In spite of completely turning the Bears offense around and changing the culture of the team, Marc Trestman has only been ranked as the 25th best coach in the NFL by the Sporting News. Two of his three NFC Central Rivals rank higher and Lovie Smith does as well (14th). The Packers Mike McCarthy was 10th, Jim Caldwell of the Lions 16th, and Mike Zimmer of the Vikings 29th. McCarthy has a superbowl ring, but Caldwell and Smith have had limited success.
Trestman always had one of the best offensive minds in football. He went to Canada after leaving the Raiders as offensive coordinator because he was constantly passed over for a head coaching position in the NFL. Once in Canada, Trestman turned around the Montreal Alouettes. They lost in the Grey Cup in his first season and then won it the next two. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo won the league MVP during their championship seasons.
The Sporting News' David Steele said of Trestman
Out of the NFL for eight years, in Canada for five years … now that’s an unconventional hire. The 8-8 record in Trestman’s rookie year was a little too pedestrian, though, especially considering the NFC North was dying to be taken late last season. If things don’t get better, prepare for the Bears to be accused of out-thinking themselves, and fairly so.
Is this really a fair assessment? Under Lovie Smith the Bears had an antiquated offense, a subpar offensive line and an aging defense. The Bears lost Brian Urlacher to retirement in the 2013 off-season, Lance Briggs and Charles Tilman both missed significant portions of the season. Phil Emery upgraded the offensive line in the 2013 off-season and focused on the defense this year.
Under Trestman's tutelage, the Bears had arguably their best season ever offensively and their worst defensive season. Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker did not have a lot to work with, while Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer were able to move the offense into the modern age in their first season.
Josh McKown set two franchise records at Quarterback in relief of Jay Cutler and the offense's 445 points were 11 points off the frachise record set by the 1985 Super Bowl champions. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey became the first pair of Bear receivers to make the probowl in the same season.
He has been labeled strictly and X's and O's coach that wasn't a great leader. Trestman and Quarterback Jay Cutler recently went to New York to learn more about leadership from the league's new "value meister" according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. King also quoted Trestman as saying.
“I got a tremendous start in the way a locker room was run when I coached for five years in Canada,” said Trestman, whose first head-coaching job was with Montreal of the CFL... Lovie Smith had a great group of players—a great group—and he did a great job with them. There were some subtle things I wanted to add. I wanted to keep growing.”
Trestman helped establish the Bears as more than a one man offense. Matt Forte has been the focus of the Bears offense since he arrived in Chicago. Trestman used the principals of the West Coast Offense to put the Bears offense as one of the most feared in the NFL in 2013. With an vastly improved offensive line, the potential is there to be even better in 2014.
Trestman's track record leading good offenses dates back to 1989 when he was the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator and Quarterbacks coach. In nine seasons running an NFL offense, Trestman has placed his team in the top four in scoring four times.
He tutored Quarterbacks and/or was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland with Bernie Kosar, in San Francisco with Steve Young, Arizona with Jake Plummer, Detroit with Scott Mitchell and Rich Gannon in Oakland. All of the those teams made playoff apperances and several of his pupils set franchise passing records.
In addition to their second highest scoring season, the Bears set franchise records with 6,109 total yards, 4,450 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, a 96.9 passer rating and 344 first downs. With the upgraded offensive line and the second year of the offense, 2014 could produce even better results.
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