Bears hire 9 new coaches

By Corey Stolzenbach

Following nine seasons of the Lovie Smith regime, the Chicago Bears have ushered in nine new coaches for their 94th season in 2013. Smith will be replaced by Marc Trestman, a more offensively minded coach who is expected to help revive a struggling Bears offense. Trestman will bring in a new crew too, including new offensive and defensive coordinators, a new quarterbacks coach and a slew of specialty coaches to help him transform the team.

Trestman is no stranger to winning. He served as the headman of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes from 2008–2012. His squad won back-to-back Grey Cup Championships in 2009 and 2010. Trestman also has a proven resume in the NFL, spending 17 years coaching in the league and including a stint as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2002 AFC Champions, the Oakland Raiders. He also has coached with the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions and has made 13 playoff appearances with the various teams.

In Trestman, the Bears are getting a coaching style they have not seen since the Mike Ditka days: somebody who specializes in offense. Since Ditka’s departure after the 1992 season, the team’s last three head coaches have been Dave Wannstedt, defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Dick Jauron, defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Smith, defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams.

Trestman has plenty of experience working with men under center, having been a quarterback consultant in recent years to help prospects during the Pro Day and NFL Combine. Trestman has previously worked with Bears quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Jay Cutler, who were first round draft picks in 2005 and 2006, respectively. He also has spent time working with New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who heard his name called in the first round in 2010, and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, who was selected as a first rounder in 2012.

With Trestman as the new coach, there will be a string of new assistants accompanying him in the 2013-2014 season. Aaron Kromer will replace Mike Tice as the new offensive coordinator and new offensive line coach. Like Trestman, Kromer served as a coach for the 2002 Raiders squads as the offensive line coach. Unlike Trestman, Kromer has a Super Bowl. He also served as the offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints, who defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31–17 in Super Bowl XLIV.

In 2012, Kromer served as the interim head coach for the Saints during the first six games, filling in for Coach Sean Payton who was suspended after the team’s bounty scandal. Kromer started off 0-4 before the Saints won the two following games.

Pat Meyer will help Kromer as the assistant offensive line coach. He served as both the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach for the Alouettes under Trestman.

Mel Tucker will replace Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator. Tucker has had success at the collegiate level, serving as the defensive backs coach for the 2002 National Champions, the Ohio State Buckeyes. This is Tucker’s third job as an NFL defensive coordinator. He previously held the position for the Cleveland Browns in 2008 and for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2009–2012.

The Browns went 4–12 in 2008, while the Jaguars went 7–9, 8–8, 5–11 and 2–14, respectively during Tucker’s time with them. The 2010 squad finished second in the AFC South but failed to qualify for the post–season.

Like Kromer, Tucker has experience as an interim head coach. In 2011, the Jaguars dismissed long­­–time Coach Jack Del Rio 11 games into the season. Tucker assumed head coaching duties, going 2–3 in the process.

Matt Cavanaugh will join the Bears as quarterbacks coach, a position he previously assumed for the New York Jets from 2009–2012, where the team reached the AFC Championship game in 2009 and 2010. Cavanaugh served as the offensive coordinator for the Bears from 1997–1998 and held the same post for the Baltimore Ravens from 1999–2004. The 2000 Ravens routed the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV 34–7.

Skip Peete will take over as the running backs coach. He joins the Bears after holding the same position for the Dallas Cowboys for the last six seasons. Like Kromer, he has previously worked with Trestman during his Raider days, where he served as the running backs coach from 1998–2006.

Trestman also was able to bring Andy Bischoff to the Bears as the tight–ends coach. He previously spent time with the Alouettes as both running backs coach and special teams coordinator.

Joe DeCamillis will take over Dave Toub’s previous role as the special teams coach. He will take up assistant Head Coaching duties. From 1988–2012, he held the special teams coach post for five teams: the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, the Jaguars and the Cowboys. During his tenure as special teams coach in Atlanta, the Falcons went to Super Bowl XXXIII before bowing out to the Broncos 34–19.

Remaining on the staff for the Bears are defensive line coach Mike Phair and defensive backs coach Jon Hoke.

Assisting Phair will be Trestman’s defensive live coach from Montreal, Michael Sinclair. A former NFL defensive end for the Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles, Sinclair was a Pro Bowler for three straight years from 1996–1998. He was slated to take the defensive line and assistant Head Coaching job for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL for the 2013 season before being lured to the Windy City.

The Bears are still searching for a wide receivers and linebackers coach.