New And Improved?
Trestman right guy to develop Cutler
Lovie Smith was a great defensive coach and a fine leader of men. But after nine years in Chicago, we knew what we were going to get: Takeaways on defense and a headache on offense.
Smith could never quite find the answer to Chicago's offensive woes, and surely it wasn't all his fault. His niche is defense. But that's kind of the point, too. If you can't coach offense, you better find someone who can. The past four years have been unnecessarily frustrating as the team has failed to develop Jay Cutler, and he has failed to develop himself into a franchise quarterback.
Don't get it twisted. It's all about Cutler.
With nearly three decades of coaching and teaching quarterback play, new Bears coach Marc Trestman is the perfect man to remake Cutler and get the best out of him. He started by tutoring Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde as redshirt quarterbacks at Miami. Trestman's latest quarterback in Montreal, Anthony Calvillo, said Trestman's attention to detail set the tone for his impressive first head coach job.
"Everything is so detailed," Calvillo said. "From your drops to your reads to where your stripe of your helmet tells where you're looking at. He knows where the stripe of your helmet is facing."
Cutler is known for having amazing talent and toughness, but not for attention to detail and perfect mechanics.
One of Trestman's biggest boosters is legendary receiver Cris Carter, who said his career "blossomed" when he started working with Trestman in the early '90s in Minnesota.
Carter is a Cutler fan, but says for Cutler to get to the next level, he needs to submit to a coach and "let someone remake him." And Carter believes Trestman is the guy to do it.
"What's going to take Jay to the next level is his brain," Carter told me. "He just needs to let [Trestman] mold him. At some point, I stopped trying to do it my way, and started doing it the coach's way."
Now it's Cutler's turn. Can Trestman do it? I like his chances.
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.
Lovie not perfect but he is a leader
It's gonna be a while before we get a definitive answer to this question. But for right now, on the surface, in this moment of the Phil Emery executive decision-making process, there's nothing on Marc Trestman's résumé that suggests that he will do better or more with the Bears than Lovie Smith was able to do.
That's not a knock on Trestman, it's just truth.
Apparently legendary former coach Marv Levy loves the pick of Trestman. As do Rich Gannon and Adam Schefter and Tom Waddle and so many other football insiders and experts. Though his name doesn't resonate past the football geeks so consumed with the game they make John Clayton look like a novice, Trestman seemed to be the Katherine Webb of the potential NFL coaches circle.
But just because the Bears got the "sexiest" pick, doesn't mean they got one better than the one that is being replaced. Good or bad, Lovie knew the NFL. He knew how to maneuver around the B.S. that comes with being a coach at the helm of a team that every year is expected to overachieve. And that often is just as important and necessary as having the ability to have a team go 10-6 in the best division in football.
Look, Lovie wasn't perfect. We all know that. But unless Trestman keeps Rod Marinelli around to run the defense, there's no way he's going to find the success -- as limited and unsatisfying as it ended up being -- that Lovie did coaching this team. For a guy coming into this town, with this team, and inheriting these expectations without having done it at the NFL level before, it's hard to see him not just doing any better, but doing as well.
I'll just say this: They keep referring to Trestman as an "offensive guru." The last time an "offensive guru" took over a team was a few months ago in the NBA when Mike D'Antoni took over the Lakers. And we all see how that's going.
Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com.