Rod Marinelli has done many things in his career.
He won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. He spent three years as a head coach in Detroit. He is considered to be one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL.
But, Saturday in San Diego, Marinelli will do something he’s never done before. He will officially coordinate a defense in his new role as Bears defensive coordinator.
“You give that man every opportunity to play well,” said Marinelli. “You always have to know, to me on defense, what players are comfortable in. When something starts rocking, you get them to home base. What is that? Your base package, where they feel sound, they’re solid in their beliefs, they come off the ball, they play their reads, their landmarks, that’s always a key to me. Getting a call in early for those men, that is important.”
Marinelli has a simple philosophy when it comes to defense.
“Give each snap its due respect. That’s what I want to do,” he said. “We want to be consistent at a high level and that’s hard to do, but there’s the first major test for us.”
The Bears are not worried about what the Chargers do offensively.
“The issue is still us. It’s not the opponent. It’s what we do. How well can we perform our skills and our technique,” said Marinelli. “[I] want to see who can execute the concepts, the fundamentals, the details we’re asking, how hard we can play.”
The preseason opener has the Bears new defensive coordinator excited.
“A game is awesome because you teach, you test, you get feedback from the player by your tape and you can see where we’re at,” Marinelli said.
An official decision has not been made yet on playing time.
“We’re still talking about the rotation, but we’re going to give them a look and then we’ll be smart with them,” Marinelli said.
The game will also allow the Bears to get a good look at several unproven players, including rookie safety Major Wright.
“How do you perform now under pressure,” Marinelli said. “Guys can start guessing and making up new defenses out there that we don’t have.”
Expect to see second-year defensive linemen Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton getting extended playing time.
“I just want to see [them] take the next step,” said Marinelli. “I’m not going to throw them a bouquet of roses for doing what they’re supposed to do. But, you want to see the development as you go into a preseason game.”
Marinelli announced he will coordinator the defense from the sideline in San Diego.
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