Earlier this summer, Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler said it takes three years to install an offense completely. With an aging defense and Cutler in the final year of his contract, the Bears don't have three years to wait for the offense to click.
Early in his career, Marc Trestman was hailed as an offensive genius. Cutler should be more familiar with this offense than any other. Cutler ran the West Coast offense in Denver under Mike Shanahan. Shanahan's last two seasons in Denver were the most productive of Cutler's career. He compiled 45 touchdowns and 32 interceptions in 2007 and 2008.
Trestman has coached under some of the best and brightest minds in the history of football. He began his career as an graduate assistant under Howard Schnellenberger at the University of Miami. He has also coached under Hall of Famer Bud Grant in Minnesota, with Marty Schottenheimer, with Bill Walsh in San Francisco and Jon Gruden in Oakland.
Phil Emery has given Trestman a lot to work with. This might be the most talent at the skill position the Bears have ever had. After 20 years of defensive minded coach, Trestman will bring a fresh perspective to the Monsters of the Midway.
We are about to find out how another inaugural season in the Trestman offense plays out.
University of Miami Quarterback Coach 1983-84
Trestman began his career as a volunteer assistant at the University of Miami in 1981. By 1983 he rose to Quarterbacks coach. This coincided with Bernie Kosar taking over as the starting Quarterback. In his two seasons as the Hurricanes starter, Kosar led them to their first national championship and having the highest completion percentage in school history.
In 1982, the year before Trestman took over as the Quarterbacks coach, four Hurricane Quarterbacks (including Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, current Georgia coach Mark Richt and 1987 NFL number one pick Vinnie Testaverde) threw for 1957 yards with ten touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
A year later, Kosar and backup Kyle Vandeweghe combined for 2565 yards 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The Hurricanes also improved from 21.9 PPG in 1982, 53rd in the country to 26.1 PPG, 28th in the country in 1983. Most important, the 'Canes went from a 7-6 team in 1982, to 11-1 and an improbable National Championship.
Minnesota Vikings RB Coach 1985-86
After the 1984 season, Trestman left to become the running backs coach with the Minnesota Vikings. Coming off a 3-13 season under Les Steckel, the Vikings coaxed Bud Grant out of retirement. Under Jerry Burns, the offense emphasized a more pass oriented attack. The lept from 10th, 22nd and 20th in attempts, yards and touchdowns in 1984 to fourth, seventh and 11th in 1985.
Trestman's running backs were a big part of the revamped offense. They combined for 98 receptions for 828 yards and six touchdowns. Darrin Nelson had the two best years of his career under Trestman's guidance. Nelson had a career high with 893 yards rushing in Trestman's first season in 1985.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Coach 1987
The 1987 season is hard to gauge. The season was only 15 games due to a strike and three of those games were played by replacement players.
Under former New Giants and Alabama coach Ray Perkins, the Bucs emphasized a passing offense. They finished fifth in the league in attempts, 15th in yards, 13th in touchdowns and eighth in interception percentage.
Steve DeBerg earned the starters job over the top pick in the 1987 NFL Draft, Vinnie Testaverde. DeBerg had a solid season finishing with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight games. He opened the season with 333 yards, five touchdowns and an interception in a 48-10 Bucs romp over Atlanta.
Testaverde's first game action came against the Bears in mop up duty. Testaverde made his first NFL start week 12 against New Orleans. He threw for 369 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was the starter for the remaining three games of the season.
Cleveland Browns QB Coach and Offensive Coordinator (1989), 1988-89
Trestman joined Marty Schottenheimer's staff that included Bill Cowher coaching the secondary. He became the Quarterbacks coach on a team that had won three consecutive AFC Central Division titles.
He had a tough first season in Cleveland. Bernie Kosar only played nine games due to injury. Four different qbs through at least 50 passes. Don Strock, Gary Danielson and Mike Pagel combined to go 4-3 in the seven games Kosar missed.
Kosar was 6-3 in his nine games and the Browns made the playoffs as a wild card before losing to Houston in the wildcard game 24-23. Schottenheimer was fired following the season due to his playoff failures.
