Lovie Smith could complete the next move on his coaching staff by the end of the weekend but the agent for the men involved said nothing will happen that fast.
Rod Marinelli is in town today and will meet with Smith and team officials at Halas Hall. It's fully expected in league circles that he will join the Bears' staff although in what capacity and with what specific title is unknown.
"He's just visiting,'' Frank Bauer told the Sun-Times. ``Rod has a number of opportunities and he is seeing Lovie and they're sitting down and talking. It's a visit.''
Bauer represents both Marinelli and Smith, as well as coordinators Bob Babich and Ron Turner, and has intimate knowledge of the team's inner workings. He cautioned that it isn't a done deal.
Bauer would not expand on the other possibilities Marinelli has but this is the first place he's gone in search of a new gig.
``I just think Rod wanted to go up and take a look and see what they're doing," Bauer said. "He came off a tough situation in Detroit and we're going to take our time. He and Lovie are very good friends, they're best friends.''
Marinelli would be charged with turning around the defensive line with an eye toward getting three-time Pro Bowler Tommie Harris and one-time pass rushing threat Mark Anderson back to form.
Marinelli and Smith have an extensive history together from their days together in Tampa Bay and Marinelli was the first choice of Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo to be the defensive coordinator when Smith was hired in 2004. Smith served as the linebackers coach for the Buccaneers and Marinelli was regarded as one of the finest line coaches in the league. Babich remains the defensive coordinator and is expected to remain on staff.
``I would rather not say,'' Bauer said when asked if Marinelli was seeking a job as a defensive coordinator. ``I wouldn't think necessarily so.''
Marinelli was fired as coach of the Detroit Lions after three seasons on Monday Bauer said that day that the Bears ``would make a lot of sense'' for his client.
Angelo practically made a recruiting pitch for Marinelli is his press conference on Tuesday.
``I think the world of Rod Marinelli,'' Angelo said. ``I would love to have Rod Marinelli on our staff and I think Lovie would say the same thing. He's a great football coach. Anytime you get a chance to get a great coach or great player, you're not going to sit here and say that you wouldn't consider him or you wouldn't work a way to do that.''
So far, Smith's only move has been to fire defensive backs coach Steve Wilks, who clashed at times with Babich. If Marinelli comes on board it could lead to the dismissal of line coach Brick Haley. The line is in need of a revamping after the defense struggled to rank 21st in the league with no consistent pass rush from the front four. Harris underperformed after signing a $40 million, four-year extension and went through a turbulent season that included a one-game team suspension. Anderson hasn't been the same player since he was runner-up for defensive rookie of the year honors in 2006. He had 12 sacks that season and has made just six since with only one this past year.
Marinelli could land a title such as associated head coach but Bauer repeated nothing is set even though word around the league is something is already in place. Marinelli's defense ranked 32nd the last two seasons in Detroit, which is obligated to pay him for one more season. He would become the fourth line coach in six seasons under Smith and Wilks' replacement will also be the fourth defensive backs coach in that span. Wilks should be credited with the development of cornerback Corey Graham.