Ending this three-part progress report series, I grade out the Chicago Bears coaching staff for the first quarter of the season.
Head coach: Lovie Smith– A
Smith deserves a majority of the credit of the Bears 3-1 record at the first quarter of the season. Smith has always been a quality head coach that has been stubborn as far as his scheme is concern. So far this season, that hasn’t been the case as we have witness over the past four games that Smith is finally experimenting with different alignments and formations.
This includes; experimenting with different personnel groupings on the defensive line, and giving his secondary free reigns to go after the football. Smith has this defense playing at a Championship level and it’s all because of his outside-the-box thinking. Funny it took him being on the hot seat to do this.
Defensive Coordinator: Rod Marinelli– A
Marinelli is Smith’s right hand man, so their success and failures are always going to be linked together. Along with being credited with the new looks on the defensive front, Marinelli has also been solid in the play-calling department. There hasn’t been a game so far this year that it seem like Marinelli was getting outcoached.
His ability to get his younger talent on the front four to play up to or near their potential is hard to ignore. Henry Melton and Stephen Paea look like the real deal in the middle of the defensive line while Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin are playing close to their potential.
Marinelli has been instrumental in the defense success through the first quarter of the season.
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Tice– B-
It has been a bit of a roll-a-coaster ride through the first quarter of the season for first time offensive coordinator Tice. The offense after a disastrous first half in the week one match-up against the Indianapolis Colts, clicked on all cylinders in the second half and gave fans a perception that the offense will be a juggernaut throughout the year.
Fans were met with harsh reality in week two against the Green Bay Packers, where the Packers defense suffocated the passing attack, and the Bears couldn’t establish a ground game against their front seven.
Since then, Tice has done a decent job at play-calling and in-game adjustments. Tice is a work-in-progress at offensive coordinator, but has shown in limited time that he has the potential to become a pretty good one in the NFL.
Special Teams: Dave Toub– B
Toub punt and return coverage team has been stellar through the four games of the season. The reason why this grade is a B for one of the better special teams’ coaches in the game today is because of the touchdown against his field goal defense unit. Another reason is that I feel Eric Weems is not getting a good amount of opportunities as a kick returner.
Other than those two reasons, Toub has had a successful first quarter.