Mel Tucker looking forward to coaching Bears defense
"What's not to like about the Bears? It's a great organization, lots of tradition, and my wife is from Chicago. I'm a Midwestern guy from Cleveland, played at Wisconsin,” said Mel Tucker. “It's a great tradition of football, and on the defensive side of the ball there's some history here as well.”
"Coaching in general is a privilege,” continued Mel Tucker. “To be able to work with these young men and to teach, motivate and develop, and Chicago is a great place to do that.”
Mel Tucker spent the last five seasons between several different defensive coaching jobs with the Cleveland Browns (2005-2008) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-2012). Mel Tucker gained experienced in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses while coaching his last two teams. But the Mel Tucker hopes to maintain the Chicago Bears’ 4-3 defensive scheme due to the units’ past success and since he believes he has the team for it.
"Every year it's a challenge to try to get better because the margins are very slim in the NFL. Everyone in the league right now is trying to do the same thing,” said Mel Tucker, “trying to figure out how you can get an advantage offensively and defensively. We'll do what our players can do. We'll figure out a way to get people stopped and we'll move forward. I'm excited about it."
Mel Tucker takes helm of a defense that scored nine touchdowns, and allowed the third fewest points in the NFL, while paving way for the Chicago Bears’ league-high 44 takeaways last season.
The 41-year-old Mel Tucker inherits a veteran defense which features the likes of linebacker Lance Briggs, defensive end Julius Peppers, as well as cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. At the moment, middle-linebacker Brian Urlacher and defensive tackle Henry Melton’s future with the Chicago Bears is uncertain. Both defensive linemen could become unrestricted free agents if they go unsigned by the Chicago Bears until the March 12 deadline.
"It's a good thing; veteran leadership, guys that know the system, guys know what it's all about," Tucker said. "They've been through the wars. I think that's a positive definitely."
Mel Tucker takes replaces former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who was fired along with former head coach Lovie Smith at the end of the 2012 season. While the firing of Lovie Smith was a widely unpopular decision among the players, Mel Tucker is aiming to make a fresh start with the Chicago Bears defensive unit when the first day of workouts begin.
"It's going to be a daily process,” Mel Tucker said of building a new relationship with the team. “It's about trust and respect. That's earned on a daily basis. I'm different. I'm not going to try to be someone that I'm not. But I think as guys get to know our staff, I think they'll like what they see."