Life, the Universe and a Head Coaching Change and Other Points of View
- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times comments on new Bears head coach Marc Trestman (before the hire):
“There are big-room coaches and little-room coaches, or at least that is how they are referred to in some NFL circles. Little-room coaches are effective communicating with smaller groups of players and excel as position coaches and coordinators. The fear when hiring someone without previous head coaching experience is they will lack the charisma to motivate the entire team.
“While Trestman and [Bruce] Arians have proven they can do that, making them safer bets…”
- I thought former 49ers quarterback Steve Young‘s comments on Trestman via Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times were interesting:
“Can he work his magic with [quarterback Jay] Cutler, who despite his athletic ability has been a tough nut to crack for NFL coaches.
“‘There’s no question about that,’ Young said. ‘That’s why I’m so happy they’re looking at Marc, for many reasons. Marc’s capable of doing much more, but one of the things that he can really do is break down the quarterback and build him back up.
“Now the real question is, do you have a willing participant? Because there’s a lot of great athletes in the NFL and one of the things that keeps them from I think getting to their full potential is this idea that, ‘I’m such a great athlete that I just go out and play. I’m that good.’
“‘And some of them are that good, but they never reach their full potential unless they go to school. And especially at quarterback. So if you have a willing participant in Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman, you could make some good music.'”
- On a related note, I’d say these comments from former Raider quarterback Rich Gannon, who also played under Trestman, bode well. Via Brad Biggs and Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune:
“‘One thing about him that is a strength is his ability to listen,’ Gannon said. ‘He takes feedback. Marc has always been the type of guy who can sit down with you and talk about things. What do you like about this? What don’t you like? His feedback is excellent. And he has an ability to be honest with you. Somebody needs to be honest with Jay Cutler.'”
- From an interview with former Bear and Alouette, Garrett Wolfe on the Mully and Hanley Show, WSCR Chicago. Via the Tribune:
“In the CFL, players are also only allowed to be at work for four hours a day, so Wolfe said Trestman has learned to be much more efficient. He ‘had to maximize every bit of time. So his time management will be amazing.'”
- You can search everywhere on the Internet and never find more insight into people like Trestman than you’ll find right here in Chicago from Dan Pompei. We’re lucky to have him. This was an outstanding profile on Trstman.
- Lynn Zynser at The New York Times wasn’t a fan of the Bears hire:
“You get a sense the Bears knew this hire would not go over so well when they issued the news release at 4:07 a.m. Wednesday. That’s because their man hadn’t coached in the N.F.L. since 2005, having traded in a rather bumpy ride through some quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator jobs for coaching the C.F.L.’s Montreal Alouettes. Clearly the Bears wanted a guru who would unlock the mystery of quarterback Jay Cutler, and for some reason they believed he was hiding in Canada for the past five years.”
Not to worry. Zynser hated almost all of the other ones as well.
- Barry Rozner at the Daily Herald doesn’t believe general manager Phil Emery should have been rushed through the coaching interview process. I agree. Frankly, I think the people who were critical of Emery here are idiots. The only valid point to be made is that you generally don’t fire a guy unless you know you have someone better already in mind to replace him, in which case you go get that guy immediately. Its entirely possible that he had his guy(s) in mind but was doing what scouts do – being extremely thorough and exploring all avenues before making a decision, as suggested by this tweet from ESPN‘s Adam Schefter:
“Two HC candidates that interviewed with Chicago said they never have interviewed with anyone as prepared and detailed as Bears GM Phil Emery”
In line with that, here’s what former Bears special team coordinator Dave Toub said about his interview for the job via Biggs::
“Toub described his interview with Emery for the head job as ‘intense.’ He was appreciative to be considered.
“‘It was very thorough,’ he said. ‘He is what everyone thinks he is. He is a very thorough information gatherer. I know I was in there for three hours with him. It was pretty much straight through. We took a five-minute break. It was him and I question-and-answer for three hours and it went by quick. By the time we were done, I said, ‘Wow.’ It was impressive. Very thorough. Covered everything. There wasn’t anything we didn’t cover.'”
And who the heck has a problem with that?
- Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune asks the key question:
“How did an offense that gave Cutler a lot of what he wanted end up worse than ever?
“Cutler not only gained old friend [Jeremy] Bates as a personal quarterback wrangler, but also escaped the seeming death march of offensive coordinator Mike Martz and was reunited with Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall.
“And the Bears offense scored three touchdowns in a game once in the last two months of the season.”
“Maybe that was the big question in the interview process and maybe Trestman answered it better than Bruce Arians and Darell Bevell.
“Even if it wasn’t asked and answered, that in fact is the big question. The only question.
“Why did the Bears offense get worse?”
- Looks like Brandon Marshall is had some minor surgery. From the Sun-Times.
- Matt Bowen at the Chicago Tribune emphasizes the need for a tight end in the new offense in giving his thoughts on the Bears new head coach:
“Running a team and calling plays at the NFL level are two different things. I get it. You should to. But what the Bears have right now in Trestman is a start to developing a big boy offense around their quarterback.
