Reports are now surfacing that Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, a key component to keeping the continuity on defense, has chosen not to return to the team.
Marinelli's return was seen as key to keeping the 4-3 defensive scheme and play at a high level going into the 2013 season. With his departure the Bears now must turn to finding Marinelli's replacement.
Immediate thoughts turn to promoting either secondary coach John Hoke or linebackers coach Bob Babich. Babich however has already been linked to other jobs available in the NFL. Babich was also the defensive coordinator in 2009 who failed in that role and was demoted back to the linebackers coach.
Complicating the Bears' search for a replacement is the news the demand for 4-3 Cover-2 coaches who all have connections in the NFL to the scheme and the coaches. Gus Bradley who coached under Monte Kiffin in Tampa Bay is a Cover-2 one-gap 4-3 guy who was hired in Jacksonville. Bradley will need coaches who fit into the scheme he's familiar with.
Bradley's departure in Seattle means that Pete Carroll will be looking for a replacement familiar with the Cover-2 4-3, Carroll coached under Monte Kiffin in college and continues to run a 4-3 one-gap scheme.
Also Monte Kiffin is returning to the NFL as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator and he is seen as a the god father of the Tampa-2 one gap scheme that the Bears implement. All of these coaches have ties to the scheme and the system.
Bears coaches are now in high demand, as well as other coaches in the NFL who have ties to this system. The Bears have a need and three other teams have the same need that the Bears now have with Marinelli's departure.
Reports from last night had Marinelli being in demand in both Dallas and with the Cleveland Browns which could be a reason behind his departure.
The Bears now shift their focus to finding Marinelli's replacement, both as defensive coordinator and the man behind perhaps one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Marinelli is arguably irreplaceable with what he's done as a defensive line coach.
Marinelli has led a resurgence in play from Julius Peppers, has gotten career years out of Israel Idonije and Matt Toeaina. He's also been the key component in developing Pro Bowler Henry Melton who is now a free agent, a factor that could weigh in Melton's decision to return.
Corey Wootton exploded onto the scene in his third year and could be a future star, and important parat of the rebuilding of the defense.
Now the Bears must work hard to retain the rest of the staff members or find adequate replacement in a very crowded market for Tampa-2 coaches.