Mel Tucker will return in 2014, but Bears dismiss two defensive assistants


The Bears finished near the bottom of the league in both yards and points allowed, but they won’t be changing defensive coordinators.

The team announced Sunday that Mel Tucker will return for a second year running the defense under head coach Marc Trestman. Tucker’s job was made much more difficult in 2013 by the absences of several key players because of injury. Linebacker Lance Briggs, defensive tackle Henry Melton and cornerback Charles Tillman highlight that list and the Bears will have to decide what kind of offers to make to the latter two as they head toward free agency in March.

Those changes will include a couple of new position coaches. While formally announcing the return of Tucker and the rest of the team’s coaching staff, the Bears said they have parted ways with defensive line coach Mike Phair and linebackers coach Tim Tibesar. Phair was a holdover from Lovie Smith’s staff while Tibesar, who worked with Trestman in Montreal, was in his first year with the Bears.

Whoever replaces them will be charged with improving on a run defense that gave up 161.4 yards per game in 2013, a number that is way too high regardless of who is missing from the lineup.

27 responses to “Mel Tucker will return in 2014, but Bears dismiss two defensive assistants

  1. As a die-hard, I’m being told that our atrocious Run D was Mike Phair’s + Tim Tibesar’s fault and had nothing to do with the scheme and the questionable play-calling. Unbelievable.

  2. I’m sorry but there’s not a good reason for Tucker to be back. The play calling was just as terrible as the execution of the plays. You can’t blame position coaches for moronic play calls like the jailhouse blitz that ended the season. The position coaches very well may have deserved this, but them being scapegoated for Tucker’s complete and utter failure isn’t right. He needed to be shown the door.

  3. meatcarroll says:
    Jan 12, 2014 5:08 PM

    Mel Gibson > Mel Tucker


    Mel Brooks > Mel Blank > Mel Torme > Mel B 38 > than Mel Tucker

  4. Tucker and Assistant Coaches were never on the same page…chatter from Hallas Hall. Tucker and Trestman caused a storm after Eagles game, and thats when they decided ACs were history.

  5. I actually would have been OK with this if we had 9 starters under contract to come back. But with as much turnover as we’re about to have, this is potentially a 2 year set back. Having a DC on probation means you are going to be drafting scheme neutral defenders and signing guys to one year contracts. By the time you commit to the coordinator and scheme (2015) you are then acquiring the players that fit long term and waiting another season for them to ramp up.

    I thought the Cutler resigning was wise because he was a year into the learning curve and you weren’t going to be starting at square one with a draft pick. This is literally prolonging square one by two years. Not wise.

  6. Bears fan here who was on board with the Trestman hiring but now really wonders if he has the stuff to be an NFL HC.

    Tucker and the entire defensive coaching staff should have been walked out. That so-called “defense” the Bears trotted out onto the field week after week this year was disgusting.

  7. dtownsportslions says:
    Jan 12, 2014 6:39 PM
    that laughingstock swept Chicago this year……lol

    Yet somehow you still finished behind both Chicago and Green Bay.

    Haha haha haha haha haha.

  8. The truth is that Emery looked around and couldn’t find anyone better, or anyone willing to walk into this much maligned D. But, Emery does think that he can improve Tuckers staff. P.S. Tucker, your on notice!!!

  9. When the beloved Bears played the Jags in 2012, and thoroughly spanked them, I remember feeling that Jacksonville’s (Tucker’s) defense looked incredibly inept and disorganized. They couldn’t tackle, cover, or get to Cutler despite the Bears O line. I was skeptical when the Bears made the Tucker hire and after going through 2013 I’m wondering what Emery and Trestman have been seeing.

    Emery has been hot and cold. In 2012, he finds Jeffery, but he selects McClellin, Rodriguez and Hardin with the 1, 3 and 4 picks of the same draft. He also didn’t do much to fortify an O line. Last year he straightens out the offense but he signs off on Tucker and fails to add depth to the defense. His brief history of GM work in Chicago would suggest he can make improvements in these weak areas given a couple of years to work on it, but there will be plenty of hitting and missing. My gut tells me Tucker may be overmatched in the role of DC, but I hope Emery’s seeing things us fans don’t.

  10. The only justification I can come up with for Mel Tucker is that he was forced to run a defense he’d never run before and didn’t know how it worked. The Bears’ plan this year defensively seemed to be to let the veteran players teach the younger players and the coaching staff how the Cover 2 worked. When the vets started getting hurt that began the perfect storm of bad. That doesn’t excuse how poorly the defense played and how poor of a job Tucker did, but the plan this year may be to let Tucker install a defensive scheme he’s familiar with and see how that pans out.

  11. Vic Tayback > Mel Tucker

    “As a Lions fan…” Zzzzzzzzzz

    Speaking of the Lions, that sweep of the Bears still had you finish behind them in the division. That was your version of winning the Super Bowl.

    And keeping Tucker is a big mistake. What defensive FA in his right mind will want to play for him?

  12. It was a terrible hire to bring in the DC from the worst team in the NFL to a team that a top 5 defense even with injuries the yr before. Another poor decision to keep this inept DC that turned the defense into one of the worst defense in the league and the worst defense in Bears History. If the Bears defense does not improve to the top half of the league, then the Bears need to let all of the decision makers go. Because this will waste the talented offense.

  13. I didn’t sense a lot of buy-in for Tucker this year by the holdover veteran players. A lot of them would have run through a wall for Lovie Smith and when he was let go it seems like at least some of his former players just kinda shut down.

    It sounds bad to say but the only chance Tucker may have is if Emery has the stones to get rid of as many Lovie holdovers as the salary cap can absorb this offseason. If they’re gonna give Tucker another chance then at least let him start fresh with new players who don’t have loyalties to the former regime.

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