The Bears received a major boost to an area of need when former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli agreed to join the Bears as defensive line coach and assistant head coach.
The move had been rumored for weeks — possibly months — and came to fruition two weeks and a day after the Lions fired Marinelli for finishing with an NFL-record 0-16 season.
Marinelli is widely respected around the league for his ability as a defensive line coach, a position he held in Tampa Bay while Lovie Smith was linebackers coach. If anybody can help turn around what was a major problem area for the Bears this season — the lack of a pass rush — it surely is Marinelli.
Marinelli won’t be starting from scratch, either. He’ll have three players who were once Pro Bowlers — or Pro Bowl alternates — in Tommie Harris, Adewale Ogunleye, and Alex Brown.
If this marriage doesn’t work, Jerry Angelo will at least know that it’s not coaching or scheme that’s the problem and he may have to bring in new bodies up front on the defensive line.
With Marinelli joining the staff, it’s quite possible that his son-in-law, Joe Barry, a former linebackers coach with Tampa Bay and most recently the Lions’ defensive coordinator, could fill the linebackers vacancy left by Lloyd Lee, whom the Bears fired earlier this week. Barry has already expressed his fondness of Smith and his interest in joining the Bears.