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Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli may opt for fresh start elsewhere

Rod Marinelli Defensive coordinator
If there’s any coach thshould be retained first it’s Marinelli. His motivational techniques work very well with

Rod Marinelli Defensive coordinator If there’s any coach that should be retained first, it’s Marinelli. His motivational techniques work very well with the current players, and his understanding of the Bears’ scheme is irreplaceable.

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Updated: February 19, 2013 2:23PM



Is Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli staying or going?

That’s the $64,000 question at Halas Hall after newly hired coach Marc Trestman moved quickly to assemble a staff of assistant coaches Wednesday.

By midday, Trestman had hired New Orleans Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer as his offensive coordinator and enticed well-respected Dallas Cowboys special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis to ostensibly take the same position with the Bears.

But filling the defensive-coordinator position is the biggest threat to a smooth transition, just as Lovie Smith’s inability to solidify the offensive-coordinator spot in 2004 ultimately became a drag on the organization.

Indications are that Trestman would like the popular and accomplished Marinelli to return. Bears defensive players, stung by Smith’s firing, are pining for Marinelli’s return.

But it appears that decision will be made by Marinelli, who, out of loyalty to Smith, sources said, might opt for a ‘‘fresh start’’ elsewhere in the NFL. Trestman is expected to talk to Marinelli and other remaining coaches from Smith’s staff Thursday, then decide if he wants to hire them. Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke is considered the other key assistant Trestman would most need to retain.

But settling the defensive- coordinator position figures to be an early test of Trestman’s NFL coaching ability. And perhaps a critical one. Smith’s awkward hiring of Terry Shea (offense) and Ron Rivera (defense) in 2004 ultimately set his coaching tenure off course. Ironically, he wanted Marinelli for defense but was denied permission by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and interviewed Trestman for offense when negotiations with Shea stalled.

Trestman at least got off to a fast start by hiring Kromer and DeCamillis. Kromer, a former offensive line coach at Northwestern (1999-2000), has been with the Saints since 2008. He was the Saints’ interim coach for the first six games this season and went 2-4.

The hiring of DeCamillis, who interviewed for the Bears’ head-coaching job, is considered a master stroke after special-teams coordinator Dave Toub was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday.



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