“That sells in January.”
“What separates him from Martz is his flexibility. Having passed the Florida bar in 1983, he is a lawyer, a mediator. He won’t shoehorn Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall into an offense just because it’s what he knows best. He found ways for slow-footed Bernie Kosar, uber-athletic Steve Young and aging Rich Gannon to succeed despite their divergent skill sets.”
“This is what Trestman is going to do.
“He is going to break down Cutler, take him back to the beginning. Strip all the layers of paint. Sandpaper away the roughness.
“Then he is going to build him back up again, one fundamental at a time.”
“We’ve seen this approach with Cutler before. It was taken by Mike Martz, another outstanding quarterbacks coach and offensive mind. Trestman reminds me of him in some ways.
“But there are some differences. Trestman is more flexible in his approach. And he is more likely to demand that his protections make his quarterbacks look good as opposed to vice versa.
“From where we sit now, we can say Martz and Cutler never were a good match. Martz’s system calls for his quarterback get rid of the ball quickly and on time and that he do precisely what the play sent in from the sideline calls for him to do.
“That’s not Cutler. Or at least it has not been Cutler.
“Trestman probably cannot make Cutler something he never has been, but he can minimize his weaknesses and accentuate his strengths.”
Which brings us to Steve Rosenbloom and his comments on the Bears offense under Trestman:
“Moving right along, there is one more reason for Cutler to buy in to Trestman’s ideas — one more reason that ought to be part of Trestman’s sales pitch:
“You don’t need a great offensive line if the ball comes out quickly.”
As Pompei points out, that’s not even a question. The question is whether Cutler is capable of getting it out quickly. He’s hasn’t shown the ability to do that and he probbly never will (though trust in his receivers would certainly help).
What we may be about to witness is a facinating tug of war between Trestman’s ideals and Cutler’s ability to meet them. Pompei suggests that Cutler can’t and I tend to agree. But has Marc Trestman come to that conclusion? I would suggest that he has.
According to Potash the Alouettes improved from a CFL-worst 68 sacks allowed to a CFL-best 22 with the same offensive line in 2008, Trestman’s first year as head coach. But he did that by having quarterback Anthony Calvillo go to the short passing game, getting the ball out quicker. Indications are he’s taking a different tack with the Bears as he has stressed that the Bears offensive line has to get better. From Biggs:
“Often described as a quarterback guru, Trestman laid out his goals to make Cutler an efficient passer and was emphatic that can happen only if he has adequate protection.”
Bottom line, I think that Trestman has a good idea of what he’s dealing with in Cutler. Its encouraging that he still thinks he can use his skill set to get the best ou t of him. Here’s hoping Emery manages to put together a line that can rise to the occasion and allow that to happen.
- Trestman on whether Cutler is a franchise quarterback:
“‘Jay Cutler is a guy who loves football. Jay Cutler is a guy who’s willing to learn,’ Trestman said. ‘Jay Cutler, to me in my very short time with him, wants to do everything he can to help this franchise and please our amazing fans.
“‘That’s where we’re going to start. We’re going to work one day at a time in a proactive way with a sense of urgency to get him to be the guy that he wants to be and we want him to be.'”
That’s not a “yes”.
- Trestman was asked whether he would promote defensive backs coach Jon Hoke to defensive coordinator. It’s not that Trestman was a lot more informative than former head coach Lovie Smith. But straight forward answers like this explaining why he’s not being more informative will get him pretty far. Via Jahns:
“‘I’m going to go in here and sit down with [general manager] Phil [Emery] and talk about where we are with our staff,’ Trestman said. ‘Things could have changed over the last few days. I’m willing to talk about that a little bit down the road. But I don’t want to put myself or our organization’s position [out there] until we sit down and discuss where the coaching situation is, because things change so fast in the National Football League at this time of year.'”
- Rex W. Huppke at the Chicago Tribune thinks Tressman is a Canadian spy.
- The Sports Pickle brings you the Bears head coach employment application. Here’s the first portion:
- Pompei’s weekly power rankings look about right to me. I’d love a 49ers-Patriots Super Bowl and I’ve a sneaking suspicion that’s what we’re going to get.
- Bowen explains at least one big key to the Falcons if they want to beat the 49ers:
“Both defensive ends, John Abraham (RE) and Kroy Biermann (LE), must rush with contain principles to keep [quarterback Colin] Kaepernick in the pocket. If the Falcons allow Kaepernick to escape the pocket, or step through open rush lanes, the quarterback has the open-field ability to pick up an explosive gain on the ground.”
- Here’s an Audible from Pro Football Weekly that has the ring of truth:
“If you think back to all the New England teams that won Super Bowls, the trademark was vigilante leadership. It was Mike Vrabel, Tom Brady, Rodney Harrison, Larry Izzo, Richard Seymour. They did not have the most talented teams when they were winning Super Bowls early on — but if there were any issues or problems that came up in the locker room, they were policed on their own. It is such a key ingredient to winning football.”
