Some interesting newsbreaks are emerging Tuesday morning from the Chicago media. The Bears have not only fired offensive coordinator Ron Turner, according to the Chicago Tribune, but they are also expected to restructure their defensive staff to relieve coach Lovie Smith of his role as the de facto coordinator.
In that arrangement, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli would take over as defensive coordinator. The Bears could hire a defensive line coach to help Marinelli with that position group.
I’ll have more analysis when the Bears presumably make these moves official at a 3 p.m. ET news conference. My first-blush reaction is that Turner needed to move on so the Bears can assemble an offensive philosophy to match the skills of quarterback Jay Cutler.
Much of Turner’s staff will probably go as well. Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago reports that tight ends coach Rob Boras has also been fired. UPDATE: The Tribune is reporting that offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton have been fired as well.
I’m much more dubious about the Marinelli move. I agree that Smith had too much on his plate as the primary playcaller this season. But Marinelli? Long respected as an elite line coach, he’s never been a coordinator at any level. Based on the way his teams played when he was Detroit’s head coach, I would say Marinelli hasn’t demonstrated big-picture organizational skills.
It’s also an unfortunate signal that the Bears will keep the status quo with a defense that fell off a cliff in 2009. Again, more to come later Tuesday.