The 14th head coach of the Chicago Bears met the local media for the first time on Thursday, expressing an obvious eagerness to get started on leading his team toward their stated goal of winning multiple championships.
The road to that goal is simple: be consistently in the mix. What does that really mean? Phil Emery and Marc Trestman intend to bring this team to a level it has not been to in 30 years, and even 40 years before that; they intend to make the playoffs, and make them consistently.
It makes sense. The Super Bowl has been called the toughest championship to win in all of professional sports. That of course is debatable, but what’s probably less debatable is that in the NFL more so than in sports like professional basketball or baseball, where playoffs and championships are determined based on the results of series, the best team does not always win.
In the NFL, even if you are the best team, anything can happen in the end.
The Bears have not made the playoffs more than two seasons in a row since 1988. Call me crazy, but I don’t care how good you are, it’s going to be hard to make it to, let alone win, that kind of one-game elimination title when you only get a couple cracks at it every four or five years.
That is part, albeit a logical part, of the science of this game, and the science of the game is something that the geeks at Halas Hall (Phil Emery and Marc Trestman) love dissecting. Synergy? I think so.
“I'm filled with an incredible amount if humility today, becoming the head coach of the Chicago Bears,” Trestman said Thursday. “I feel the passion. I feel the urgency. And boy, do I feel the commitment to win.”
As for the process of hiring a new head coach, Phil Emery said the search ultimately came down to Trestman and Colts' offensive coordinator Bruce Arains. Seahwaks’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was the first finalist to be eliminated according to Emery because “he did not have prior head coaching experience.” An interesting note seeing as he did not interview many candidates who did.
Emery said ultimately Trestman’s ability to go to the CFL, win multiple championships and contend for one more after having spent 17 years of his career at a successful level in the NFL was one of the main reasons he was the final choice.
“Do not underestimate Marc Trestman as a competitor,” Emery said. “He is as tough-minded as anyone I’ve been around in 31 years in this league.”
Trestman addressed some of the issues with the regard to the current coaching staff, saying that former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has elected to leave the team after receiving permission to do so. Trestman would not comment on who might take on that role but said they will look at the remaining staff as well as other qualified candidates. Some of his colleagues from the CFL will join his staff here in Chicago.
As an offensive-minded guy, Trestman made sure to stress the importance of defense and special teams. “On defense, we have to hurry the QB, hit him and knock him down,” he said. “And we have to continue to create turnovers. But our overall philosophy is simple: create a locker room based on a humble, hardworking environment. I get to do the job I have the most fun with—I get to be the team's compass and roadmap. I love to coach ball.”
On the offensive side of the ball, when asked about his system, Trestman said it’s always remained fluid—changing as the game changes, and adapting to the players on the roster.
Trestman also talked about quarterback Jay Cutler saying, “He's in tune to where he is and where he wants to go. I can’t wait to get my hands on him. He’s ready.”
“I'm going to be responsible for keeping Jay safe in the pocket,” Trestman continued. And for those keeping score, the offensive line is one of the first things Trestman has addressed with his teams in the past, and it will be the first thing that’s addressed here in Chicago.
Additionally, Trestman confirmed he will be the one calling plays on gameday. “The fact of the matter is that I love calling plays. I love ball. As long as I'm here, I get to do that,” he said.
As for the current players on the roster, when asked about guys like Matt Forte and Brian Urlacher, Trestman was honest, saying he hadn’t studied enough film to be comfortable offering individual assessments.
But while he didn’t offer much insight on Urlacher’s future with the team—he wasn’t expected to—he did say this: “He exemplifies what being a Chicago Bear is all about. When we step out of this room, we’ll begin to talk [about his future].”
“I can't wait to get out and get started.”
Other nuggets I picked up on:
- Marc Trestman is, or at least was, a Minnesota Vikings fan. Yuck.
- Marc Trestman loves every single question the media asks no matter what. “That’s a great question, Dan.”
- Marc Trestman’s daughters are … um, pretty.
- Marc Trestman has a voracious passion for the quarterback position. He and Jay Cutler are set to be wed, in fact. “The number one marriage in sports is between QB and coach.”
- Marc Trestman is riding a four-year contract with the Chicago Bears.
- Marc Trestman has final say over the coaching staff.
- Marc Trestman is defensive when it comes to comparisons between the CFL and NFL, but really, who can blame him? The man won back-to-back championships in that league.
- Marc Trestman has a favorite quote: “What I do for myself is buried with me. What I do for others lives forever.” It came from the TV show Criminal Minds, so … there’s that.
- (Actually, I like the quote a lot.)