According to a report in the Chicago Tribune by Rich Campbell, Chicago Bears Defensive Line Coach Jay Rodgers was named as the 2018 NFL Defensive Line Coach Of The Year by the NFL.
Rodgers, the only defensive assistant coach from the 2018 Bears to remain with the team in 2019, received the award at the NFL Scouting Combine. Making the award even more prestigious, Rodgers was selected by a vote of his peers.
The 10-year NFL veteran coach lead a talent-stacked defensive line to total dominance in 2018, and he also was instrumental in the emergence of rookie lineman Bilal Nichols and the continued development of Roy Robertson-Harris. Under his coaching, Akiem Hicks played at an All-Pro level and was awarded a Pro-Bowl slot.
According to his bio on ChicagoBears.com Rodgers is in his fourth year as the Chicago Bears defensive line coach after being hired by the franchise on January 25, 2015. Rodgers has 17 years coaching experience including nine seasons in the NFL.
In 2018, his defensive line was in part responsible in part for the Bears defense racking up 18 forced fumbles and 50 sacks. Eddie Goldman had the best year of his career alongside of Hicks who had a career-best 55 tackles as well.
In 2017, according to his bio, Rodgers’ line played a major role in Chicago’s defensive dominance, accounting for 42 sacks for 277 yards, the highest such totals in his three seasons with the club. DL Akiem Hicks led the defense with a career-best 8.5 sacks and matched a then career-best 54 tackles.
In 2016, the Bears defensive line showed improvement in their second season under Rodgers. Hicks also led the way in his first season, setting then career highs in sacks (7.0), pass breakups (2), tackles for a loss (11) and forced fumbles (2). Hicks also finished fourth on the team with a career-high 71 tackles. Eddie Goldman also produced 2.5 sacks despite being limited to 6 games due to injury.
Rodgers bio states that prior to joining the Bears, Rodgers spent the previous six seasons (2009-14) on the Denver Broncos coaching staff including overseeing the defensive line over the last three years (2012-14).
Rodgers joined the Broncos as a coaching assistant in 2009, a title he held for two seasons before being named defensive quality control coach in 2011.
Prior to joining the Broncos Rodgers worked the collegiate coaching ranks for nine seasons. A former college quarterback at Indiana (1996-98) and Missouri State (1999), Rodgers made his coaching debut as a graduate assistant at LSU working on the offensive (2001) and defensive (2002) side of the football. He moved on to become the passing game coordinator/quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Dodge City Community College in Kansas during the 2003 season. He coached the quarterbacks at Missouri State (2004) and Stephen F. Austin University (2005-06) before overseeing the wide receivers at Iowa State (2007-08).
In 2000, he worked as a recruiting intern at Ohio State University.
A native of Austin, Texas, Rodgers attended Austin Westlake High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Indiana in 2000. He is the older brother Jeff Rodgers, who is the special teams coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals.
Jay and his wife, Melissa, have two daughters, Avery and Harper, and a son, Rock.