Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young considers Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman the most capable of the finalists for the Chicago Bears head coaching position, and he believes Trestman has the best chance at helping Jay Cutler reach his full potential.
And at least one of the candidates the Bears interviewed before reportedly narrowing the finalists to Bruce Arians, Darrell Bevell and Trestman, agrees with Young.
But the question Young posed Tuesday during "The Waddle and Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 was whether "you have a willing participant" in Cutler, who will be playing for his second head coach and likely his fourth offensive coordinator since joining the Bears in 2009.
"There's a lot of great athletes in the NFL, and one of the things that keeps them from getting to their full potential is this idea that ?I'm such a great athlete, I just go out there and play. I'm that good,'" said Young, who worked with Trestman in San Francisco from 1995-96. "Some of them are that good, but never reach their full potential unless they go to school, especially quarterbacks. So if you have a willing participant in Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman it could make some good music."
One of the candidates to interview for the position came away from his meeting with Chicago expecting the club in the future to hold Cutler to a higher level of accountability, in addition to administering some tough love to Cutler, who has underachieved with the Bears.
The candidate said "the person I spoke with said that is the plan."
Who's best suited to administer that?
"Trestman," the candidate said.
Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is also a finalist for the Bears head coaching position and possesses the traits suited for coaxing the best out of Cutler, according to Young, who said Bevell and Trestman's backgrounds are "rooted in West Coast" concepts on offense.
Young expressed respect for the third finalist, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, but admitted he's not as familiar with him as he is with Trestman and Bevell.
"Darrell's another great (candidate), a guy that's grown up around the tree of great offense," Young said. "I don't know Bruce. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
"Darrell, I know a little bit more and I feel the same way about Darrell. Darrell's capable. He'll come in with that tool kit that you have to have in my mind to make it a great platform for quarterbacking, which to me then becomes a great platform for offensive line, receiver, and then feeds on to the defense. Darrell comes from a lot of the same places that Marc has. I don't know Darrell as a play-caller. I haven't been around him, haven't been coached by him. But I certainly like Darrell."
Would Cutler? Young thinks so because all the finalists in the head coaching search possess the ability to bring "a platform" for great quarterbacking that is sure to resonate with the Bears quarterback.
Like Cutler early during his career in Denver, Young worked with current Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who is revered by the Chicago quarterback. Young's experience with Trestman leads him to believe that Cutler shouldn't have a problem working with the Alouettes coach should he be named head coach of the Bears.
Playing in just 23 games in 1995 and 1996 while working with Trestman, Young threw 34 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.
"Mike and Marc aren't exactly the same personalities, but they get to the same place," Young explained. "Mike's a predator. I'd say the same about Marc, but you wouldn't know it ahead of time; just different. I like them both. I love Mike Shanahan, trust me. But I would put Marc right in there."
Young also compared Trestman favorably with Mike Holmgren.
So why hasn't he received many opportunities to serve as a head coach in the NFL? Young couldn't put a finger on that. Trestman was a finalist last year for the head coaching job in Indianapolis, which was eventually given to Chuck Pagano.
The candidate who interviewed for the Bears head coaching job cautioned that Trestman "might not command a great presence in front of the group," but added "he has really changed for the better" through his experience as a head coach in the CFL.
Like former Bears coach Lovie Smith, Trestman isn't considered a fiery leader who yells at players to get across his points. Trestman has been described as soft spoken and cerebral. But history has proven that such an approach can yield success.
Trestman's track record in the CFL, where he's won two Grey Cups with potent offenses is undeniable. Working with Trestman in Oakland in 2002, former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon enjoyed an MVP season in which he completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 4,689 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a passer rating of 97.3.
"Marc was still a young coach (when he worked in San Francisco). I thought he was phenomenal coach," Young said. "What he is is a phenomenal offensive mind. He's a great game-day play caller. I had Mike Holmgren, I had Mike Shanahan and Marc Trestman and I would put Marc right in there. He's learned and grown, and I stay in touch with him. I don't know exactly why (he hasn't gotten a head coaching job).
"He is thoughtful. He's not gonna scream at people. He'll get after people, but he's got a great stick and a carrot. That's what I think is great coaching: somebody who can understand the different gears and leverages that you have against players to make sure they're focused and ready to play football. So I don't know exactly why, but it's time. I thought it was time 5-10 years ago."
It's also time for Cutler to take the next step in his development.
Both Young and the candidate who interviewed for the Bears see Trestman as the man most capable of helping Cutler accomplish that.
"Jay's now old enough to see ... he's tested the waters a bunch of times," Young said. "I've got to believe that if someone came in and in a resonant way, could speak to him ... that he would respond to that.
"Why wouldn't you respond to that? So my answer is 'yes.' I think he's ready for it. Part of it is just work. Part of it is really boring. It's like going to law school or med school; a lot of study. What I'm saying, to make the transition, and this is the most difficult part is you've got to turn the TV off. You've got to stay inside. You've got to put up your white board. You've got to memorize things. You have to get so you have reflexive recall. When you have reflexive recall, and you own all the data, you become Peyton Manning and Tom Brady."
Or at the very least, a better Cutler.