When the Chicago Bears officially named former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their new head coach, the writing was on the wall for current Bears’ defensive coordinator Sean Desai.
Even prior to the Bears officially naming a new head coach, Desai was taking interviews with other teams as he had previously met with the Seattle Seahawks regarding their defensive coordinator vacancy.
Desai’s departure from the Bears was confirmed on Tuesday as his contract with the team expired and the coordinator will not be returning to the Bears next season. Desai earned praise for his first year as the Bears defensive coordinator last season.
With the success of veteran Robert Quinn and the work Desai did with the Bears’ secondary, there is no question that he has earned a keep in the league as a defensive coordinator. Desai’s departure confirms speculation that the team will have a new defensive coordinator under Eberflus.
While Eberflus is expected to bring four Colts’ defensive coaches with him, it is unclear if one of them will be elevated to the defensive coordinator position with the Bears. A potential candidate to be named the Bears’ defensive coordinator is Rod Marinelli.
Marinelli served previously as the Bears defensive coordinator from 2010-2012 and his connection with Eberflus could bring him back to Chicago.
While speaking with reporters during his introductory press conference on Monday, Eberflus did mention Marinelli by name due to his influence on his coaching career. Meanwhile, Marinelli recently spoke with the Chicago Bears official website regarding Eberflus’ hire and had nothing but praise.
"“Start off with the person,” Marinelli told ChicagoBears.com. “He’s a terrific family guy. [He’s] upbeat, hard-working. That’s what jumped out to me. He’s everything you want; how he carries himself, discipline. He’s got great communication skills. I think all of those things build into a head football coach.”"
Sean Desai is officially no longer the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator.
Eberflus did confirm on Monday that the Bears will be switching from a base 3-4 defense to a base Tampa-2 defense. With the change, Eberflus also confirmed that the defensive play-caller will be the team’s defensive coordinator.
Marinelli, who specializes in coordinating the Tampa-2 defense, should be available to make the jump to the Bears after the Las Vegas Raiders hired former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their head coach.
Fortunately for Marinelli, or whoever will be the defensive coordinator, is that the Bears have several pieces already in place that will make for an easy transition to a Tampa-2 base defense. Roquan Smith is the perfect candidate to serve as the Bears’ weakside linebacker and would make for a great pairing with Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn.
Both Quinn and Mack have experience in the past operating as a 4-3 defensive end and both have thrived. Even with those pieces in place, the Bears will need a steady voice to assist with the transition and they would be hard-pressed to find a better teacher of the Tampa-2 defense than Marinelli.