Despite coaching in the NFL since 1996, Rod Marinelli only recently added the title of defensive coordinator to his resume. Some question whether or not Marinelli was the right man for the job, especially since he lacks defensive play calling experience. But according to defensive end Israel Idonije, the transition from Lovie Smith to Marinelli overseeing the defense has been smooth.
"Coach Marinelli is actually one of the guys who started this whole defense," Idonije told ESPN 1000's "Afternoon Saloon Show" Thursday. "He lives it, he breathes it. We're going to attack and attack, rush four guys and cover. It's going to be great. He's focused on guys doing the right things consistently. The guy is all about discipline and working hard. He's a great coach."
Marinelli came to Chicago with the reputation as being one of the top defensive-line coaches in the game. But for the third consecutive season, the Bears failed to generate substantial pressure on opposing quarterbacks. According to Idonije, the numbers from 2009 fail to tell the entire story.
"For me, he's helped me understand what's really happening in the game, not just my job, but seeing the big picture,” Idonije explained.”Everything has slowed down as a defense. We're going to be a little sharper and a little more focused. With that type of leadership at the helm, it's going to help us make a big jump and [reclaim] that top spot as a defense."
"There's a lot that goes into this system. As a defensive lineman, now you read the offense. In my career, I've never done that. I've never come to the line and … had to make a call based on what the offense is going to do. Now we understand that every offensive formation has to have certain things they do to keep the protection. We have to put ourselves in a situation to [produce] the best possible pass rush."
Idonije is one player to watch closely this summer. Even though Mark Anderson is expected to receive the first crack to start opposite Julius Peppers at defensive end, Idonije should factor into the playing time equation.
“Whatever I can do to get on the field, I’ll do it,” Idonije said.