Rod Marinelli was interviewed briefly by the Chicago Tribune:
“Failing, that hurts,” said Marinelli, who went 10-38 in three seasons with the Lions. “We made mistakes. But I looked at so many positives. That’s just how I am, how I see everything.
“I could get up every day and I just wanted to make people better, make sure we were preparing correctly. When you do that, all the other factors, they didn’t hurt as much.”
The aspect Marinelli learned the most from his first NFL head-coaching gig was the importance of putting a cohesive staff together. He was unable to establish such coaching chemistry with the Lions.
“The fits just weren’t always right,” he said. “Sometimes you think everybody’s like yourself—you know, if there’re 10 mops, I’m going to grab one and start mopping. But that’s not always the case. Guys are looking at the next job, or egos. All those things are tough.”
Bears head coach Lovie Smith showed empathy toward his close friend.
“It’s tough for anybody to go through something like that, but if anybody could go through it, it was Rod,” Smith said.
“Rod’s a Vietnam vet. Going through a [winless] football season, yes, that’s tough. But he’s been through a lot tougher things.”
Marinelli should find himself at ease in his new surroundings. This staff was the perfect fit for many reasons, none more than his great relationship with Smith. They are former roommates who coached together in Tampa Bay.
“It’s not like we had a bunch of fun times back then. You see both of our personalities,” Marinelli joked. “It’s like all we ever did was worked.”
The two were back to work Monday, pulling their thoughts together to evaluate the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl. Marinelli was given the title of assistant head coach, so he is sure to have input when it comes to evaluating talent.
Marinelli is just as eager to work with the current crop of Bears defensive linemen.
“My reputation is strong at defensive line,” Marinelli said, “but you don’t come in with a reputation. You come in as a teacher, and I want to re-establish myself as a good teacher, prove myself to these guys.
“And as an assistant head coach, whatever Lovie wants, I’ll do. I can line the fields. I can mow. That’s just me.”
He refuses to dwell on the past, but part of his moving forward with the Bears entails coming to grips with his fall in the Motor City.
Well it’s nice to see that Rod hasn’t lost his unfailing optimism. Marinelli is a good coach. He motivates and prepares well, however he is a micromanager and perhaps impatient (unless you’re his son-in-law). This makes for a Head Coach that performs poorly.
I don’t think it’s a vision to fail but it is a failure of vision and it isn’t just the coach, it’s the organization. It’s the Lions (there’s that phrase again). They can’t seem to settle on what kind of team they want to be and how they want to build it. They act as though they are scavengers in the draft, Millen often fetching whom he thought was the “Best Available” like Mike Williams, or signing Mike Martz and Rod Marinelli at the same time and marrying themselves to conflicting football viewpoints. You get a “defense first, pound the rock” guy and a guy that runs a pass first offense and throw them together and see what happens. Couple that with the fact that your GM can’t draft. It leaves you… Well, exactly where the lions are.