If Lovie Smith and the Bears cannot lure Rod Marinelli to town, then what?
Multiple reports are that the former Detroit Lions coach is in Seattle where he will meet with newly promoted Seahawks coach Jim Mora Jr. about joining his staff, possibly as the defensive coordinator. The Sun-Times first reported Friday that Marinelli was at Halas Hall to meet with Smith, who the agent for both men Frank Bauer described as "best friends." If Smith cannot get his best buddy to join him to help turn around a defensive line in need of repair, what does that say about the Bears' defensive situation?
Brick Haley, the line coach for the last two seasons, is on his way to LSU. Marinelli is just as respected by Seattle president Tim Ruskell as he is by Bears general manager Jerry Angelo. They were all in Tampa together when Marinelli earned a reputation as one of the finest position coaches in the league. Bauer told the Sun-Times that Marinelli was not necessarily looking for a job as a defensive coordinator, suggesting he would be willing to come to the Bears as a line coach and perhaps snag another title such as ``associate head coach.'' But Adam Schefter of the NFL Network said Marinelli could be in line to replace John Marshall as the defensive coordinator of the Seahawks.
Marinelli spent 10 seasons as the line coach of the Bucs before serving as the head coach in Detroit the last three seasons. The Lions were 32nd in defense last season and held the same dubious ranking in 2007. When asked why he didn't replace his coordinator Joe Barry, also his son-in-law, Marinelli said he was heavily involved in all aspects of the defense himself.
No official announcement has come yet on Haley's exit. League insiders have expected Marinelli rejoining forces with Smith was a done deal. We'll see what direction this moves in next but is it possible the Seahawks have a more attractive situation?
UPDATED: Marinelli isn't the only coach on the Seahawks' radar. A league source said that Tampa Bay linebackers coach Gus Bradley will interview for the defensive coordinator position in Seattle on Tuesday.
Bradley was the defensive coordinator under Bob Babich at North Dakota State.