Jay Rodgers is in his fifth year as the Chicago Bears defensive line coach after being hired by the franchise on January 25, 2015. Rodgers has 18 years coaching experience including nine seasons in the NFL.
Following the 2018 season, Rodgers was named Defensive Line Coach of the Year at the 2019 NFL Combine. Under Rodgers’ tutelage, DT Akiem Hicks earned his first career Pro Bowl nod after tallying 55 tackles, 7.5 sacks, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles and 12 TFLs. His 12 TFLs led the Bears while his 7.5 sacks placed second on the team. Since joining the Bears in 2016, Hicks is tied for third with Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward among NFL defensive tackles with 23.0 sacks, trailing only the Rams Aaron Donald (39.5) and the Bengals Geno Atkins (28.0).
In 2017, Rodgers’ line played a major role in the Bears defense accounting for 42 sacks and 277 sack yards, the highest such totals in his three seasons with the club. Akiem Hicks led the defense with a career-best 8.5 sacks and matched a career-best 54 tackles last season. Collectively, the Bears limited opponents to 108.1 rushing yards per game, which ranked 11th in the league. The Bears’ 10 rushing touchdowns allowed in 2017 ranked tied-ninth in the NFL and tied-third by a Bears defense over the past 10 seasons.
In 2016, the Bears defensive line showed improvement in their second season under Rodgers. Hicks again 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.
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). Over those three seasons (2012-14), the Broncos led the NFL in rushing defense (90.8 yards per game), allowing the fewest rushes of 10-or-more yards (99), and were fourth in the league with 134 sacks. During that time, Rodgers oversaw two Pro Bowl defensive ends: Elvis Dumervil (2012 season) and DeMarcus Ware (2014). The Broncos had a defensive lineman record a double-digit sack season all three years under Rodgers' leadership: Dumervil (11 in 2012), Shaun Phillips (10 in 2013) and Ware (10 in 2014). In 2014, the Broncos defense ranked second against the run (79.8 ypg), including permitting the second fewest runs of 10-or-more yards in the NFL (29). In his lone season with Denver in 2013 under Rodgers' tutelage, Shaun Phillips recorded the third highest sack total of his then 10-year career with 10 sacks. In his first year as Denver's defensive line coach, Rodgers helped the Broncos tie for the NFL lead with 52 sacks. Denver also finished third in the NFL that season in rushing defense (91.1 ypg) and second in rushing average allowed (3.61 ypc). Of Dumervil's 11 sacks that season, six were "strip-sacks" (forced-fumbles), the most in the NFL in 2012. 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.