Yesterday it was reported that the Chicago Bears plan on firing defensive coordinator Mel Tucker "barring significant improvement." I'm not sure what would qualify as significant, but I hope it's nothing less than three straight shutouts.
Mel Tucker had his chance. He's actually had more than enough chances. Injuries killed any real possibility the Bears had to evaluate his play calling in 2013, but this year it's been more of the same. Sure there were injuries in 2014, but good coaches eventually find a way to scheme around injuries. Two years is enough to realize Tucker has no answers.
His Chicago defenses have been historically bad. With three games to go in the 2014 season, his defenses have allowed 38 or more points eight times. That is the worst two season stretch in the history of the franchise.
In the last two years, his defenses have allowed 425 yards or more of total offense on 9 different times. Nine is also the number of times Tucker's defense has allowed a quarterback to complete over 70% of their passes. I have another nine for you, the Bears' defense has allowed 21 or more points before halftime in 9 games the last two years.
When talking about run defense, the 2014 Bears are better than the train wreck of 2013, but over the last two years they've allowed over 130 rushing yards on 14 occasions. Tucker hasn't figured out how to stop the run or the pass in 29 games coaching the Chicago Bears.
If Tucker is indeed gone, then that more than likely means that head coach Marc Trestman is sticking around. I'm sure a complete offensive collapse could change plans, but I don't see the Bears changing their head coach. If Trestman stays, then the odds on a complete defensive staff overhaul are pretty slim. It could happen, but history tells us otherwise.
Tucker will be the fall guy and my guess is one of three defensive assistants will be promoted.
Defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni has play calling experience, but his NFL defenses have a very Mel Tucker-like feel to them. Pasqualoni has coordinated three NFL defenses in his career and he's never finished higher than 15th in yards allowed. In 2008 and 2009 he ran Miami's D and in 2010 he took over in Dallas for their final eight games after head coach/defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was fired.
Linebacker coach Reggie Herring has 11 years experience calling defensive plays in the collegiate ranks, but he's never been a DC in the NFL. Herring and Pasqualoni both have experience working with a four man and a three man defensive front.
Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke has four years experience coordinating defenses in college, but like Herring, he's never called plays in the NFL. Of these three, Hoke has the longest tenure in Chicago. Pasqualoni and Herring are in their 1st season with the Bears, Hoke is in his 6th year.
If the Bears look outside the current group of assistants for a new coordinator, keep in mind Trestman has a history with both Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. Trestman could tap them as resources to find a young, ready and willing coach they've worked with to call Trestman's D. Harbaugh is on the hot seat himself, so if he's sprung from San Francisco odds are some of, if not all of, his defensive staff will be available.
If Trestman decides to look for an experienced play caller, he may find it rough getting someone to agree to step into a situation that could possibly be one and done. If Trestman can't turn the Bears around in 2015 there's no way he's allowed to fulfill the 4th year on his contract. Is there?
The aforementioned Wade Phillips isn't currently employed and he could be looking for any chance to get back into the NFL. If Rob Ryan is fired from his current DC gig with the Saints, he has the kind of have-playbook-will-travel attitude that could be OK with Chicago's situation. But don't look for his brother Rex Ryan to take a step back from the head coaching ranks if the Jets do fire him. With 8 to 10 possible head coaching jobs about to open up, Rex will probably be in play for another head coach opportunity.
What's your best guess to whom the Bears hire as defensive coordinator if they fire Mel Tucker?