Having had nearly 13 full days to pour over Marc Trestman’s resume and overanalyze every stop along the way in an effort to gain some glimpse into what the final product will look like come September, it’s hard to reconcile with the fact that real answers are still over six months away. Yet, so desperate we are to be the first to arrive at the scene of the conclusion that I’m already being inundated with blanket statements regarding whether or not the hire was a good one.
And while grading out a new hire is a time-honored tradition (a tradition I partake in more out of necessity than anything) among new media, old media and fans that offers an opportunity to say either “I’m dumb” or “I told you so,” it’s still an effort in futility.
I like Marc Trestman, and when I look at the possibilities that exist within the context of what he can do with this offense, I see the possibility for immediate improvement. However, there is only so much projecting that a man can do, and standing in the line of sight of every bold proclamation—such as, “Marc Trestman is a great hire” or “Dis guy sucks”—is the realization that we simply don’t know anything about him.
We’re all imagining a picture with Trestman either hoisting the Lombardi Trophy or shamefully retreating to the safety of French-Canada, where, rather than lick his wounds he can have them bandaged for free (Canada compliment!). Reality, however, is standing in the background of both photos making funny faces over his shoulder.
That’s not to say that those fantasies can’t become realities themselves, it’s just that it is still far too premature to say anything definitively. Is Marc Trestman going to be a good head coach? I hope so. However, I don’t know.
Now, I could sit here and placate those fantasies and project what I envision Marc Trestman’s Bears to be for the next 800 words, and some of you may enjoy reading that. I did a lot of that in the podcast Darren Doxey and I did last week, and the idea of spending the next six paragraphs talking about the inclusion of modern twists like packaged concepts to a more traditional West Coast offense is one that really gets my libido flowing.
But, the conjecture is certainly something we’ve all seen plenty of by now, and while I reserve the right to talk at length about how this will eventually influence what we see on the field in Chicago somewhere down the line, I’d like to talk about something else for now. Namely, what kind of coach I hope Marc Trestman is as opposed to the aforementioned topic: What kind of coach I think Marc Trestman is.
We’re now fully immersed in Super Bowl week, and surprisingly we haven’t been beaten mercilessly with the Har-Bowl story line yet, although it is only Monday. However, even as the media attempts to water down this Harbaugh story to make it last longer, in terms of being a head coach in the National Football League, Jim and Jon are both still great templates for success.
I want to go to the Harbaugh store and buy five or six Harbaughs so that if I break or lose the Harbaugh I’m using, I can easily replace it. To be entirely honest, my man crush on these guys as coaches is nearly at restraining-order levels.
I understand that they’re not for everybody, but Jim Harbaugh, in particular, is this combination of brash and insane that could only work for a head coach. It’s Les Miles-esque, but without most of the mind-numbingly bad in-game decision-making.
(Sidenote: You win something for using four hyphenated words in a single sentence, don’t you?)
You almost get the sense when you look into his eyes that his mind works like the bayou they’ll be playing in this Sunday. It’s just this unnavigable mess of brackish water and mangrove, yet there’s Jim Harbaugh in an airboat with the throttle wide open darting in and out of the waterways like he’s the only one with a map.
Basically, if I had to describe Jim Harbaugh in a word, it’d be quirky. And what word did I write in big bold letters while watching Marc Trestman’s inaugural press conference?
Granted, these two are different kinds of kooks, I think that much is clear, but there are a long line of successful NFL coaches who at times seemed to border on insane, and if Marc Trestman can balance his own quirks as successfully as Jim Harbaugh seems to, he’ll be off to a solid start.
Of course, if being crazy was the only prerequisite, we missed the Mike Singletary train. He had every candidate out-crazed by a nautical mile. Unfortunately for Mike, there are more stringent criteria than assuming you can shoot lasers out of your eyes.
Marc Trestman was hired with the expectation that his history as a coordinator would make the Bears schematically competent offensively, and if Trestman is the man to help Chicago move past the Lovie Smith era, that will have to be true. Bill Belichick has been the gold standard in this department for a dozen years now, and while it’s probably not realistic to expect Belichick-level greatness, it’d be nice to make a trip into Lambeau Field without knowing that the Bears were irrefutably the less sophisticated football team.
Lastly, I think it’s important for Marc Trestman to be innovative. He’s been out of the NFL for eight years, but things have really only begun to dramatically change over the course of the last few years especially. Trestman will have to be innovative to adapt quickly to, and eventually get ahead of, the changing culture.
Surprisingly, the quintessential innovator in football actually comes from the college ranks and is recently retired, that being Nevada’s Chris Ault. More so than any other innovator of spread offensive principles, Ault’s development of the Pistol has had the single greatest influence on the mobile quarterback movement we’re seeing in the NFL. Now, I’m not saying Marc Trestman has to run the Pistol, but I’d like to see him push the envelope.
Going through all this, it’s obvious that this superhuman Harbaugh-Belichick-Ault crossbreeding experiment isn’t going to be exactly what Marc Trestman is. But, all great coaches draw influence from their peers, and my overwhelming hope is that he’ll do the same.
I don’t know exactly what Marc Trestman football is going to look like, but if he can draw from the likes of all the greats that he has worked with and against, AND put his own crazy spin on things, I think the Bears will be okay.