Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is through with Lovie’s cover-2
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter May 16, 2014 9:58PM
Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker yells to players during the team's NFL football rookie camp Friday, May 16, 2014, in Lake Forest, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: ILNH107
Updated: June 18, 2014 6:23AM
Coordinator Mel Tucker’s historically bad defense in 2013 always was under fire, but he never felt like he was.
“Marc [ Trestman] has been very supportive of me as a coach from Day 1 and throughout the season,” Tucker said Friday during rookie minicamp. “I didn’t feel any different feeling from Marc or [general manager] Phil [Emery] after the season as I did during the season.”
But Tucker did lay out a plan to them for different results in 2014.
“There are some significant changes in terms of the techniques that we’re going to play,” Tucker said, “how we’re going to fit the run, some of our alignments. We’ll have some alternative fronts that we’ll play.”
In other words, the days of Lovie Smith’s cover-2 defense are over.
Tucker kept Smith’s defense and language in place last season because of all the returning starters. But he’s looking at possibly having eight new Week 1 starters on defense after free agency (notably defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston and re-signed defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff) and the draft.
“I’m very encouraged about the direction of our defense with the personnel moves that we’ve made,” Tucker said. “The overall attitude of where we’re headed is very, very positive.”
Much of that has to do with Tucker finally having true ownership of his defense. He’s not running someone else’s system anymore. He also has his new handpicked defensive assistants — defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni, assistant line coach Clint Hurtt and linebackers coach Reggie Herring — at his side. All three bring considerably more experience than their predecessors.
“[Pasqualoni is] a high-energy, up-tempo, very intense, passionate, old-school, no-nonsense, get-after-it ball coach,” Tucker said. “And that’s what we’re looking for.”
What about Herring and Hurtt?
“Reggie is a no-nonsense, high-intensity, up-tempo, get-after-it, bend-your-knees ball coach,” Tucker said with a smile. “Clint Hurtt is a 6-5, 300-pound-plus, high-intensity, get-after-it ball coach.
“I think players respond to that.”
Jones happy for chance
Linebacker Christian Jones knows why his draft stock sank from a predicted second-day pick to an undrafted free-agent signing: He confirmed that his urine sample at the NFL combine came back diluted.
“This is a business; they invest a lot of money in players,” the 6-3, 240-pounder from Florida State said.
“[But] I’m not going to sit here and mope about it. Like I said, things happen. I’m fortunate enough [and] I’m blessed to still get on a team.”
This and that
Fourth-round pick Brock Vereen said his role is “just free safety right now,” but he’s willing to move around the field.
† Second-year offensive linemen Kyle Long and Jordan Mills and veteran kicker Robbie Gould watched practice and interacted with players.
Contributing: Patrick Finley