New Bears coach Trestman eager to work with Cutler
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Marc Trestman had it all mapped out, right up to the Chicago Bears' championship parade. It was there on the calendar.
In his first interview for their head coaching job, he had every day for the next 13 months filled in, detailing step by step how the Bears would get to the Super Bowl.
"He had every day accounted for, every time slot accounted for, every meeting accounted for," general manager Phil Emery said.
"Not only that, but he had included the provisions of our (collective bargaining agreement) in the states, which takes a nuclear scientist to figure out exactly what you can do. He had called so many people, his friends in the league, he knew all the parameters of the CBA."
Now that he's been hired, Trestman can implement his plan.
He said the Bears' job is one of the best in sports and he can't wait to work with quarterback Jay Cutler.
"This is clearly a franchise that has the highest expectations for its team, where winning consistently is a standard," Trestman said Thursday at his introductory news conference.
He wasn't trying to be presumptuous or make any championship guarantees with that calendar. He was simply trying to make a point.
"It's a symbolic word, but the goal is the parade, right?" Trestman said. "How are we going to get there? If you don't know where you're going, how can you plan how to get there? That was my point to Phil. We have to fill in each day because they're all important to getting to that point."
He sees a big opportunity in working with Cutler, a strong-armed and mobile quarterback whose talent has never been in question even as the results haven't always reflected that.
"I can't wait to get my hands on him," he said.
Getting the most out of Cutler would go a long way toward invigorating a stagnant offense and getting the Bears to the playoffs on a consistent basis after they missed the postseason for the fifth time in six years. Those issues led to Lovie Smith's firing, and the Bears turned to Trestman this week after an extensive search.
He spent the past five seasons coaching the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, leading them to two championships, and was a longtime NFL assistant who was known for his work with quarterbacks.
"Marc has a quietness to him, a quiet confidence, high level of intellect, those are attractive qualities," Emery said. "The thing that was most remarkable that came out of his interviews and when discussing to people who Marc is was there is a heck of a football coach under all that quietness and confidence and intellect.
"Do not underestimate Marc Trestman as a competitor. He's as tough-minded and football-oriented than anybody I've been around in 31 years in this game."
Emery confirmed Trestman beat out offensive coordinators Bruce Arians of Indianapolis and Seattle's Darrell Bevell for the job. All three were brought back for second interviews, and Bevell was the first eliminated from that group because he lacked head coaching experience.
Emery cited Trestman's flexibility and success at various stops in the NFL and CFL.
He was an offensive coordinator with Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland. He worked with Bernie Kosar as an assistant at the University of Miami and again when he was on the Browns' staff in the 1980s. Trestman helped the Raiders reach the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season with an offense he geared for Rich Gannon, the league's MVP that year.
One of Trestman's most immediate tasks will be to build a connection with Cutler. They actually spent time together for a few days in North Carolina when the quarterback was coming out of Vanderbilt in 2006.
Trestman, who in recent years worked as an NFL consultant and helped QBs entering the league, was asked about that.
"I had the chance to meet with Jay 10 years ago in a hotel room in Raleigh, N.C.," he said. "It was raining. We had no facility, we had no receivers. So we basically sat in a room for two days and stared at each other. It was a difficult environment to try to get the most out of somebody. When I sat with him, I found out he had some very core capabilities. He was tough, he was smart, and he loved football. I had the opportunity to meet with him a couple days ago. He's a different guy. He's in tune to where he is and where he wants to go."
Does he see Cutler as a franchise quarterback? Trestman sidestepped the question.
He said Cutler "loves football" and "wants to do everything he can to help this franchise." He added they'll work with a "sense of urgency to get him to be the guy that he wants to be and we want him to be." But he did not use that term -- franchise quarterback.
"He wants Jay to earn that in his eyes," said Emery, who has called Cutler a franchise QB. "That's OK, I'm good with that."
Cutler has one year left on his contract, and the Bears have to decide if he can lead them to the top. Since he arrived in Chicago in 2009, he's taken a beating behind a struggling offensive line and lacked a go-to receiver until Brandon Marshall arrived this season.
He'll also be working in his fourth system with the Bears, with Trestman calling the plays and Aaron Kromer hired from New Orleans to replace Mike Tice as offensive coordinator and serve as line coach.
The Bears also brought in Joe DeCamillis from Dallas to replace Dave Toub as special teams coordinator. Now, they're looking for a new defensive coordinator to replace Rod Marinelli after he decided not to return.
They also announced Thursday night that they were letting Tice, Bob Babich (linebackers), Jeremy Bates (quarterbacks), Mike DeBord (tight ends), Darryl Drake (receivers), Tim Holt (offensive line) and Tim Spencer (running backs) go.
On defense, it's not clear if the Bears will switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 formation. Trestman is open to change, but he also realizes the Bears' defense ranked among the league's best this past season.
"They have excellent football players and they've been well-coached," Trestman said. "I don't know the personnel on our football team right now. So to answer the question is premature. If you ask me 3-4 months from now, I'll be in a much better position to answer that question."
Another issue on defense: Brian Urlacher's future. The eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker has an expiring contract and missed the last four games with a hamstring injury after being limited by a knee problem.
"This guy's been a great player for this team," Trestman said. "I recognize, certainly, what he's meant to this locker room and to the fan base of Chicago. When we get done here, we'll begin to try to answer some of those questions."
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