Can Lovie Actually Change The Bears Defense?

The Bears coach will resume his coordinator duties, but does it actually make a difference?

It's been a while since we discussed the Bears' defensive coaching changes, so in case you don't remember, here's what happened: The Bears had an awful defensive year. The usually stalwart defense was ugly and unorganized and basically really easy to move the football on.

So head coach Lovie Smith removed defensive coordinator Bob Babich and demoted him to linebackers coach. He then hired Rod Marinelli to coach the defensive line. He then made himself the de facto defensive coordinator. Nothing changed, really -- no one was fired -- but it's clear the responsibility is now squarely on Smith's shoulders.

As the Bears slowly approach their next season, though, it's worth asking the question: Will anything actually change? Will the defense get better? Is Lovie so good at calling plays that he can magically improve an aging, slowing squad, simply by outsmarting his contemporaries?

It's worth asking because it could affect the way the Bears approach the impending draft and the rest of free agency. If the Bears do believe that the problem was Babich and not the talent level on the team, great. Focus on drafting offensive positions and have Lovie coach up the defense. But if they think that, it's likely wrong. No level of coaching is so severely better in the NFL that it can make up for having less talent. It really doesn't work that way.

It will be interesting, as the offseason rolls on, to see just what the Bears do. They're not stupid. They're not naive. But they might be too confident in Lovie, and Lovie might be too confident in himself. We'll find out soon enough.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger whose Brian Urlacher jersey is slowly losing its luster. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.


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