Chicago Sun-Times

Bears agree to terms with Hoke as new secondary coach

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The Bears added another piece to their coaching staff this morning, hiring Jon Hoke to be the secondary coach.

He's a former Bear, having played in 11 games in 1980, and was the defensive backs coach for the Houston Texans for the last seven seasons after spending three years as the defensive coordinator/secondary coach at Florida. He was also the assistant head coach of the Gators for two seasons.

"This is really good for me,'' Hoke said. "I think a lot of the organization and they have a good football team. I respect the head coach. There are some proven veterans in the secondary and some good young players and that mix is always a plus.''

Hoke was on Lovie Smith's radar after he was let go by the Texans following Houston's season-ending victory over the Bears. He's considered a hard-nosed coach and will replace Steve Wilks, who was let go and is expected to land a job to stay in the NFL.

A Kettering, Ohio, native, Hoke was a four-year letterman at Ball State. His brother Brady Hoke was recently hired as the head coach at San Diego State.

The Bears have one opening on their coaching staff remaining, at linebacker. Joe Barry, Rod Marinelli's son-in-law, was believed to be a done deal with the Seattle Seahawks as their linebackers coach but the team has yet to confirm that. As long as he is still in play, he could be a possibility for the Bears. Barry could also land in Tampa Bay if report of him heading to Seattle are off.

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name 5 position coaches you know that ARENT on the bears...

dont worry....i'll wait...

seriously...what blockbuster name position coach were you hoping for?

im just happy we got someone with some real NFL experience

I guess that means that Mike Brown is either going to try and play next year, or wasn't ready to accept the role. If he can finally make it through a season, we will be vastly improved in the secondary. He missed portions of what, 4 or 5 games this year? And considering the reports that Taylor Mays is staying at USC, there is no immediate help available in the draft.

Houston has made do with some pretty crappy safeties, and a revolving door at cornerback for a few years now, and now that they have a pass rush, they looked halfway decent. If he is a more hard-nosed coach, that should help us. We have way too many "nice" coaches on this staff, and it shows in the lack of intensity as the game wears on. Let's face it, the best position coaches are never out there looking for jobs. You have to either take a castoff, or pluck a future gem from the college ranks. Hoke is probably as good as anyone out there, and should help us get a little nastier in the defensive backfield

As far as linebacker coaches, I don't know of anyone out there that jumps out as a candidate. I would be fine with Barry not joining the team, but if he's the best option, then it is what it is. I think in the next 3-5 years you will see a big changeover in the position coaches as some of the hardened vets start retiring, and the smart players of the last 2 generations get into coaching. Guys like Derrick Brooks, Zach Thomas, Willie McGinest, Derek Smith, Jeremiah Trotter, Scott Studwell, and others start getting the itch to pass on what they have learned.

Is Hardy Nickerson still taking time off to be with family, or is he back in the game? He would be a decent fallback option if he was available.

Since Lovie doesn't want to fire his friend, what about demote Babich back to linebacker coach and get a good DC?

from what ive read about the guy he seems to be very aggressive...still preaches the turnovers that lovie loves...

he survived 7 yrs in texas...that with 2 coaching changes and a new GM...he must have been doing something right down there...he has 25 yrs of coaching experience between the pros and college...its exactly what we need

Why does everyone keep blaming Lovie and the rest of the coaching staff for our problems??? You guys are losers!! The players are to blame!!! Lovie & Co. doesn't miss tackles, miss blocks, throw INT's, get burnt for 99yd. TD's, etc..etc..!! Face it..our players suck!!!!! I guess it's easier to blame and then fire the coaches then the whole freaking team!!!!

JustIncredible, I have to agree with you. Complaining about not getting "name" position coaches is a laugh. I live in the land of Redskins and they got every "name coach" for their staff and their track record has been less than the Bears.

Adding "name" players to the coaching staff does not always work too. Case in point Nickerson was a coach for one season and then gone. I remember as a young kid saying Singletary should be our LB coach, much as people are saying now about Mike Brown. Singletary wanted a few years with his family before he entered coaching. I don't know Mike Brown's personal situation but if he wants to get into coaching he will do fine.

Brad, I have one question why was not Gill Byrd considered for the DB coach slot? Maybe he was. Most on this board may not recognize him but he had a good, a very good NFL career as a DB for the Chargers and has been a coach for around 5 years. Can you help me understand why Hoke was added over a promotion for Byrd? Thanks

MD Kevin the San Diago Chargers have had problems with there secondary for years. Just a thought as to why not Byrd.

