Hot Rod: Bears hire ex-Lion boss Marinelli

NFL 2008 - Panthers Beat Lions 31-22
There is nowhere to go but up for Rod Marinelli and the Chicago Bears defense.

That is why it almost seems like a match made in football heaven that a defense which much to prove hires a coach looking to clear a bad rap.

Marinelli agreed to become the Bears assistant head coach and defensive line coach only weeks after coaching the Detroit Lions to the worse season in football history. The hire reunites Marinelli with Lovie Smith, who coached under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay.

Before ruining his good name in Detroit, Marinelli was a well-renowned defensive line coach for the Buccaneers and nearly landed in Chicago as a defensive coordinator but the Buccs would not allow him to interview for the job. After being let go by the Lions, it was a foregone conclusion that he would end up somewhere on the Bears' staff.

My hope is that the fiery Marinelli can revive a talented defensive line that has not lived up to its potential in recent years. Adawale, Alex Brown and Tommie Harris should be shining but instead their star has dimmed since the team's Super Bowl run a few seasons ago.

However, I ask Bears fans not to be fooled. The defense isn't all rainbows and butterflies quite yet.

The Bears are coming off a season in which they allowed 350 points, which is a lot for any defense. And it seems like more for a team that plays defense with pride and always claims to be among the league's best.

The defense constnatly allowed big plays on deep passes, which I was told could not happen in the Cover 2 defense. In addition to being beaten by the bomb, opposing offenses slashed through Chicago's pass defenders with quick slants that turned into long gains after a few missed tackles.

No matter how great of a defensive mind he is, it is hard to justify hiring a coach to be an assistant head coach and position coach after a season so bad it was depicted in tattoo form. We were told to trust Lovie Smith when he axed Ron Rivera for his best buddy Bob Babich.

All Rivera has done since is, I don't know, beat Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in a playoff game without the team's best defender.

But if Marinelli can help build the 'D' back to respectability then this move will get my stamp of approval.