Looks like Jimmy Johnson was right about his "former QB coach from 'The U"' after all. Much as Stephen A. Smith's emphatic prediction that LeBron James would sign with the Miami Heat at the start of 2010 free agency was meet with howling skepticism, Jimmy Johnson's omniscient tweet last Friday concluding that the Bears rambling 13 man coaching search would end with the hiring of a little known CFL coach drew the scorn of many long-time Chicago media members and was widely discredited. Yet here we stand: The Chicago Bears have hired Marc Trestman, formerly of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, as Lovie Smith's replacement and the 14th coach in franchise history. In 5 seasons as Montreal Alouettes head coach Trestman has amassed a 59-31 record, claimed 4 East Division Championships, and won 2 Grey Cups ('09,'10) aka the Canadian Super Bowl.
Trestman is highly respected in NFL circles for his ability to develop quarterbacks. As a long-time NFL offensive coordinator Trestman is noted for his ability to get the most out of underachieving quarterbacks. Bernie Kozar (Cleveland Browns), Scott Mitchell (Detroit Lions), Steve Young (San Francisco 49ers) and Jake Plummer (Arizona Cardinals) all enjoyed the finest years of their career under the guidance of Trestman. Most impressively Trestman is credited with turning career journeyman Rich Gannon (Oakland Raiders) into the NFL's 2002 MVP. More recently, Trestman has helped top colligate quarterbacks such as Brandon Weedon (Ok St), Brock Osweiler (ASU), Tim Tebow (UF), Jimmy Clausen (ND), and Jason Campbell (Auburn) prepare for the NFL draft. Trestman drew some of his highest marks for transforming current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler from Vanderbilt standout to NFL first round draft pick.
It seems that Phil Emery is betting the ranch with this hire. By hiring Trestman he has signaled that this is the guy to turn the enigmatic Jay Cutler into the 'franchise quarterback' the Bears have believed him to be ever since trading for him. If Trestman doesn't pan out quickly it will be likely that neither Cutler nor Emery will be around for the next regime change. While Bears fans will inevitably be moaning that the team didn't make a serious run at Bill Cowher or John Gruden Emery's choice reveals that he believes the 10-6 Bears require tweaking rather than the wholesale change that would accompnay bringing in a coach with who already owns a Super Bowl ring. Emery is betting that Trestman can best provide a quick fix to rapidly bring the Bears offense up to speed before the championship window closes on a team lead by a defense of aging stars such as Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, and Julius Peppers.
With all due respect to Colts' OC Bruce Arians and Seahawks' OC Darrell Bevell, Marc Trestman is the right fit at the right time. His track record suggests that he's the man who can make it all click for Jay Cutler. Equally important, there is no one I'd rather have evaluating Cutler than Trestman to help Phil Emery make the decision if he is a franchise quarterback or not. With Cutler in line for a potentially massive contract extension I trust a proven quarterback whisperer like Trestman to make the decision on whether the Bears should give it to him or cut their losses and move on. Regardless I expect the Bears to draft a quarterback of the future in either the 2nd or 3rd round that Trestman can mold as insurance against Cutler. I expect Bears fans will warm to him once they learn more about him (and get a look at his daughters).
Moreover, I'd expect the Bears to attempt to retain defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli so that they can retain some continuity on the defensive side of the ball. While many are tempted to find a more aggressive coordinator that employs a blitz heavy 3-4, I think that the Bears have proven their defense is Super Bowl caliber. Hiring Trestman is a signal that Phil Emery believes this team already has an elite quarterback on its roster who is capable of winning a Super Bowl. Now is the time for Jay Cutler to prove once and for all that he is (or isn't) the guy to lead the Bears back to the promised land.
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Arizona State Sun Devils, Auburn Tigers, Bernie Kozar, Bill Cowher, Brandon Weedon, Brian Urlacher, Brock Osweiler, CFL, Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Florida Gators, Jake Plummer, Jason Campbell, Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen, Jimmy Johnson, John Gruden, Julias Peppers, Lance Briggs, LeBron James, Lovie Smith, Marc Trestman, Montreal Alouettes, NFL, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Phil Emery, Rich Gannon, Rod Marinelli, San Francisco 49ers, Scott Mitchell, Stephen A. Smith, Steve Young, Tim Tebow, University of Miami, Vanderbilt