Trestman was elevated to offensive coordinator for the 1989 season under new Head Coach Bud Carson. This was his first shot at running an offense.
Carson was a defensive minded coach who was the coordinator for the 1970's Steelers. The Browns finished in the middle of the pack offensively in 1989. They finished 10th, 11th, 16th and Fifth in attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions against. Kosar threw for over 3,533 yards and Webster Slaughter set the then Browns receiving record with 1,236 yards
The Browns won their fourth division title in five years and advanced to their third AFC Championship title game in four years. As with 1986 and '87, the Browns lost to Denver with a chance to go to the Superbowl. Trestman was fired after the season in a reported difficult relationship with Carson.
Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Coach 1990-91
Trestman returned to his native Minnesota after being let go in Cleveland. Burns was still the head coach when Trestman returned. They were coming off three consecutive playoff appearances. The team slipped from 10-6 and a division title in 19889, to 6-10 and out of the playoffs for the first time in four years in 1990.
Despite their down season, Trestman helped Rich Gannon and Wade Wilson to productive seasons. The Vikings finished 11th in yards and attempts and fifth in passing touchdowns. Gannon and Wilson combined for 3.443 yards. It was their 25 combined interceptions (26th in the NFL) they contributed to rough season in Minnesota.
Trestman lasted one more season in Minnesota. Burns retired following the 1991 season.
San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach 1995-96
After three seasons out of football, Trestman was hired in San Francisco to be the OC and QB coach. The 49ers were coming off of a Super Bowl title and Trestman was hired to replace Mike Shanahan. Shanahan was hired as the head coach in Denver.
The Niners led the NFL in points and finished second in yards. Trestman was able to accomplish this despite Hall of Famer Steve Young missing five games. Elvis Grbac filled in admirably. He led the team to a 3-2 record in Young absence and finished with a 96 QB rating. Their prolific passing offense led the way. San Francisco led the NFL in passing offense in 1995 and finished in the top five in four passing categories. The running game benefited by finishing third in rushing touchdowns.
Grbac was able to parlay his success under Trestman in San Francisco to a big pay in Kansas City following the 1996 season.
Detroit Lions QB Coach 1997
In Detroit, Trestman had the opportunity to work with the enigmatic Scott Mitchell. In his one season in the Motor City, Trestman helped Mitchell throw for 3,484 yards. That was the second highest total in franchise history at the time. His interceptions were a problem. Mitchell threw 14 ints to just 19 touchdowns. Barry Sanders made the Lions offense go with 2,053 yards, the highest total of his career. Mitchell did provide Sanders a good complement to the running game. He finished in the top ten in multiple passing categories.
The Lions finished the season fourth in the NFC Central, but at 9-7 still qualified for the playoffs. They lost 20-10 at Tampa. The game wasn't as close as the score. The Bucs bottled up Sanders and an ineffective Mitchell was replaced by former Buffalo hero Frank Reich.
Arizona Cardinals Offensive Coordinator 1998-2000
Trestman's first season in Arizona was one of the most impactful of his career. The Cardinals were coming off a 4-12 season. He took over an offense that ranked 25th in points and 24th in yards in 1997. He elevated them to 15th and 13th in 1998.
The Cardinals finished 9-7, and earned a wild card berth. The upset the Cowboys in the wildcard game before losing at Green Bay in the divisional round. It was the franchise's first playoff appearance in 15 years and first playoff win in 51 years. Their last appearance occurred while they were in St. Louis and last win was in Chicago.
Trestman's first season in the desert was Plummer's best as a Cardinal. It was also the only year they posted a winning record in the six year Plummer era. He finished the season in ranked in the top ten in multiple passing categories. Plummer's 3,737 passing yards were the second highest of his career and his best in Arizona. He finished the season third in completions and attempts and fourth in passing yards.
Wide Receiver Frank Sanders all posted career numbers in Trestman's inaugural campaign with the Cardinals. He finished with the season with 89 receptions for 1,145 yards, both career highs.
