The Bears' long and often-criticized coaching search ended Friday with big changes on offense and a reshuffling of the defensive staff.
Veteran defensive line coach Rod Marinelli will assume the role of defensive coordinator that Bears' coach Lovie Smith vacated after last season. Despite 34 years of coaching experience, including 13 seasons in the NFL, this will be the first time the long-time defensive line coach has had play-calling duties.
"It's about understanding who your personnel is," former Kansas City coach Herm Edwards said when asked about the importance of play calling. "That you've called plays before doesn't make you successful. It's the old question: Who are the players? This isn't a video game. These are human beings. You see them every day in practice. You know their skill level and their opponents and you have to look at the game plans and say, 'I'd like to do this but we can't against these guys.' You can't be stubborn."
Eric Washington, who has been the team's defensive assistant/assistant defensive line coach the past two seasons, will move into Marinelli's old spot.
"Rod is among the best defensive coaches in the NFL and will be an excellent defensive coordinator for us," Smith said in a statement released by the team. "We considered outside possibilities, but I didn't feel our defense would benefit the same way it will with Rod in the coordinator role. From the first day I became head coach of the Chicago Bears I envisioned Rod as our defensive coordinator. I considered him for the role last year, but wanted him to have the opportunity to work exclusively with our defensive line and become acclimated to our team. He will remain in our defensive line room, but will add the responsibility of the defensive calls on game day."
The team also announced that Shane Day had been named quarterbacks coach, which is a big promotion for Day, who goes from obscure assistant with the defensive-oriented 49ers to working with one of the NFL's most scrutinized quarterbacks.
The little-known Day, who has never held the title before, was the 49ers offensive quality control coach for the past three seasons. Before that, he was the quality control coach/assistant quarterbacks coach at Michigan for two seasons. In that role, he worked with the younger quarterbacks on the Wolverines staff.
Day earned the respect of recently hired Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz when they were both working in San Francisco in 2008. Martz is known for working very closely with his quarterbacks despite being responsible for the success of the entire offense.
Andrew Hayes-Stoker was named offensive quality control coach while Mikal Smith will have the same role on defense.