Marc Trestman has demonstrated excellence wherever he’s gone. In his 17 seasons in the NFL, his teams reached the postseason eight of seventeen seasons while reaching two conference championships and one Super Bowl. Since leaving the NFL, his Montreal Alouttes have sort of become the New England Patriots of the CFL, reaching the playoffs in all five seasons, including two Grey Cups. The bar is set high for the new Chicago Bears coach and GM Phil Emery.
In today’s NFL, this could very well be Emery’s one head coaching hire. By all accounts, the process was handled very diligently and professionally, as Emery went on a ‘deep dive’ to arrive at Trestman. When he told us that ‘no would was excluded’ he wasn’t kidding. He scoured North America to find Trestman. Now, Emery has hitched his wagon to Trestman, the quarterback whisperer. He decided to forego a proven candidate in Arians and took a pass on one of the “hot young coordinators” in Bevell, while skipping over other candidates like Mike McCoy and Mike Sullivan en route to selecting a career NFL assistant turned Canadian League version of Bill Belichick.
Some view this hire as a swing for the fences and I tend to agree. Emery didn’t go for the safe choice (Arians) or the popular choice (Bevell or McCoy), he went with the outside the box choice that he believes is right for the Bears. He used his meticulous scout’s eye to vet the candidates and find the one that he thought could fix what’s broken on the Bears. Trestman is the ‘offensive genius’ who studied at the hand of Bill Walsh but hasn’t stuck anywhere for an extended period of time and wasn’t able to get an NFL head coaching gig despite years of success as an offensive coordinator.
In my view, this will be a boom or bust hire. Trestman will either be a remarkable success or a colossal failure. I don’t see this team being a ho-hum 7-9 or 8-8 team. He’s either going to lead the Bears to double digit wins or bottom out to 3 or 4 win seasons. If he “owns the room” and gets buy-in and his 9o’s offensive system translates into today’s NFL and there’s enough left in the tank for the aging defense, this team could be special. They’ll have to be.
Trestman inherits a Bears team that came off a 10-6 season, just missing the playoffs. Unlike many new head coaching situations, like Andy Reid in Kansas City, this isn’t a team with a losing record that has only one place to go – up. The expectation for Trestman is to keep the Bears at a winning level and take them to the next level on a consistent basis.
His primary objective will be to take the Bears offense, which was ranked in the top half of the NFL just once in Lovie Smith’s tenure, and turn them around. That will start with Jay Cutler.
Cutler has been an enigma since he’s arrived in Chicago. His talent and abilities are unquestioned – the big arm, the gunslinger mentality – but he hasn’t been able to put it together. We can blame a poor line or a lack of weapons or the proper offensive scheme or what’s going on between Jay’s ears, but at the end of the day, Cutler hasn’t been good enough.
Trestman has an impressive list of quarterbacks he’s developed on his resume, making everyone on the list better.
Trestman was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1995 when the 49ers led the NFL with 457 points and 4,779 passing yards. He worked closely with a pair of Hall of Famers in Steve Young, who threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns; and Jerry Rice, who caught 122 passes for an NFL-record 1,848 yards and 15 TDs.
Trestman was Arizona’s offensive coordinator in 1998 when Jake Plummer passed for 3,737 yards and the Cardinals won their first playoff game since 1947 when they were the Chicago Cardinals.
As Raiders offensive coordinator in 2002, Trestman helped quarterback Rich Gannon earn NFL MVP honors after completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 4,689 yards with 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 97.3 passer rating that’s well above his 84.7 career mark.
If this coaching search has shown us anything, it’s that Emery and the Bears recognize that it’s time to harness the powers of Cutler and transform him into a Super Bowl quarterback or die trying. The bar is set high for the 2013 Bears. Can Emery and Trestman meet or exceed the 2012 Bears record? What do you think of the hire? Let’s hear from you in the Comments.
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