Bears hire Tucker as defensive coordinator

    2013-01-18 19:51

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The Chicago Bears hired Jacksonville's Mel Tucker as their defensive coordinator to replace Rod Marinelli on Friday.

Tucker spent the past four seasons as the Jaguars' defensive coordinator and was assistant head coach this season.

He interviewed to replace Mike Mularkey, who was fired after going 2-14 in his lone season as their head coach, but that job went to Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Thursday.

New Bears coach Marc Trestman wanted to retain Marinelli, but he chose not to return. Now, he's turning to Tucker, who has experience with the 4-3 as well as the 3-4 defensive formations.

The Jaguars last season also used Cover-2 defense, a staple in Chicago under the fired Lovie Smith.

With the Bears, Tucker will take over a defense that ranked among the best this season with stars such as Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers.

But Chicago also has a big question mark with Brian Urlacher's contract expiring after an injury-filled season.

The Jaguars were 30th in the league in total defense in 2012, but they were sixth the year before at 313 yards per game, with Tucker spending the final five games as interim head coach after Jack Del Rio was fired.

He was also reportedly considered for the head coaching job at his alma mater Wisconsin, which went with Gary Andersen to replace Bret Bielema.

Tucker was an assistant with Cleveland from 2005 to 2008, spending the first three years as defensive backs coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator.

He previously coached at Ohio State and spent time with Nick Saban at both LSU and Michigan State. He also spent a year at Miami of Ohio.

The Bears also hired Matt Cavanaugh as their quarterbacks coach and Skip Peete as their running backs coach on Friday along with two of Trestman's assistants with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes - tight ends coach Andy Bischoff and assistant defensive line coach Michael Sinclair.

Cavanaugh will try to get the most out of Jay Cutler after spending the past four seasons as the New York Jets' quarterbacks coach, working with Mark Sanchez. The Jets have gone 14-18 the past two years.

Cavanaugh served as the Bears' offensive coordinator from 1997 and 1998, and he was San Francisco's quarterbacks coach in 1996 when Trestman was the 49ers' offensive coordinator.

Peete was fired after six seasons in Dallas. The Cowboys finished next-to-last in the NFL with 1,265 yards rushing. Dallas never had a 1,000-yard rusher under Peete but did finish seventh in the league in rushing in 2007.

Sinclair was a three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman with the Seahawks in the 1990s and played 11 seasons with Seattle and the Philadelphia Eagles. He was Montreal's defensive line coach from 2008 to 2012.

Bischoff spent the past five seasons as the Alouettes' running backs coach and was also their special teams coordinator from 2010 to 2012.


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