The Bears continued to revamp their coaching staff on Tuesday, firing linebackers coach Lloyd Lee and bringing to three the number of coaches that have been let go by Lovie Smith.
Lee was promoted to the linebackers coach position a year ago after Hardy Nickerson left the team and now Smith is in search of a position coach for all three areas of the defense--the line, linebackers and secondary.
Lee was let go despite weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs being the most consistent player on the defense the entire season. He also helped bring along second-year player Nick Roach, who made nine starts on the strong side after taking over for Hunter Hillenmeyer.
``It is what is is,'' Lee told the Sun-Times. ``I'm not going to really get into a lot of detail. You don't go to the playoffs and I guess this is what happens.''
Lee is a member of Smith's original staff. He was a quality control coach from 2004-05 and rose up through the ranks, working as a defensive assistant the next two seasons when he worked with nickel backs, and then getting a promotion last January. Secondary coach Steve Wilks was fired the day after the season ended, Dec. 29, and line coach Brick Haley has moved back to the college ranks to coach the line at LSU.
Smith had an informal interview with fired Lions coach Rod Marinelli last Friday and he is a candidate to come in and coach the line, at the minimum. Marinelli was in Seattle for an interview on Monday. It remains to be seen if defensive coordinator Bob Babich could have his responsibilities changed. He was the linebackers coach for his first three seasons with the club and has been in charge of the defense since Ron Rivera was run off. The defense finished 28th last season and 21st this past year.
It's also unknown if change will come to the offensive staff. The Bears floundered offensively for the second half of the season leading to general manager Jerry Angelo saying quarterback will be his top offseason priority. Thus far, no movement has been made on play caller Ron Turner's staff. It will be interesting to see if Angelo truly goes after a top-flight passer or chooses to rework a defense that has fallen well short of expectations. One thing is clear--the Bears will have new position coaches on defense.