Marinelli was the right man hired for the wrong job


LAKE FOREST – The hiring of former Detroit Lions head coach, Rod Marinelli, isn’t surprising in the least. Nor should it be. Bears fans complaining about the team’s most recent addition are likely the same fans that find fault even after a win. It’s time to suck it up and acknowledge the fact that Jerry Angelo finally made a good decision. It isn’t the most attractive move the Bears front office has made, but neither was getting rid of Ron Rivera.


The Detroit Lions had a truly historic season for all the wrong reasons. For that, it’s hardly questionable why the Lions decided to regroup. In Marinelli’s defense, he didn’t exactly have a roster full of superstars. Barry Sanders had no plans of walking through the door, and their quarterback situation makes even Rex Grossman an attractive offseason draw. But  with that offensive line, Grossman would have the same problems as those that made him the laughing stock of Chicago sports. Grossman has talent, but he was never given a fair shot with the players Lovie Smith and Angelo put around him.


Back to Marinelli. The guy has proven himself to be a good coach as evidenced by his success in Tampa Bay. But as one Chicago sports personality said, just because a guy is a good mechanic doesn’t automatically make him a good driver. Angelo was smart to swipe Marinelli off the coach’s free agent market and hire him as an assistant. With a bit of talent, maybe he will be able to prove to the naysayers that he is, in fact, a good coach.


If worried Bears fans have a legitimate argument, it is that Marinelli was hired for the wrong position. Hiring him as Defensive Line coach drastically improved that staff position, and should definitely make a difference. An improved defensive line usually leads to a much better secondary, and also means that the linebacking corps might look better next season. Angelo, on the other hand, could have done all Bears fans a favor by instead naming Marinelli Defensive Coordinator. The mere ousting of Buddy Bob Babich would have done wonders for the confidence of the fans, not to mention the players. But let’s not go overboard. Perhaps we should all be happy with gradual improvement considering the stagnant ways of the Bears front office has lately drawn criticism from, of all groups, Green Bay Packer fans.


Angelo likes to hire his own and reward those that show loyalty both professionally and in friendship. But hold off on calling it cronyism. If things go as planned, Tony Dungy might be ready to return to the sidelines about the same time Angelo has decided he is fed up with both Smith and Babich. We can at least keep our fingers crossed. As one wise man once said, the future is all ahead of us.


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