A rough season by the Chicago Bears defense led to some staff changes. Did the right coaches go? Our panel weighs in on that and more: Fact or Fiction: The Bears made the correct decision retaining Mel Tucker. Did the Bears make the correct decision retaining Mel Tucker? 50% Yes 50% No (Total votes: 909) Jeff Dickerson: Fact. Tucker deserved at least one more season to turn around the defense after a disastrous 2013. This is not about giving Tucker a free pass for the defense ranking near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories. This is about looking at the facts. Tucker walked into a situation with a defensive system already in place from the Lovie Smith era. That system worked beautifully under Smith the majority of the time because, in large part, Smith had superstars such as Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers all playing at an extremely high level. But the Bears decided to let Urlacher and veteran strong side linebacker Nick Roach leave in the 2013 offseason, actions that Tucker had nothing to do with. The loss of Urlacher and Roach hurt the Bears’ defense more than the organization would like you to believe. Peppers’ inconsistent play on the defensive line also hurt the team, as did the lack of development of former first-round pick Shea McClellin, who became a liability versus the run. Finally, factor in all the injuries: Henry Melton, Nate Collins, Turk McBride, Kelvin Hayden, Tillman, Briggs and the training camp retirement of Sedrick Ellis. NFL teams are skewered by the media and public whenever they blame injuries for substandard results, but you cannot ignore what injuries to key players does to a roster. No, the Bears are not the New England Patriots. New England is a well-oiled winning machine that has three Super Bowl championships and 11 postseason appearances under head coach Bill Belichick. New England can lose Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes to injuries, Wes Welker to free agency and Aaron Hernandez to a murder allegation and not skip a beat. The Bears, who have missed the playoffs six out of the last seven years, are not on that level. So please, don’t compare the Bears’ predicament last year to the Patriots'. Let’s see how Tucker fares with some tweaks to the system and some changes to the personnel on defense before deciding whether he is the right man for the job. Jon Greenberg: Fact. What does it say if you fire a defensive coordinator after one season, and a season decimated by injuries, at that? It would say that Marc Trestman and Phil Emery are reactionary and needed a scapegoat after the worst defensive season in Bears history. It would be a different story if Tucker was a personal disaster, a clueless, combustible coach who has turned off players. But all signs point to him being a well-intentioned, organized coordinator who was dealt a lousy hand. He never blamed, he never panicked. On the other hand, if a remodeled Bears defense is bad this year and the young players continue to fail at improving, would it have been better to fire Tucker early rather than fire late? That’s a question to consider next season. But the Bears just hope that Tucker has better players to work with next season. Fact or Fiction: Fired assistants Tim Tibesar and Mike Phair were scapegoats to cover up a much deeper coaching problem. [+] Enlarge Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesMike Phair, shown coaching Shea McClellin, won't return as Bears defensive line coach next year. Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. I realize that I just defended the Bears' decision to bring back Tucker for at least one more season, but almost every NFL coaching staff undergoes some turnover when either a team fails to qualify for the postseason or one side of the ball simply falls apart, as the Bears defense did in 2013. That is part of the business. The Bears’ front seven on defense was nothing short of a disaster last year. Subsequently, Phair and Tibesar paid the price. However, I do feel bad for Phair. He was genuinely well-liked and respected by most of the players in the locker room, but he was a holdover from Smith’s coaching staff, which probably made the decision to let him go a little easier, although secondary coach Jon Hoke (another former Smith hire) is expected to remain on the staff. I bet Phair finds another job in the NFL. Perhaps the Bears felt Phair just didn’t have enough juice in the defensive line meeting room to reach the players. But in Phair’s defense, there is only one Rod Marinelli. Seems kind of unfair to expect Phair to coach at Marinelli’s level at this stage of his career. Tibesar was a bad hire. I’m sure Tibesar is a fine collegiate and CFL coach, but he never connected with the Bears’ veteran linebackers. His lack of NFL experience/credibility hurt him almost from Day 1. Jon Greenberg: Fiction. Certainly, when two assistants are fired and the coordinator stays after a wildly disappointing season, it looks like scapegoating. Injuries to the defensive line and linebacking corps led to the season-long failures on defense, not coaching. But I’d surmise that Trestman saw coaching missteps as well. Playing for D.J. Williams and Briggs, rookie linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene didn’t improve enough by the end of the season. The defensive line was shredded early in the season, but even at full strength, the pass rush wasn’t there. It probably didn’t help that Phair was a holdover from the previous regime. I don’t think there’s a deeper coaching problem and it’s fair to say these firings were at least partially deserved.