Miller: If it's not broke, don't fix it


Miller: If it's not broke, don't fix it

When news broke that Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would not be returning to the team, news of replacement candidates soon followed. Head coach Marc Trestman was quick to acknowledge a decision would be made over the next few days during his inaugural press conference, but heres a look at some of the names which surfaced as Marinellis replacement:

1. Mel Tucker, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator

Tuckers defense finished 30th overall in 2012, giving up 27.8 points per game. The Jaguars defense logged plenty of snaps due to an ineffective offense without running back Maurice Jones-Drew and lingering quarterback issues. Tucker has experience in 4-3 and also 3-4 principles.

2. Jon Hoke, Bears defensive backs coach

Hoke who was thought to have the inside track on the job because of his knowledge of the Bears defensive roster, Tampa 2 philosophy and players love him, especially Lance Briggs.

3. Greg Mattison, Michigan Wolverines defensive coordinator

Mattison was the former defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Michigans defense has seen steady improvement under Mattison. He has experience in 3-4 and 4-3 principles.

4. Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State defensive coordinator

Has had one of the top defensive units in college the past few seasons. Narduzzi can run it all. 4-3, 3-3 nickel with heavy emphasis on blitz and blitz zone principles. If you want to know how to stop spread option attacks, this is your man. With the proliferation of spread option principles from college to pro, Narduzzi is a name that will surface around the NFL again. I am accused of being a homer for Michigan State, but just remember Mel Tucker got his start as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at MSU also. So either way, I win.

5. Raheem Morris, Washington Redskins defensive back coach

Morris was the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and defensive coordinator. Prior to head coaching promotion Morris served as defensive backs coach. Morris is high energy and obviously well versed in Tampa 2 principles the Bears have executed under Marinelli.

All quality candidates who provide a good fit for the Chicago Bears and their personnel.

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for tight ends

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for tight ends

With training camp starting next week, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz are looking at three burning questions for each of the Bears’ position groups heading into Bourbonnais. Thursday's unit: the tight ends.

1. Will Zach Miller make the 53-man roster?

Miller didn’t play a single down from 2012-14, and has missed seven games in two seasons with the Bears, but he’s been productive when on the field: 110 targets, 81 receptions, 925 yards and nine touchdowns. But the Bears signed Dion Sims to an $18 million contract and then drafted Adam Shaheen in the second round of the draft, moves that seemingly put Miller in a precarious position heading into Bourbonnais. Not helping Miller’s case is the Lisfranc fracture he suffered last November, which kept him sidelined through OTAs and veteran minicamp in May and June. He’d be a valuable player for the Bears to keep around, but at the same time, training camp could be a perfect storm for Miller to be among the cuts.

“They’re going to cutting it close for training camp,” coach John Fox said of Miller (and Danny Trevathan) in June. “But right now they’re right on target and that’s kind of what we expected all offseason.”

2. What can we expect from Adam Shaheen?

Shaheen was among the bright spots during May and June, hardly looking like someone who played his college ball at Division II Ashland while going against NFL defenders. But those were just shorts-and-helmets practices without any contact, so it’d be premature to project anything about Shaheen off of them. The real test for Shaheen will be when he puts the pads on in Bourbonnais and gets his first experience with the physicality of the NFL after a few years of being head and shoulders — literally — above his competition in college. It’s unlikely Shaheen will live up to his “Baby Gronk” hype in Year 1, but if he handles training camp well, he could be a valuable red zone asset for Mike Glennon as a rookie. 

“You don’t know until you put the pads on,” Shaheen said. “That’s what I’m excited for.”

3. How productive can this unit be?

Between Sims — who had a career high four touchdowns last year with the Miami Dolphins — and Shaheen, the Bears have two new, big targets for an offense that tied for 24th in the NFL with 19 passing touchdowns a year ago. If Miller sticks around, this group would have enviable depth. But even if he doesn’t, the Bears liked what they saw from Brown last year (16 receptions, 124 yards, 1 TD in six games). There are fewer questions about the tight ends heading into training camp than the receivers, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Glennon leans on this unit, especially early in the season. 

BearsTalk Podcast: Analyzing Mitch Trubisky's contract as rookies arrive for camp


BearsTalk Podcast: Analyzing Mitch Trubisky's contract as rookies arrive for camp

On Ep. 56 of our BearsTalk Podcast, Chris and JJ discuss Mitch Trubisky’s contract, question marks about the final 53, go over the Vikings off-season with Dawn Mitchell from Fox-9 Minneapolis, and go “Off the Grid” on  JJ’s recent engagement.