Armstead & CFL-to-NFL differences

INDIANAPOLIS – One aspect that has made the Patriots’ offseason unique is the signing of two players from the Canadian Football League – defensive linemen Armond Armstead and Jason Vega.

When considering the main differences players from the CFL face in transitioning to the NFL, first-year Bears head coach Marc Trestman provides a unique perspective. Trestman spent the last five seasons as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes.

With Trestman leading off the head coaching/general manager news conferences Thursday at the NFL combine, ESPNBoston.com asked him the question.

“There are multiple differences [in the games]. Generally, the box is still the box and the blitzes you see in the CFL are the similar blitzes you see south of the border, but the field is wider,” Trestman said. “It’s intelligently creative, no doubt about it. It’s a three-down league. The defensive line is a yard off the ball and the field is a mile long and a mile wide. And obviously, we’re playing with 12 [players] with multiple motion, so it’s a different game, but it’s a terribly exciting game, a great game. It’s been around 100 years up there. They must be doing something right.”

As for players making the transition from the CFL to the NFL, Trestman offered this: “There are some players up there certainly that have shown they can play in the NFL, that’s been proven over time. There haven’t been many but the guys who have shown up down here did a pretty good job of fitting in. Players up there are very similar to the guys down here in terms of their character. They want to master their craft, they want to be the best they can be, and some of them have had the opportunity south of the border and have done well. These guys love football up there and have dreams of wanting to do it down here, and those who can, will give it a try. Those who can’t have experienced a lot of exciting football up there.”