Published on February 4th, 2013 | by Brian Neal0
POLL: A Breath of Fresh Air for the Bears
Brian Neal, Assistant Sports Editor
In Lovie Smith’s nine years (2004-2012) as the Chicago Bears head coach, the offense ranked as follows: 32nd, 29th, 15th, 27th, 26th, 23rd, 30th, 24th and 28th. While he did seem to get the most out of a team that was usually lacking talent (thank you, Jerry Angelo) and his defense was always very good, one thing was certain: he couldn’t fix the offense. And ever more apparent was that it was time for a change at Halas Hall.
This change that’s happening isn’t just about players and coaches. No, it’s about culture. The culture of the Chicago Bears has always been about defense, toughness and grit. Those things are great, and don’t get me wrong, Monsters of the Midway is a wonderful nickname. But those characteristics of the team don’t win games by themselves anymore in today’s NFL. You have to be able to score points and keep up with the great teams in this league, and that means offense.
The new hiring of Marc Trestman as the Bears’ 14th head coach is exactly that. He brings an entirely different aura than that of Smith. Not only has the head coach position changed, but nearly the entire staff has been replaced.
The Bears have brought Aaron Kromer from the New Orleans Saints to be the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. The new defensive coordinator is Mel Tucker from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Joe DeCamillis from the Dallas Cowboys is the new special teams coordinator and assistant head coach.
Obviously, though, the most important hiring was Trestman’s. For the past five years, he has been the coach of the Montreal Alouettes, but before that, he was an offensive coordinator or positions coach for 17 years in the NFL. He’s known for his ability to call plays on offense and develop quarterbacks.
He was with Steve Young in San Francisco as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator when the 49ers won their fifth Super Bowl in 1995.
Trestman was also the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 when he helped Rich Gannon win the NFL MVP Award and make it to the Super Bowl.
Both Young and Gannon have recently praised and endorsed Trestman for a head coaching position.
“Marc was still a young coach (when he worked in San Francisco). I thought he was a phenomenal coach,” Young said on ESPN 1000’s “The Waddle and Silvy Show.” “What he is is a phenomenal offensive mind. He’s a great game-day play caller. I had Mike Holmgren, I had Mike Shanahan and Marc Trestman, and I would put Marc right in there. He’s learned and grown, and I stay in touch with him.”
“He’s very innovative. He’s a terrific playcaller,” Gannon said, also on “The Waddle & Silvy Show.” “He sees the game through the eyes of the quarterback. He played the position; he’s coached the position. He’s really an expert in that area.”
Based on his track record in the NFL, Trestman definitely backs up those compliments. Most recently, in the Canadian Football League, he turned a quarterback that had been pretty good for 15 years into a star.
In 2007, Alouettes’ quarterback Anthony Calvillo threw for 3,608 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. That’s a respectable stat line, but here are his numbers the next season, which was Trestman’s first year as head coach and play-caller in Montreal: 5,633 yards, 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Over 2,000 more yards and 26 more touchdowns is, frankly, ridiculous, and he was able to do that with a quarterback that had learned to play the position and do things a certain way for 15 years in the CFL.
Trestman comes into a similar situation with Jay Cutler as his growth as a quarterback has been severely stunted with the Bears the past four years. If anyone can reignite Cutler’s career and get him on the pace he was while progressing in Denver, it has to be Marc Trestman.
While all the pieces aren’t there yet, if Emery continues to make good decisions and bring in the right personnel, Trestman could very well have the opportunity to finally turn this so-called Monsters of the Midway’s offense into something that actually scares other teams.