Chicago Sun-Times

Shakeup continues: LB coach Lee out

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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.

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15 Comments

JA needs to learn how to spell Babich, two years of a pathetic D is just not acceptable, the D is coordinated through Babich with all of the position coaches on D responsible to him. As they say in business "the fish stinks from the head".

I do not see why Lovie is allowed to skate past all of this. Lovie is the leader and needs to be held accountable. Lovie promoted Babich who clearly was not ready for the promotion. The common denominator is Lovie, the common denominator is the Bears have a defense that scares no team..... Bears football starts and ends with the Defense, teams are no longer intimidated by playing against the Bears D, they truly used to be. The Bears may not have won all of the games in the past but the other teams were physically manhandled most of the time by the Bears D.

Well, this opens the door for Rod Marinelli to come in as Asst. Head Coach and DL coach and bring with him Joe Barry (his son-in-law) to be the LB coach.

Here's what the Lions wrote about Joe Barry when he first landed there:

Barry, one of the NFL’s bright, young defensive coaches, joins the Lions after six seasons as the linebackers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his tenure with Tampa Bay, Barry helped the Buccaneers defense to a Top-5 NFL ranking four times, including the top-overall ranking in 2002 and 2005. Linebackers under Barry were named to the Pro Bowl six times, including LB Derrick Brooks from 2001-05 and LB Shelton Quarles from 2002, during his six seasons. Additionally, Brooks was named the 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Barry’s second season as the team’s linebackers coach.

http://www.detroitlions.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=453809

fire babich while your at it

PLEASE DEMOTE BABICH HE DOESNT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!

Well good. So far at least they have cut assistant assistants. Babich still needs to go. The Bears need to realize that Babich needs to go too.

Sign Mike Nolan as D-coordinator. He has a ton of blitz packages, and got the SF job by being a good D-coordinator in the first place.

Put Babich back to linebackers coach. He seemed to do good from 04 to 06.

Somehow get Marinelli to be the D-line Coach. They need it, and no one more than Mark Anderson.

Sign Mike Brown as secondary coach. He has passion and can get others fired up, and he is a genius.

Next move should be Lovie's. Start hitting during training camp and practice. Football is a hitting sport, so let them get used to it by hitting. Let them hit during practice in the regular season. Tackling has been one of the big issues with big plays given up the past 2 seasons, and that is due to not practicing enough and hitting often enough.

Ron Turner did fine with what he was given. He had a weak hand and made it respectable on a team with a sub-par defense. I know he seems predictable sometimes, but he never lost the Bears a game.

Now onto Jerry Angelo. Time to draft smart. Time to be more aggressive. He has got to take some risks. If he does nothing, I believe he loses his job in 2 years. If he takes some chances and signs some players, if they work out, he wins. Making the playoffs will do it for him. But he has to get some horses on the D-line. If Harrison is that next horse, so be it. But there has to be at least 3 D-lineman that command a double team. And Haynesworth, Peppers, and Harris would provide that. Alex Brown would be better.

And Angelo, do NOT draft any player with any signs that may precede some degenerative condition (like a herniated disc) in the first 2 rounds.

Be an inventive and creative Angelo. See what the trade markets are for Ogunleye, Urlacher, and even Hester. Noone on the team is untouchable except Forte.

Be smart. Be creative. Be a God of GM's once for Bear's fan's sakes.

Go Bears!!

Ryan,

What NFL team are you coaching for? HIt more during the season?? Are you kidding me? Let me guess, you never played past high school did you? These guy's can't WALK until Wednesday and you want them to HIT more during the week!!!! You would probably be the first one on here killing Lovie if Briggs got hurt doing some stupid hitting drill during the week. Here we go, so you can feel what these guys feel, go get a 10 foot ladder, climb to the top and do a belly flop off of it. The speed generated from the fall is equivilant to the speed an NFL player hits another NFL player with. Now do that 20 to 30 times and let me know how much you would like to do that during the week! NEWSFLASH....THIS IS NOT HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL!!!

This is the Bears way. A slow execution of the troops. Next week- Babich. The following week Lovie. In the the end our new leader will be Rod Marinelli-Angello's BFF!

