The Chicago Bears named Marc Trestman coach this week.
The more I think about it, the more I like this hire.
The NFL has changed in the last ten years. It is no longer a league predicated on stifling defense, although having one helps considerably. The league now demands scoring at a high clip. The four remaining teams in the playoffs, the Ravens, Patriots, 49ers and Falcons are all capable of putting up 30+ points and 500+ yards per game easily. They put the ball in the air. They pass to set up the run. Defense is almost an afterthought. Scoring is the new fashion.
With all respect to Lovie Smith, he never understood this change. His mantra was takeaways, and having the defense score points, maybe get a special teams score, while hoping the offense didn't turn the ball over and cost the Beloved the game. It's an archaic philosophy where everything has to go right for the team to win, and for the Bears to make the playoffs. Very little went right the last few years. His idiotic way of looking at the season in quarters was just dumb. I am glad he and his condescending ways have left town. By the way, if any of you are apologists for Lovie, did he get another head coaching job? I hear crickets...
GM Phil Emery made the correct decision to part company with Smith this offseason. After careful searching, he settled on Marc Trestman. Trestman has had success in the Canadian Football League. That's great. But what catches my eye is that he is a quarterback guru who gets the best out of every QB he coaches. He got maximum results from not only stars like Steve Young, but also Rich Gannon, who had his career years after being a journeyman before Trestman. He helped make Bernie Kosar a serviceable quarterback.
Trestman's latest, and most important job, is to save Jay Cutler.
Point blank, Cutler was viewed as being a franchise quarterback when the Bears traded for him four years ago. While being the best QB in my lifetime for the Bears, at least talent-wise, he has been a disappointment. Middling numbers. Mind-boggling sour puss. Appearing to be uncoachable. Whining to get the guys he wants around him (Jeremy Bates) and then still not getting results. If you watch the NFL, you know a QB goes through his progressions and makes snap decisions. Jay's only decision is to find Brandon Marshall and ignore every other receiver. That's not a progression. That's madness, even though Marshall is a stud, and the best receiver the Bears have ever had in their history. Someone needs to tell Cutler "NO." Now. You don't get what you want anymore. As my astute brother Ryan cays of Cutler, "you don't get the keys to the Cadillac just because you have a good arm."
If Trestman can teach Cutler, while Emery finds some linemen who can keep him off his back, also adding a quality wide receiver, the Bears can make it back to the playoffs in Trestman's first year. Imagine a dream scenario where Emery is able to add Mike Wallace at wide receiver and Jake Long at tackle...ah, Jake Long...probably a pipe dream, but a fool can dream, can't he?
I'd like to see a changed Cutler. He's 30 now. He's a dad. Maybe there will be a maturation process. I am going on a limb here: his physical talent would put him in the top ten of NFL quarterbacks. I really believe that. He needs work on his mechanics. He needs more work on his head. But he could blow people away if he figures it out. I don't know if he will. But this is also a contract year...what better time to realize some humility and maturity, grow up, get coached, and throw for 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns? Why not? What he's doing is not good enough, and with his talent, he shouldn't accept a middling performance. It's depressing. He simply has to be better.
There will be changes. The new regime should part company with Brian Urlacher. He has clearly lost a step and his competitive fire has changed...he also didn't do himself any favors when he bashed fans for booing, which is their right, quite honestly, especially when you're 7-1 and MISS the playoffs. There are still good pieces for the defense in Peanut Tillman, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers and a year under the belt of Shea McClellin. This team can win...if Trestman can reach Cutler.