(MCT) — CHICAGO — Significant coaching changes were expected once new Bears coach Marc Trestman came to town, but the team didn’t want to rid itself of Lovie Smith’s entire staff.
Trestman said he wanted to keep defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, attempting to entice him with a one-year contract extension through 2014, but he declined.
“I had a chance to talk to Rod, and we had a good discussion,” Trestman said Thursday. “He’s made up his mind to move on. And we’ll begin the process now of identifying those people that could be in (that) position.”
One candidate could be defensive backs coach Jon Hoke, who interviewed in previous offseasons for defensive coordinator positions with the Buccaneers and Eagles. There is no indication Hoke has discussed the job with Trestman, with the two likely to meet later in the week.
The Bears confirmed they will not retain offensive coordinator Mike Tice and coaches Jeremy Bates (quarterbacks), Tim Spencer (running backs), Darryl Drake (receivers), Mike DeBord (tight ends), Tim Holt (offensive line) and Bob Babich (linebackers). The status of defensive line coach Mike Phair and safeties coach Gill Byrd remains unclear. Nickel backs coach Mikal Smith had an expiring contract.
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub left for the same position with the Chiefs and was joined there by assistant Kevin O’Dea.
The Bears have announced two new assistants — offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis — and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete has accepted the same position with the Bears.
Speculation is Marinelli will end up in Dallas with new Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Marinelli, who was the defensive line coach under Kiffin with the Bucs, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
It’s no surprise the Bears tried to keep Marinelli, who seemed likely to leave because of his loyalty to Smith. Under Marinelli, the Bears scored nine defensive touchdowns in 2012, the second-most in NFL history, led the league with 44 takeaways and finished fifth in total defense.
Marinelli came to the Bears as a defensive line guru expected to resuscitate the pass rush. He proved his impact extended beyond the front four.
“Coach Marinelli meant a lot,” said Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings, who led the league with nine interceptions. “He was just like an older uncle. ... The way he got us wound up to play a game and the creativity that he had, it’s going to be missed.”
Trestman did not rule out switching to a 3-4 defense.
“I’m open to whatever it takes to stop teams,” he said. “But I also know what this team has done over a number of years. They have excellent players and they’ve been well-coached. For that matter, I don’t know the personnel right now. So to answer the question is premature.”