Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will not return to the Bears. | Sun-Times
Updated: January 17, 2013 2:34PM
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is leaving the Bears.
New Bears head coach Marc Trestman said during his introductory press conference Thursday at Halas Hall that he met with Marinelli and that he decided to move on.
Marinelli is beloved by Bears’ players, but is very loyal to Lovie Smith, who was fired on Dec. 31. The Bears tried to retain Marinelli, who had a contract through 2013. But general manager Phil Emery said Marinelli was looking for a “fresh start.”
“In every coaching position that you have is does the club or the [head] coach want that coach as part of their staff,” Emery said. “The second part of that process is, is the coach committed to your team and your staff. If there’s anything out of balance of it and it’s not going to work, I think in the end -- and I can’t speak for Rod, you’ll have to speak to him -- he was looking for a transition. He was looking to move in a different direction. He felt he needed a fresh start and that we needed a fresh start.”
Marinelli took over the Bears’ defense in 2010. This past season, he oversaw a record-setting unit that scored nine touchdowns. The Bears had a team-record eight interception returns for touchdowns, 41 sacks and ranked third in points allowed.
Trestman stressed Thursday that he wants his defense to attack the quarterback and force turnovers like the Bears have in the past.
Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke would appear to be a top candidate to replace Marinelli. Like Marinelli, Hoke has a comprehensive understanding of the Bears’ scheme and is respected by the players.
But when asked if Hoke was a candidate to replace Marinelli, Trestman was noncommittal.
“I’m going to go in here and sit down with Phil and talk about where we are with our staff,” Trestman said. “Things could have changed over the last few days. I’m willing to talk about that a little bit down the road. But I don’t want to put myself or our organization’s position [out there] until we sit down and discuss where the coaching situation is, because things change so fast in the National Football League at this time of year.”