Defensive overhaul begins as Bears fire Phair, Tibesar

Defensive overhaul begins as Bears fire Phair, Tibesar
January 12, 2014, 6:45 pm
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The first stage - and far from the last - in the makeover of the Bears defense came Sunday when the coaches of the defensive line and linebackers were dismissed.

The changes will not extend to coordinator Mel Tucker, praised this season and after by coach Marc Trestman for working through the injuries and shuffling within the defense.

Mike Phair, hired under Lovie Smith as assistant defensive line coach, and Tim Tibesar, brought in with coach Trestman from the CFL, will be replaced after constant troubles with the front seven doomed the defense to one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

[RELATED: Tucker remains as defensive coordinator]

Sacking Phair and Tibesar does less than scapegoat. The message was emphatic that there will be improvements or other changes can be expected.

Both the line and linebacker groups were wracked with injuries that forced coaches to reach down the depth charts and beyond, with in-season signings of defensive tackles Landon Cohen and Jeremiah Ratliff.

But the moves appear less punitive than a statement that more development is required than what happened last season with the likes of rookie linebackers Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene, draft choices forced into the lineup but struggled badly at times.

It also points to expanded expectations in what will be scheme changes involving the line and linebackers.