After 3 wins, it finally happened; the Chicago Bears and New Head Coach Marc Trestman lost for the 1st time this season and as an NFL HC respectively.
Up to this point just about everyone in the media and many fans have seen nothing but Navy Blue, Orange and White sunshine, rainbows and butterflies doing the Super Bowl Shuffle…
The reality is: no NFL team is perfect. Only one team in the Super Bowl era has ever gone undefeated, with two others going 18-1 (the 2007 New England Patriots who won their first 18 games then lost in the SB and the other was a certain team from a certain city whose name starts with a “C” and ends with an “o” and in the middle is “hicag” whose only loss in 1985 was to the Miami Dolphins before going on to win the SB…Da Bears!).
Leading up to the game [Marc] Trestman repeatedly stated:
We’re not 3-0; we’re 0-0 and this is game 1 of 13. We’re not guaranteed anything.
Each game is its own entity and it is important to realize that success or failure one week does not constitute success or failure the next week. It is a good perspective to have during any given week.
In my first review of the new Bears Coach, I mentioned that successful coaching was about developing relationships; DT Henry Melton tore his ACL last week during the game against Pittsburgh; Melton didn’t want help and drove himself home; Trestman called and texted Melton to make sure he was okay and that he was able to get home safely. The next day Trestman met Melton and Melton’s mother at the Bears facilities and the three of them met with team doctors. When asked about it, Trestman’s comments reflected that he (Trestman) needed to be there for one of his players, and it didn’t matter if it was the number 1 guy or the 53rd guy.
That says a lot about the man Trestman is.
He cares about his players as men, and not just as objects.
Now, on to the Lions game.
I thought the play calling on the first drive of the game was good. The Bears drove down the field and scored points. I also loved seeing RB Matt Forte and WR Alshon Jeffery for that matter run outside the tackle box. I don’t think the Bears have utilized this aspect of their offense enough; I understand running up the middle but in my eyes, Forte is excellent in space, working the outside of the tackles.
The biggest issue I had with the game was the 3rd down play calling. I did not think it was very creative and it seemed like the Bears were content with punting and moving on to the next series. I’m sure personnel and match-ups were a part of the issue, as bad on 3rd downs as the Bears were (1-13), the Lions were not much better, only 2-10), but the Lions had quite a few 1st and 2nd down conversions. That is unacceptable if the Bears want to win, let alone be competitive in future contests.
The game versus the Detroit Lions was a good test to see where the Bears are at so far. It was a tough game against a talented team, on the road in a very hostile environment. It is extremely difficult to win in the NFL under those conditions.
Immediately after the game, Trestman sounded disappointed but talked about “finding out about ourselves as a team”. He seemed more interested in figuring out what went wrong and correcting those things as well as figuring out what worked and how to continue to capitalize on those things. By all accounts he stayed even keel throughout the game and has been pretty positive in the two press conferences he has given since the game got over, in fact I would say he has been almost jovial.
I think this weeks game versus the Saints will be an even better test for this team and the mettle of Coach Trestman.
Here is a story from the Chicago Sun-Times that discusses a loss that Trestman’s Alouettes team suffered in his 1st year as HC in Canada. It is a pretty interesting read and it correlates perfectly to this particular situation.
(Begin Personal Story)
Last season I had an athlete who was very talented; one of the best in the state in the men’s shot put. One of his goals for the season was to come in 1st every time he competed. He absolutely had the ability to do it. At the beginning of the season, he didn’t work quite as earnestly as I wanted and was a little lackadaisical in his training. He won his 1st contest pretty easily. He lost his next contest and ultimately 3 other times (he had 8 wins and 4 “losses”). As a coach, I used the times he “lost” as learning opportunities; did he have a good week of practice? Did he warm up properly? Did he underestimate his opponent? Where was he at mentally and physically? What can we do to help him prepare for the next contest? We used each contest to build towards the ultimate goal of winning a State Championship in the shot put and it worked. On the way to the championship, my athlete had to experience a few “set backs” in order to get where he ultimately wanted to be. One of his worst losses came against many of the athletes he would be competing against at the State Meet a few weeks later; he was embarrassed with his performance and ended up winning his next 4 contests going away.
(End Personal Story)
My point is this: a loss like this in the early part of the season might be the best thing that happens to the Bears; it has shown them where they have some major weaknesses and it showed them that they are a team that does not give up; they keep fighting to the very end. I am glad this game happened at this point of the season and not down the stretch when the team is trying to make the playoffs.
I think that says a lot about the team and the man whose task is to guide the team.
Throughout the game, I never got the feeling that things were too far gone, I never felt that the game was out of reach. When the Bears scored the 1st TD in the 4Q and then hit the 2pt conversion, then promptly forced a fumble, scored another TD and converted for another 2pts, I honestly expected the Bears to actually recover the onside kick, score another TD and convert for 2pts to tie the game. I think many of the players felt the same way.
Trestman is a teacher and has assembled a staff of teachers. Good teachers are always looking for teachable moments.
It starts and ends with Trestman.