Bears fire offensive coordinator Ron Turner
January 5, 2010 11:11 AM | 62 Comments | UPDATED STORY
The bubble burst Tuesday for Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner, who was dismissed. (Chris Sweda/Tribune)
By Vaughn McClure
The Bears have fired offensive coordinator Ron Turner, as well as offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton and tight ends coach Rob Boras, according to a league source.
The Bears will keep receivers coach Darryl Drake and running backs coach Tim Spencer. Drake's receivers were the most criticized group coming into the 2009 season, but performed much better than expected. Spencer had to deal with Matt Forte running on a bad knee and inconsistent play from the offensive line.
Also, the Bears are expected to name assistant Rod Marinelli the defensive coordinator, according to a source. He will relieve head coach Lovie Smith of those duties.
Turner's dismissal was expected in light of the team's offensive struggles during a 7-9 season. He still will be regarded as one of the most productive offensive coordinators in the team's history after helping the Bears reach Super Bowl XLI. But Turner's fifth consecutive year as the team's offensive coordinator (and ninth total) went south despite the addition of quarterback Jay Cutler.
Turner was one of the first assistants the team met with Tuesday morning. Turner's offense finished 23rd in the NFL (310.3 yards per game) and 29th in rushing offense (93.3 yards per game) this season. During the Super Bowl season, the Bears were tied for 15th in yards per game (324.9) and tied for second with 26.7 points per game.
The cold relationship between Turner and Cutler did not help Turner's situation
Hiestand, who declined to comment about his dismissal, figured to be gone if Turner was no longer in the mix. The offensive line didn't make much improvement from last season despite the additions of Orlando Pace, Frank Omiyale, and Kevin Shaffer, although Omiyale, Shaffer, and Chris Williams showed progress at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Joe Cullen, Marinell's defensive line coach when Marinelli was the head coach of the Detroit Lions, was spotted at Halas Hall last week and could take over the Bears' defensive line from Marinelli.
In 2006, the Lions suspended Cullen after he was arrested twice, once on a drunk-driving charge and the other on a charge of driving naked through a fast-food drive-through lane.