Chicago Sun-Times

To the defense: Lovie to take over play calling in revamped coaching structure

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Lovie Smith got the man he really wanted to join his defense on Saturday when Rod Marinelli agreed to join his coaching staff, and now he's got control of his defense back.

Smith will handle play-calling duties this coming season with Bob Babich remaining the defensive coordinator while returning to his roots as the linebackers coach. The staff was filled out Tuesday morning with the addition of Jon Hoke as secondary coach.

"I have been involved a little bit,'' Smith said this afternoon on a teleconference. "My involvement will be a lot more now. For some reason there are quite a few offensive coaches that [call plays]. There are not a lot of defensive guys. I think this is what will help us get back to where we need to be.''

Smith took a more hands-on approach this past season when he coached nickel back Danieal Manning exclusively for the second half of the season, a responsibility that previously belonged to Babich. In that experience, Smith found he had more time to be involved and will do just that by running the defensive show on Sundays.

"I think all head coaches would tell you that they miss being able to have a position and some of the hands-on coaching you get a chance to do by having your own position,'' Smith said. "And of course some of the play-calling, you miss that. That's what you've done all your life.

"Every year I've missed some of that. But it's not far away. It's not like I haven't been involved in the play-calling. I don't want to say that at all. I have been. This past year in some of our worst games that we played, I was involved in that, and I realize that, and together we're going to all make it right."

Smith refused to accept the notion that in firing three position coaches on defense and retaining Babich he was identifying scapegoats and protecting his longtime friend. He pointed out that things have changed for Babich, too, and lauded his work with linebackers before he became a coordinator in 2007.

"Bob is a team player,'' Smith said. "We didn't meet our expectations this past year and in the offseason you look to try to make improvements the best you can."

The coaching staff is expected to gather for the first time as a unit before the week is over before heading to the Senior Bowl next week. The Bears will need to evaluate their own personnel as well as prospects in the draft and free agency, and that's where the next change is coming.

"We have tweaked our coaching staff a little bit,'' Smith said. ``And looking forward to tweaking the personnel a little bit also.

"As we go into championship weekend, a nine-win team is going to the Super Bowl. That is why I say we're not far away. Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen. But for us the first step in the offseason, of course we evaluate everything we did last year, and what we're going to do for the coming season."

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6 Comments

Do we hear top 5 D for next year. Good luck Lovie with the D play calling. The moves that are being made on D seem to be good ones but only if the BEARS D can return to its past glory and intimidating effort on a weekly and seasonal basis.

What I do remember from the Superbowl year of 2006 was the Bears mantra was to finish. As I understood it that meant that the entire team was devoted to playing 100% for every minute of each and every game and they did so with a passion for achieving the goal of the Super Bowl. Since that year and for the last two years the BEARS are a team that does not finish, does not play with the passion of the past and does not play for 60 minutes at a 100% tilt. No wonder the D was like milk toast the last two years!!

Oh no Lovie my man yu are far away, you are at home and not in the playoff's. Maybe you can get the team together and have a pretend Super Bowl that way you are sure to win it. I love the fact that he admits that in there worst games this year he had a hand in the play calling and now he is taking it over. Oh this should be good. Maybe he will only coach the Games against Detroit and the Bungles and let Bob deal with Pitt and Baltimore. That way nothing can be his fault as usual.

He has the easiest scheduel in the NFL next year and now he wants to take over, what a shock. He is now head coach and DC, well Babich hold the title of DC but is now the LB coach again. Why not just say he is demoted. Oh thats right Lovie can never admit he is wrong. How about we name Urlacher GM, Vasher the head Coach and Lovie can be the QB. Then they can enter the season and begin there pretend playoffs again. We won 9 games in the playoffs this year but we didn't make the plyoff playoff's. We won the North Division second place award for outstanding non-playoff, playoff's. Matt Forte was named all NFL MVP of the Bears, and Kyle Orton was named best QB in the universe by Kevin A. The Bears organization also named this years team the Best Bears football team ever. The team has won that award every year sense it began. Lovie Smith was named best Coach in the Milky Way by Glondor on Orion prime. It's been a very good year for the Bears.

Hey look at that other team in the playoffs, that could be us, we could be them if we were them they would be us. If the glove don't fit you gotta acquit. I now we looked like we sucked but secretly we were the best ever and we even won the Super Bolw.

Hey Lovie how about sense your the DC now you let Toub be the head coach. If not for him your teams would suck so bad.

This is interesting. I thought for sure we would be bringing in a linebacker coach, and Babich would share duties with Marinelli as far as playcalling and coordinator.

Love calling the plays? he did ok with the Rams in that capacity. But given our issues with game management, do we really want our head coach distracted by defensive game planning, and in-game adjustments? Hopefully he can handle both, or will allow Marinelli to work on the sidelines and support that portion of the game management. Babich probably needs to stay in the box, and utilize Briggs and Urlacher as his coaches on the field to work through the photos and make in-game adjustments.

I am intrigued now, as Lovie is placing the bullseye squarely on his own forehead as far as the scheme, execution, and game planning of his defense. It's time to see if he is as good as everyone thought he was before he got here....

he did ok as a DC in st louis?

he had top tier defenses while there...its the major reason he got a head coaching job

its not too often marginal coordinators get put in charge of whole teams

OK so since we are changing our titles and positions, Orten did well as QB, so lets put him at nose tackle. That should work. Also Mike Brown calls defensive plays so lets make him QB. And lets take the nfl's best return man and make him a WR, wait we tried that.
In all seriousness, I like what they are doing with the coaching staff. I think the D will be better next year. I pray we can get some help with the pass rush and WR though. I think these are the 2 main areas of consern.

pass rush will be better with mark anderson learning more than the run all the way around the lineman move...and drafting one more first day DE...you can take a flyer on sack master type DE if you can develop them into having multiple moves...

and the free agent WR group looks like poop

so if help is coming..its coming via the draft and theres some good value in the first 2 rnds

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 13, 2009 2:09 PM.

Lovie to call the defense; Babich retains coordinator title and will coach LB's was the previous entry in this blog.

Keep your eye on the QB: Lovie addresses the position is the next entry in this blog.

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