Friday, January 18, 2013
Bears, Mel Tucker reach deal
By Michael C. Wright
Chicago has finalized a deal to bring in former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for the same position with the Bears.
The news came on a day in which the Bears hired former New York Jets assistant Matt Cavanaugh as quarterbacks coach.
The Bears also announced the hirings of Andy Bischoff and Michael Sinclair as their tight ends coach and assistant defensive line coach, respectively. Both Bischoff and Sinclair coached under new coach Marc Trestman with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.
The Bears' coaching staff on defense now consists of Tucker, secondary coaches Jon Hoke and Gil Byrd, and defensive line coach Mike Phair. The team still must add a linebackers coach to take over for the recently fired Bob Babich.
An eight-year NFL coaching veteran, Tucker has interviewed for three head coaching positions in the league. Tucker interviewed in 2009 for the head coaching job in Cleveland, and has interviewed twice for the head job with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2012 and '13) after serving as interim coach in 2011 after the team fired Jack Del Rio.
In Cleveland, Tucker served as defensive coordinator in 2008 after being promoted from defensive backs coach, a position he held from 2005 to '07. Under Tucker, the Browns operated out of a 3-4 defense.
When Tucker joined the Jaguars in 2009, the team experimented with playing both the 4-3 and the 3-4 before finally settling on the 4-3 full time.
Tucker, 41, played collegiately at Wisconsin, and started his coaching career in 1999 at Miami (Ohio). Tucker also worked with Nick Saban at LSU as defensive backs coach (2000), before joining Jim Tressel at Ohio State (2001) as defensive backs coach, before being promoted in 2004 as co-defensive coordinator.
In Jacksonville, Tucker helped the Jaguars defense improve from 28th in the league in 2010 to sixth in 2011.
During his first year with the Jaguars (2009), Tucker presided over a unit on which 21 different players made starts, including four rookies.