistant coaches he has worked with and worked for in the past, so it only makes sense that Mike Martz could be at the top of his list of candidates for offensive coordinator since the two of them went to a Super Bowl together in St. Louis – Smith was the defensive coordinator, Martz was the head coach. However, since Martz has always been infatuated with the passing game and never committed to the run with the Rams, Lions or 49ers, there is no reason to believe he has changed his tune after a year in the NFL Network studio. Many Bears fans would salivate at the idea of Jay Cutler slinging the rock in the same system that turned Kurt Warner from grocery clerk to league MVP, but if Smith is still living in the past and wants to "get off the bus running the football," hiring Martz would totally fly in the face of that philosophy.

Irony alert: Arguably Cutler's best day in a Bears uniform, a 36-30 upset of the Vikings that saw him throw four touchdown passes, including the game winner in overtime, came in Week 16 when the game-time temperature was a brisk 28 degrees.

Marinelli wanted nothing to do with defensive coordinator job
Much was made about Rod Marinelli coming to Chicago and getting back to doing what he does best: coaching up the defensive line.

Veterans and rookies alike raved about their new position coach throughout the offseason program, training camp and preseason, praising his attention to detail and excitement on the practice field, although the results never truly materialized during the regular season. Marinelli's defensive line produced only 22 sacks in 16 games, and that was with D-ends Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye getting off to a hot start with a combined seven sacks the first four weeks. Tommie Harris only showed up when he wanted to, Mark Anderson continued to disappoint and Gaines Adams didn't do a thing after being acquired at the trading deadline from Tampa Bay.

According to Smith, he met with Marinelli on Monday, presumably to talk about him taking over as defensive coordinator, but Smith will now have to look outside the organization because Marinelli appears to be much more comfortable as an assistant head coach and D-line "guru" – translation: he said, "Thanks, but no thanks."


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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