- Former Bears and current Ravens safety Corey Graham probably didn’t mean this as a swipe at former Bears head coach Lovie Smith. But it is. Via Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Coach [John] Harbaugh gives guys a chance to come out and play. He told me before I signed here that if I deserved to play I would. He is a man of his word. He has given me the opportunity to play and that is all I’ve asked for.'”
- I’d say this quote via the Chicago Tribune pretty much tells the story of the 49ers-Packers game:
“Put simply by Packers receiver Greg Jennings: ‘We lost to a better team today.'”
Just as the Packers were simply the better team when they played the Bears this season. The Bears have a long way to go.
Having said that, I think ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert had an interesting point of view on this game:
“In the end, I’m not sure whether there would have been a schematic solution to counter [49ers quarterback Colin] Kaepernick on this night. We saw a breakout performance on a national scale. But by most accounts, the Packers didn’t look hard enough for an answer. The Packers played as if they were waiting for their game plan to kick in rather than trashing it once it became clear it had failed.
“Several players implied as much in the postgame locker room, and no one was more blunt than defensive back Charles Woodson.
“‘We didn’t make any adjustments,’ said Woodson, who later added: ‘I just think when the game is going the way it is, you’ve got to try something different. It’s hard to just continue to do the same thing over and over again, and continue to get burned. … We need to figure out: Could we have done something differently as far as our game plan was concerned?’ “
“Woodson said the Packers are playing ‘the right defense’ but consistently qualified his comments by noting a lack of adjustments. At halftime, Woodson said, the Packers talked only about ‘trying to execute the defense we were running.’ In the end, Woodson said, ‘If it works, then it works. If it doesn’t, then maybe you change.’ “
I’m going to cut defensive coordinator Dom Capers a little bit of slack on this one. A spy helps but the key to beating a mobile quarterback has always seemed to me to be a disciplined pass rush that leaves him no running lanes to escape. Admittedly the Packers aren’t built that way and admittedly you have to be well-coached to do it so to some extent it does still come back to Capers. But having said that, Xs and Os-wise doing the same thing better may not have been the wrong answer here.
- Pompei really puts his finger on the problem for the 49ers:
“As good as the 49ers have been this season, they have not won three in a row. They will need to win a third straight game to get to the Super Bowl.”
Lovie Smith took a lot of heat as Bears head coach as well he should. But his even manner led to an amazing degree of consistency in the performance of his team. Fortyniners head coach Jim Harbaugh, on the other hand, is very emotional leading to up and down performances from the 49ers. The 49ers are, in my opinion, the best team left in the playoffs. But can a guy like Harbaugh keep a team high enough to put together enough victories to win a Super Bowl? We’re about to find out…
- I thought this was an interesting tidbit from The National Football Post‘s Friday Buzz section:
“At one point Mike McCoy was seen as the hottest head coaching candidate, and the frontrunner in both Arizona and Chicago. But both teams backed off of McCoy, who ended up Chargers head coach. What happened? Our sources say he did not interview as well as other candidates.”
- And another thought from the same source that Bears fans will be interested in:
“New Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub will be allowed to work with defensive linemen in practice, which he also did when he worked for Andy Reid in Philadelphia. That could diversify his resume and put him on a fast track for a head coaching job. John Harbaugh also was Reid’s special teams coach before being allowed to work with defensive backs. A year after that, he became head coach of the Ravens.”
- ProFootballMock.com continues to bring you the quarterbacks on Facebook, post divisional round edition.
- Vikings runningback Adrian Peterson has taken a unique approach to the coming 2013 season. From The Onion.
- The Sports Pickle brings us the Eagles head coaching employment application. Here’s a good section:
One Final Thought
I thought the fact that Trestman’s teams in the CFL made the playoffs all five years he was there was impressive. Then I read this from the Chicago Tribune:
“There are eight teams in the CFL, divided into two divisions. Six teams make the playoffs.”
Way to kill my buzz, man.
That aside, there was a lot of talk about Trestman as an intellectual before he was hired. I heard him compared to guys like former Bears head coach Dick Jauron and, in some quarters, even Smith and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. In listening to his press conference, I can say that Trestman doesn’t sound anything like any of those guys. I distinctly remember Jauron looking nervous and afraid to even open his lips at his introductory press conference. Belichick and Smith never say anything if they can help it.
No, Trestman is a talker. Not that he actually said all that much but its evident that he’s not at all afraid to show his enthusiasm for the game and for the process of getting better to compete in it. Indeed, the person that Trestman most reminded me of was Phil Emery. Which is probably why he was hired. Mike Mulligan at the Chicago Tribune would seem to agree:
“[L]istening to Emery during a surprisingly introspective introduction of Trestman at Thursday’s news conference, one thing became immediately clear: The general manager sees something of himself in his new coach.”
I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not because I don’t know enough about Emery yet to make that judgment, much less Trestman.
Only one thing is certain. A new era has definitely started around here and I’m both excited and grateful. I suppose its an indication of my maturity as a fan when I say that I’m not too worried about whether it works or not. The important thing is that my life – all of our lives – just got a lot more interesting.
I can’t wait to see what happens.