As for Hoke, the Houston secondary has never been a good unit that I know of. Bears are just brining in warm bodies. Someone fires you, the Bears hire you. Need work, dial 1 2HalasHall. Hoke will probably get fired next year when Lovie needs another excuse and him and Angelo are trying to decide who the QB is again.

I thought Lovie was suppose to know what he was doing, he hand picked those position coaches he just fired. Wanted some young hungry college guys. Now a year later he wants guys who have been around the NFL for awhile. For a guy that knows what he is doing he sure seems to get confused a lot. Trust me.


Byrd has never coached at SD. He played there, is one of their all-time great players. He has been part of the staffs in GB (non-coaching), StL (volunteer coach), and for the past three years he has been on the Bears staff as an assistant. So he has NFL playing experience AND NFL coaching experience. But not for the Chargers.

Here is his staff page. Besides this website I mention has a lot of things about the Bears. You might want to read it. ;)

Just as some players are better equipped for a 4-3 vs 3-4 there are some coaches who are better equipped for a certain scheme. Now I don't know the coaching philosophies of everyone on the staff. I don't need to. But the point is unless one can speak intelligently about the coaching background, beyond won-loss records, this entire discussion is an exercise. Creighton -- or anyone for that matter -- can you talk about the type of defense they played in Houston last year? Is Hoke's approach a cover 2 or hybrid or Jim Johnson pressure defense? And did Hoke have the personnel to run the defense? I don't know. That would be an interesting discussion.

Biggs pointed out correctly that the hire of both Marinelli and Hoke is away from college guys to coaches with NFL experience at their position. Good start.

I think injuries have hurt the Bears secondary more than anything, but a coaching change shouldn't hurt.

Chicago has some young talent in the secondary, cornerback Corey Graham, and safety Kevin Payne. To me, whats missing in the secondary is a true free safety, someone that can drop back in coverage, and to run the cover-2 effectively, you need a ballhawk at free safety. I like Payne, I just think he is better suited at strong safety up in the box. Kevin Payne was leading the Bears in tackles when he was at strong safety, I think this is his best position. Luckily the secondary is Jerry Angelo's specialty, he should be able to land one on draft day, the question is, when, on the first day, or later on?

If Missouri safety William Moore falls to Chicago at #18, they got to take him, this guy is a ballhawk. As a junior Moore had 8 ints, this season his ints fell because he played most of the season on a sprained foot, but Moore still had 5 pass breakups. With Moores coverage ability, he may be what is missing in the Bears secondary, I would take him. If not Moore in the 1st, I would definitely take Alabama safety, Rashad Johnson in the second. Johnson, like Moore, can play the ball. This season Johnson had 5ints, 2 of them were pick 6's, Johnson also had 11 pass breakups for Alabama this season. As a junior Johnson had 6ints to go along with 8 pass breakups, so Johnson shouldn't be a fluke. Hopefully Chicago can land either Moore or Johnson, a safety with coverage ability should do wonders for the Bears secondary GO BEARS!

i think everyone should read the article i posted in my previous gives a pretty detailed resume

looking at the stats for this season they ranked right in the middle of the NFL in pass defense...which is like 10 spots above our next to next to last finish..

anything is an the "warm body" theory doesnt apply here

id happily go from almost last to the top half of the nfl

Needless to say some of the problems with the secondary this year and last were injuries.

But a pass rush also will solve many a secondary issue. It is amazing when a D has the ability to pressure the QB's all of a sudden the secondary is stellar. The last two years the pass rush sucked and the secondary pass coverage sucked.

Maybe getting Maranelli for the D line will help solve the passing yards allowed more than you would know?

Go Bears

Hoke looks OK, but to me the biggest question in the secondary is not the coach. It's the players, specifically the corners. (And I agree with Kevin, safety needs to be addressed too)

The fact is both Tillman and Vasher had a bad year last year. Before the draft somebody needs to figure out why? More importantly, somebody needs to figure out if it is correctable for next year. These guys were supposed to be the "corner"-stones of the defense for several years to come. They got contracts like they would. Just like QB, this is a position the Bears have to get right to win.

Vasher does not seem to be the same player physically. Is he now healed up, or should the Bears move on?

Tillman looks OK physically, but he just did not play well. Is it because he just had more important things to think about this year? If so, that's OK. If I was wondering if my kid was going to live or die, I wouldn't care a rat's @#$% about football either. It that's it, the problem is fixable. But if that is not it, then the Bears gotta problem.

Maybe this Hoke dude can help figure where we stand before they start stacking their draft board and talking to free agents.

Beautiful. Thank you for explaining, I had never heard of the guy, so I was quite befuddled. Thanks again.