Oh course it was all Lee's fault why didn't I see it before. Why Lee, why did you hire Bob Babich and why do you continue to waste our draft picks? Why Leeeee whyyyyyy?

Hey Pat: Jeff Fisher, a better coach than Lovie Smith could ever dream about being, had his players in full pads and hitting during the Titans' bye week before their playoff game. The Bears led the league in missed tackles this season. Exactly how do you propose to fix that if not with more hitting?

The fish does rot from the head, McCaskey, Phillips, Angelo, Lovie et al.. Angelo and Lovie obfuscate by firing underlings! Classic! Where's my crack pipe? Go Bears!

Ryan your cries fall on deaf ears. And the blame is being passed around like a hot potatoe. This team has shown no intention of being creative. And Lovie will not hire anyone with enough experience to be his successor. And Angelo's failure to fix the offensive line has retarded the growth of Orton and the health of Forte. Fans you must learn to be realistic this regime is not going to change egos will not allow it and McCaskeys will not pay for it.

Remember the StarCap ban? Remember our players being weaker this year?
Yes, I think it's time for our players to start hitting some in practice, missed tackles is a huge problem.
That !@#$ Lee! I am so glad our D will now be excellent as the head of that rotten fish !@# Lee is gone! whoohoo!!

Lovie isn't worth a crap, he should be fired... and the person that hired him, Jerry... and the person that hired him, Teddy. That's about as far as you can go. Then the new people should fire any players or coaches not giving it their all to the team. Then, we'll see a real football team.

I think Lee paid the price for the strong side being the weakest link on the back 7 of the defense. Hillenmeyer and Roach both were consistently beaten in coverage, and did not play sound technique. Briggs and Urlacher were reasonably solid, but not as good as they should have been. Jamar Williams regressed to the point where instead of being the primary backup at all 3 positions, he was relegated to special teams duty only.

The bottom line with this defense is we are weak at all 3 levels. We need better play from the D-line, linebackers, and secondary. Mike Brown would solve the secondary problem if they move him into a coaching position. Babich was a solid LB coach, but maybe got the benefit of Chico being an old linebacker. Marinelli and Barry are supposedly very good position coaches, but would Marinelli take the D-line job or push for D-coordinator? I would say we bring him in as assistant head coach, and D-line coach. Then Babich and Barry can share the load on linebackers (Babich keeps his D-coordinator title like Greg Blache did in Washington when Gregg Williams was the real D-coordinator), and let Marinelli and Babich work together on the defensive game plan. That might be our best solution.

If Mike Brown comes back as a player, or doesn't retire from football as a player, we have to get our act together in a hurry to find a good secondary coach. There are a ton of guys out there who can help, but I would like to see a guy like Gary Fencik, not necesarily him, but a former player who always knew where he was supposed to be, and was never the guy on the highlight reel getting burned. Discipline is what was lacking in our secondary, so they need a guy who will force that level of discipline on our safeties specifically, but also to keep CBs from jumping routes and leaving his coverage.

Also, if we keep Vasher, this might be the year for Tillman to move to Free Safety. If we cut him, then Tillman plays CB this year, and moves back if Bowman and Graham prove good enough to start at the two CB spots. We have a lot of work to do, and no time to do it. New coaching staffs are filling out right now, so we need to actually get someone desirable, rather than wait for the "what's left" group like we do in free agency.

Wrigley Bear,
Jim Fisher has a career 115-99 record before this season. It took him 5 years to reach his first SuperBowl, which like Lovie he lost. In his 14 years before this season he has had 5...repeat FIVE winning seasons. He also had a rap for not being able to win the "Big Game". Lovie was 36-28 and went to the SuperBowl in his second season as a head coach...how do you figure Jim Fisher is a better coach than Lovie could ever dream of being? The numbers dispute that.

Secondly, in the article Fisher said he put his team in pads for ONE day. He took advantage of some extra time off. He said this "is a very RARE occurrence". Meaning he does'nt have his players in pads every week, doing hitting drills during the season. He doesn't do this during the season because he knows it's not a good idea!

You can fix bad tackling by working on fundamentals and form, both of which can be done without pads. Anyone who has ACTUALLY COACHED FOOTBALL would know that.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 6, 2009 4:06 PM.

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