Rod Marinelli is not blowing smoke when it comes to coaching the Bears defensive line. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Do it right. Period. That's what the Bears new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli expects. And what happens if you don't?
"I don't want to be the first to find out," one lineman smiled.
Rod Marinelli is a task master in the classroom and on the field. This is a teacher anyone could learn from, just listen to his philosophy when talking about bringing Defensive End Mark Anderson back to basics to get him back to that rookie form when he had nine quarterback hits and five sacks.
"Don't give him too many things to do. You can't go to the tool box with forty things. I couldn't change the oil pan. But if you give me 20 tools, then I really don't know, " Marinelli said. "But if you tell me 'use this' I got a chance. Just a couple of tools. When you got those tools down, then maybe add a paintbrush for me. The smaller tool box (is better) - you don't need all this stuff."
Makes sense. And Marinelli is all about repetition. He doesn't change things, just keeps doing them over and over again. The players are soaking it all in.
Alex Brown hesitated when asked how different it is under Marinelli.
"Hmm. Big difference," he smiled. "You can get used to a tempo but he raises it every session. He expects more, no matter what you do he expects more. That's good, that's really good for us."
Marinelli insists he has the tools on the line to rush the passer. He also refuses to say who will be there on opening day.
"Let it all play out," he said. "That's what I learned from Tony Dungy, let it all play out."
Other changes on defense include Zack Bowman replacing Charles Tillman at right corner back, while Tillman rehabs from back surgery. Bowman made quite an impression in his rookie debut last year falling on a muffed punt for touchdown and intercepting a pass to secure a win against Minnesota. But a torn bicep sidelined him and that was the last we saw, until now.
Bowman is starting opposite Nathan Vasher until Tillman returns, but has an opportunity to stay with the ones if he performs well.
Pressure or opportunity?
"Both," Bowman said after lunch Sunday? "Pressure, I’m with the first team defense so I just want to do my job. But its also opportunity to show coaches I can play."
Bowman showed that on Saturday night, the first practice under lights and in pads when he intercepted Jay Cutler.
Another change in the defensive backfield is nickel back Danieal Manning moving over to starting free safety. Manning learned of the move a few weeks before camp opened, while Lovie Smith made the announcement on the eve of training camp.
"I think it was real smart we had him at nickel back in OTA's," defensive backs coach Jon Hoke explained. "Things happen faster there ... makes free safety easier for him."
Manning said his biggest adjustment is knowing his assignments and what's expected of him. But Hoke is emphasizing technique for all his DBs by telling them to backpedal more and stay square longer before opening up.
"When you open up your angles are better, you see things better," Hoke said. "When you turn you tend to lock your hips."
INJURY UPDATE: Running back Matt Forte is taking it easy after suffering a hamstring injury at the end of OTA's. The Bears say it's not serious.
NICKNAME: Many think rookie receiver Johnny Knox's nickname would be the title of Johnny Knoxville's show JACK@#$%. "I hope not" Knox laughed when asked Sunday, "I am a big fan of his though."
SIGHT SEEN: Brian Urlacher's voice, Fox sports football guy, Jay Glazer walking to lunch with Lovie Smith and chatting it up over salad.
RESUMES OUT: While Hunter Hillenmeyer is trying to hang on to his strong side linebacker job. His father in law Tim Floyd is fielding job offers (Hillenmeyer is married to Floyd's daughter Shannon). The former USC men's basketball coach is also turning down a lot too. "He's gotten a lot of random offers," Hillenmeyer said Floyd has turned down those offers from Europe to being the Phoenix Suns top assistant. It seems everyone wants a defensive minded coach, but Floyd is playing the waiting game possibly for the top job somewhere.