History tells us that first year head coaches don’t always do all that well. In recent Chicago Bears history, that is definitely the case, as the Chicago Tribune’s Fred Mitchell recounted including these guys who have coached over the last 30 years:
Lovie Smith 5-11
Dick Jauron 6-10
Dave Wannstedt 7-9
Mike Ditka 3-6
Yes, even Da Beloved Coach Ditka started off with a losing record. In fact, the last winning Chicago Bears first year head coach was Paddy Driscoll, who finished 9-2-1 way back in 1956.
History be damned, suggest at least of couple of NFL.com experts, who set out to predict which first year head coach would have the most success in their first year with their team.
Here’s Ian Rappaport’s view:
Trestman has the luxury of taking over a 10-win team in Chicago
I actually think several teams with new coaches are in prime position to make the playoffs. In fact, I could see three or four of them making such a quick turnaround. But the team with the best chance is Chicago.
The Bears won 10 games last year and should’ve cruised into the playoffs. They return a quarterback in Jay Cutler who is only going to get better. Everyone I talk to about Marc Trestman says the coach simply won’t stop until he has stellar quarterback play, and his play-calling helps. Free agency made the offensive line better — and so did the draft, with the addition of Kyle Long. And the defense is probably more athletic, with highly respected coordinator Mel Tucker taking the reins. Tough to see this team doing anything but improving.
Gregg Rosenthal agrees:
Trestman has the best quarterback, and thus, the best postseason potential
A famous man once said, “Look to the cookie.” In the NFL, you should always look to the quarterback.
The new coach with the best QB on this list is undoubtedly Bears boss Marc Trestman, who inherited Jay Cutler. Trestman’s also the coach on this list who took over the team with the best 2012 record (10-6). The Bears improved their offensive line, not only through key personnel acquisitions, but also in a coaching sense, with Aaron Kromer coming from New Orleans. Chicago is set up to contend.
Raise your hand if you thought that anyone would use Jay Cutler as a reason for Trestman’s success. Isn’t it the other way around? Isn’t Trestman supposed to have the impact on Cutler’s success?
Andy Reid, a grizzled veteran head coach but in his first year with the Kansas City Chiefs, also got a couple of votes. As a total newcomer to the NFL head coaching fraternity, predictions for Trestman are all that more impressive. Then again, not many first year head coaches have the luxury of joining a winning team, like Trestman has inheriting the 10-6 Bears.
What do YOU think? Can Trestman guide the Bears to a winning record or dare we suggest the playoffs?