Creighton you are right Lovie picked those guys, he was trying to find guys (coaches) who could teach the game working with younger players who are not used to or ready for hard nose coaching...this choice from a philosophy standpoint made sense, due to the prima donna nature the players have today being pampered since high school, still this is a man's league and once you get to the Pros you have to become a pro, now is the time for Lovie to make changes, since the choices from before did not work....we talk about him making adjustments all the time, he's making some now to get the ship righted.....Kevin A, MSBEARSFAn, Justincredible MD KEVIN and others keep it flowing, some good idesa out there on guys we should look to bring in, and on players who need to step up next season...the one thing about the NFL is there's no guaranteed contracts, if you don't produce you are not for long in the league....By the way fellows you probably heard by now but MAYS is staying at SC we can take him off our "wish list".....BEARS in 09"...

no mays makes me cry

i have a seriuous man crush on his ability

the man could tackle your soul loose

the safteies from Mizzou, Bama and MSU

though since we are in an odd draft position we may have to go with best pick avaliable

i dunno...i need to do more research on the top 3 rds of talent

Its a shame that the bears didn't want to hold out before naming their new secondary coach, because with recent hire of Scott Pioli by the Chiefs as GM leaving Herman Edwards most likely gone. Now that would have been another interesting hire in bringing another reunite with Herman Edwards/Lovie Smith reunion too

Another view of Hoke's accomplishments:

The Texans’ defense ranked 22nd in the league in yards allowed (336.6), 27th in points (24.7) and 29th in the red zone in 2008, Richard Smith's third season with the team. It ranked 24th in yards in his first two seasons.
Hoke was an original member of the Texans' coaching staff, recently finishing his seventh season as the Texans’ defensive backs coach. Before coming to Houston in 2002, he spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida.
The Texans’ passing defense improved from 25th in 2007 to 17th in 2008, but only six teams had fewer than the Texans’ 12 interceptions this season. Houston’s 11 interceptions in 2007 tied for the fewest in the league.

Defense Rankings by year (ypg)
2008 = 22
2007 = 24
2006 = 24
2005 = 31
2004 = 23
2003 = 31

Some people say that Poop smells like Roses
Other people say that Poop smells like Poop
But to me Poop is Poop no matter what you say it smells like

Don't get me wrong I am hoping that Rod/Hoke can get this D going as I faithfully pick the Bears Defense on my fantasy team every year, even if I have to waste a pick, Theyr'e going to be on my Team! I might not even play them (I started them all last year), I may have a better Defense already chosen but they WILL be on my Team, Go Bears!
But I am not so naive as to believe that Poop is not Poop,

If it's not the Coach, please tell me why the Corners played off their man so far? Other teams will stick like glue, our Dbacks play so far off they can not recover. No way you forget that 6 second fiasco? The D was so far back - but that was the players??
I agree great Corners can change a game but playing that far off? Even the announcers would be asking each other why our Dbacks were so far off their man!


hanging around 20 is leaps and bounds better than 30th...being ranked in the middle on defense makes us a playoff team easily winning 1-3 more games...

nevermind the fact that the gm there in houston was told to kick rocks because he couldnt bring in talent...if you can squeeze a better secondary than the bears with worse players then imagine what you can do with even halfway good players

it isnt always about the numbers man

I was reporting the numbers, numbers do not lie, I am hoping they can turn this D around, but Lovie is saying in effect that the Coaches were bad, by bringing in New Coaches - he was wrong last time, all we can do is hope he is right this time.
And by calling the plays himself, as the article stated - this is it big time if the D fails this next year Lovie is out. But Lovie and JA already know that, and thats why Lovie is taking over play calling.
But my big question is why is Babich still DC? He failed at play calling, so demote him to LB Coach which maybe he is good at.
I like the hire of Rod - and Babich did alright as LB Coach all we have is numbers on Hoke and they don't lie.
But we were ranked better than 30th before Babich took over and Lovie said he knew what he was doing. Well he did not so we trust him again?
I liked JA and Lovie but this last year was too much, 2 years removed from the SB and we are not even in the playoffs but trust Lovie again? We had to have a Offensive lineman last year and JA did not get him he gave the D big raises. Now we still need Offensive Linemen and also Dlinemen as well. Who contributed from last year draft? 1 player?
Everyone is trying to figure out what happened as we had a top D and we were in the big game now 2 years removed and we suck. What happened? Do we want it to keep happening? Something was done wrong and we the fans have suffered for it - and we still trust?

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 13, 2009 11:19 AM.

Lovie reacts to retirement of Dungy was the previous entry in this blog.

Lovie Smith talks about coaching moves; offensive staff will remain in tact, Babich to coach LB's is the next entry in this blog.

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