Oakland Raiders Quarterbacks Coach and Offensive Coordinator 2001- 2003
Trestman was hired by the Raiders as their Quarterback coach for the 2001 season and would be elevated to the Offensive Coordinator for the 2002 season.
His first season in Oakland was Jon Gruden's last. Gruden left for Tampa Bay following the 2001 season.
In his one season as the Quarterback coach, the Raiders offense slipped by 80 points (five points less per game). They only dropped from third to fourth in scoring though. They still remained among the best offenses overall. They finished seventh in points and were among the league leaders in almost every passing category.
The Raiders sent Tim Brown, Lincoln Kennedy and Rich Gannon to the pro bowl following the 2001 season.
With Chuckie moving on to Tampa, Trestman was elevated to OC when offensive coordinator Bill Callahan was promoted to head coach.
Led by Gannon, the Raiders prolific offense exploded again in 2002. They scored 450 points (second in the NFL) and finished first in yards. Gannon won the MVP, leading the league in yards, attempts and completions and finished second in QB rating. The Raiders began the season with a four game winning streak before dropping the next four games. They then won nine of their last ten to reach their first Super Bowl in 19 years. Four Raiders on offense went to the pro bowl.
Charlie Garner had arguably the best year of his career. He finished just shy of becoming just the third player in NFL history to finish with 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He finished the season with 962 yards rushing and 941 yards receiving on 91 receptions.
Miami Dolphins 2004 QB Coach/Assistant Head Coach
Trestman moved on to Miami as the assistant head coach and Quarterbacks coach. He replaced Norv Turner who ironically left to go to Oakland to succeed Callahan as the Raiders head coach.
The 2003 Dolphins finished 10-6 largely due to their defense. The 2004 season was a disaster as the Dolphins fell to 4-12 and Dave Wannstedt was fired after a 1-8 start.
The offense was equally disastrous. The finished 28th in points and 29th in yards. Despite the third most attempts in the league, they finished 21st in yards and their 26 interceptions were an NFL high. Their -17 giveaway/takeaway finished 29th.
After just one season in South Florida, Trestman moved on again.
North Carolina State Offensive Coordinator 2005-06
When Trestman arrived in Raleigh, the Wolfpack was coming off a 5-6 season. They were just two seasons removed from the Philip Rivers era. The offense took a step back in 2005, but they cut down on turnovers by almost one per game.
They started the season 2-4, but finished by winning five of their last six. This included a win in the Meincke Car Care bowl over South Florida in Charlotte. Their two QB system of Jay Davis and Marcus Stone both improved their Quarterback rating from 2004.
Trestman employed a balanced offense. Four players had over 20 receptions and Andre Brown and Tory Baker both had over 500 yards rushing. NC St. slipped to 3-9 in year two, Head Coach Chuck Amato was fired and once again Trestman was on the move.
Montreal Alouettes Head Coach 2008-2012.
Trestman's first season in Montreal was the most successful of his career. In his first season as a Head Coach he turned Als around from an 8-10 2007 season to 11-7 in 2008. The finished first in three major offense categories and second in another.
Anthony Calvillo was already of the greatest Quarterbacks in pro football history when Trestman came to Montreal. Calvillo set a career high with 43 touchdown passes in 2008. He led the league in completions, attempts, touchdowns and QB Rating.
Trestman and Calvillo led the Alouettes to their Grey Cup where they lost to Calgary. Calvillo was named the league's most outstanding player for the first time since 2003 and the second time overall. This set the stage for Montreal to win the Grey Cup in 2009 and 2010.
With Trestman's Offensive Mind, the most skilled position players he has had to work with in his career and a vastly improved offensive mind, Jay Cutler will have no one to blame but himself if the offense doesn't perform in 2013. Trestman has been a success almost everywhere he's gone, Frequently in his first seasons. It will be in Cutler's best interest to trust his new head coach.
This has the potential to be the most explosive offense in Bears history. Matt Forte could be the player to watch. Is it unfathomable to think he could reach 1,000 yards receiving and rushing?
The 2013 season will at least bring excitement to Soldier Field.
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