Bears still considering Marinelli as defensive coordinator

Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Chicago Bears have not ruled out making current defensive line coach and assistant head coach Rod Marinelli their defensive coordinator.

“Whatever Lovie needs, I’ll do,” Marinelli said. “If the field needs to be mowed, I’ll bring my hand-mower out. … There’s no job too small.”

Smith surrendered the play-calling duties after taking over for then-defensive coordinator Bob Babich following the 2008 season.

Smith and Marinelli had discussions the day before the Bears fired four offensive coaches, including offensive coordinator Ron Turner. Smith then interviewed Perry Fewell, who decided to become the Giants’ defensive coordinator rather than join the Bears.

The Bears seem to really be grasping for straws here. As their options decrease, the team might have to settle on Marinelli. At least Smith is familiar with Marinelli as they did both work together under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay from 1996-2000.

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The Bears have yet to hire coordinators

Here’s a disturbing nugget of truth for Chicago fans: It’s January 21 and the Bears still don’t have an offensive or defensive coordinator.

On January 5, the Bears fired offensive coordinator Ron Turner and dismissed rumors that assistant Rod Marinelli would be named the new defensive coordinator. But it’s been over two weeks now and the team has yet to find a coordinator for either side of the ball.

It’s not like the Bears haven’t been trying. They offered former Bills’ interim head coach Perry Fewell a contract, but he turned them down and accepted the Giants’ defensive coordinator job. With few reliable candidates left on the market, there’s a good chance that the Bears will re-visit the idea of making Marinelli the D-coordinator.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bears will interview Chargers’ assistant head coach Rob Chudzinski for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Given his success in Cleveland (albeit, it was only one year), Chudzinski would be a solid choice as the team’s next O-coordinator but the problem is that it seems like the Bears are flailing. Will Chudzinski maximize Jay Cutler’s strengths or is Chicago’s front office just trying to find anyone at this point?

The good news is that the team hired Mike Tice to become their new offensive line coach. While he failed as a head coach in Minnesota, Tice has also had success as an assistant and the Bears need someone with credibility to come in and revamp their underachieving O-line.

It’ll be interesting to see who the Bears wind up with and whether or not their lack of direction so far will come back to haunt them in 2010. Of course, many Chicago fans believe that with Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo running things, the Bears are doomed no matter what decisions they make.

Did Jason Whitlock just compare Matt Millen to O.J. Simpson?

Newspaper columnist Jason Whitlock is a bit miffed about NBC’s recent hire of former Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen as their lead studio analyst for the NFL playoffs. And he wondered if O.J. Simpson was available from his Las Vegas jail cell.

Seriously, O.J. on “Football Night in America” is the only thing that could top Millen’s inclusion. And NBC is promising to foist Millen on its Super Bowl audience. If this happens, I will confront Millen and NBC executives at the Super Bowl and go Rob Parker-Rod Marinelli on the responsible parties.

Look, the Lions haven’t won a NFL championship in over 50 years, and Millen was in charge for only eight seasons. Though under his leadership, the Lions did own the NFL’s worst winning percentage (31-81, .277) and became the first team in league history not to win a road game in three consecutive seasons (2001-2003). And, of course, there was the whole 0-16 thing. At the core of this failure are some pretty bad drafts that included guys like quarterback Joey Harrington, and wide receivers Charles Rogers and Mike Williams.

Lion fans surely grew tired of Millen’s time as the team’s CEO, but I can’t imagine them longing for the Eric Hipple years.

William Clay Ford Sr. doesn’t get it

Detroit Lions’ owner William Clay Ford Sr. fired head coach Rod Marinelli on Monday and then promoted Martin Mayhew to general manager and Tom Lewand to team president.

Rod MarinelliLewand was chief operating officer. Mayhew has served as general manager since Matt Millen was fired as president three games into the season. He was assistant general manager before Millen’s firing.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry, assistant offensive line coach Mike Barry and secondary coach Jimmy Lake also were fired, and defensive line coach Joe Cullen’s contract will not be renewed.

Offensive coordinator Jim Colletto was reassigned to offensive line coach.

Assistant director of pro personnel Dave Boller will not be retained.

The Lions went 10-38 under Marinelli. They started 6-2 last season and seemed on the verge of turning things around, but went 1-23 since.

The finale came Sunday, when the Lions lost at Green Bay, 31-21.

“Overall, the record speaks for itself,” Marinelli said after the game. “We know what that is. My feelings about it will be kept to myself, but the record speaks for itself.

You have to hand it to Marinelli – he always handled himself well. There’s no question he had to be fired, but he’ll find a job as a defensive coach (maybe not as a coordinator) soon.

I don’t know much about Mayhew; maybe he is the right guy for the general manager job. But when you hire a guy that had a hand in building a perennial loser over the years, what message are you trying to send to your fan base? Why not go out and get someone from a winning organization to try and get you back to respectability? Why not hire someone who understands how to build a winner? Not a guy that was already on board when the team was losing.

This was a bad decision by Ford Sr. and one that probably has set the Lions back even further. (If that’s even possible after finishing 0-16.)

“Rob Parker, you’re an idiot.”

Rob Parker of the Detroit News has made a name for himself with this recent encounter with Lions head coach Rod Marinelli:

I actually had the opportunity to meet Rob and converse with him multiple times during Piston games when I worked for Sports Radio AM1130 WDFN in Detroit. He’s not a bad guy or an idiot, but he did make a poor choice by getting personal with Marinelli. If you want to ask tough questions, then ask tough questions. But don’t ask the man if he wishes his daughter would have married a better defensive coordinator, regardless of whether or not you preface it by saying, “On a lighter note.”

It was wrong.

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