Marc Trestman would make for an excellent Chicago politician, wouldn’t he? His product has clearly gone down the tubes, but when you get him up on a podium, he’ll continue to spew his cliché, “stay-the-course” rhetoric.
"I think this team and this locker room is in a good place at this time," Trestman said Monday.
You don’t say? Sorry, coach. No one is buying the company line anymore.
It’s time to get this guy as far away from a microphone as possible. It’s also time for Bears’ brass to realize the value Trestman actually brings to the team. That might be hard to believe in this post-apocalyptic Chicago we now live in, but hear me out:
You can kill both birds with one stone by moving him to offensive coordinator.
Last year, I was quick to say “I told you so!” Fast forward a few more months and I’m inches away from eating my own words.
For all of the drastic offensive improvements in 2013, 2014 has been a regression of epic proportions. The defense is too busy breaking all of the wrong franchise records to actually do their job. An offense led by a fledgling Jay Cutler can’t compensate. As a result we now know more about the 1923 Rochester Jeffersons than we ever cared to.
You know, the only other NFL team to ever give up more than 50 points in back-to-back games. EVER.
Unlike the Jeffersons, who played only four games that year and subsequently folded, the Bears have seven more games worth of debauchery to provide us. This also means that we have to sit through (at least) seven more Trestman press conferences.
Maybe you think I’m making too big of a deal out of this, but his word choice in these last few meetings with the media is downright shameful. Sure, he pointed the finger at himself for having the biggest role in prepping the team, and that he failed to do that. But he went on to say “the team is in a good place” and that they won’t make any changes. He brushed aside ineptitude of historic proportions to “focus on the week ahead.” He even delivered a ringing endorsement for a clueless defensive coordinator and mentioned how great their past few practices were, as if practices matter in the standings.
Hey coach, maybe your team looks so good in practice because they suck equally on both sides of the ball. Ever consider that?
How clueless does he think the Bears fan base is? As a fan, it’s almost insulting. According to what we hear, the team is great. The moral is great. The work they put in? Great. But at the end of the day, we’re seeing something completely different and are left with no good explanation as to why.
Trestman can’t see the forest for the trees, or at least talks like it. That doesn’t mean we have to follow suit, nor should we.
After the season wraps up, plenty of heads will roll at Halas Hall. It will be long overdue, as more immediate changes (oh, say, after the Green Bay game) would’ve had sent a strong message that this team actually cares more about winning games than saving face with the group they currently have.
But even though I have strong emotions for the way Trestman handles the team’s struggles, I still believe he provides value on the offensive side of the ball.
We can’t be so quick to forget his track record of success over the last three decades. From college to pro ball and even to Canada, Trestman was able to maximize the potential of his quarterbacks (think: Rich Gannon) and get his offenses to run like well oiled machines.
We saw shades of that last season when he was able to morph a career backup quarterback in Josh McCown into a Peyton Manning look-alike in only eight weeks. Jay Cutler was also enjoying one of his best seasons until the injury bug bit.
Maybe Cutler is the enigma that Trestman can’t quite fix. By all accounts, Trestman spends countless hours working with Cutler on footwork and proper reads. But when the pressure is on, Cutler reverts to his faulty mechanics and gunslinging mentality.
You can make the argument that Trestman will be more successful with an efficient passer like McCown that takes fewer risks. You could also argue that a year and change worth of time with Cutler isn’t indicative of what you’ll get in the long run.
What you can’t argue, though, is that the Bears have been historically bad defensively with Trestman at the helm. There’s a reason it took nearly 30 years for a team to take a chance on him as a head coach, you know.
To be fair, he doesn’t even call the defensive plays; Mel Tucker does that. Since he’s acting like a pseudo-offensive coordinator already, why not strip him of all defensive responsibility and make him the actual offensive coordinator?
Many people are quick to point out the pride factor involved by taking a “demotion” from head coach to coordinator. But last I checked, there isn’t much pride in being a failed head coach. Would you rather be pegged as the leader of an incompetent team, or a key cog in a successful one? I’m not saying the simple switch will guarantee success, but it will afford him the opportunity to solely focus on his strong suit while leaving the defense up to a more accomplished mind (NOT Mel Tucker).
I’ll admit I have no clue how the situation would work out financially. Trestman averages above $4 million a year in pay, and no coordinator sniffs that amount. Even the highest paid ones are lucky to hit seven figures.
But again: do you take more money in the face of failure, or a pay cut and a chance at success?
As I was writing this, I thought to myself, “would a move like this be unprecedented? Has a head coach ever been ‘demoted’?”
You bet. Actually, just a cursory glance around the league reveals 17 such instances on present day rosters, and that’s not even accounting for any position changes in the past.
This is the exact same direction the team should’ve taken with Lovie Smith; make him the defensive coordinator, let someone else worry about the offense. He stood behind his players and they gave him 100% effort every week.
According to Brandon Marshall, this team stands behind Trestman in a similar fashion. Why not let him focus on his strengths? It would also get him off of the podium every week.
The fact that this idea has never been approached (at least publicly) by upper management shows a clear oversight on their part. Their job is to explore every avenue to improve the team; that clearly wasn’t done with Lovie and likely won’t be done with Trestman.
But we can all dream, can’t we? A Trestman offense, a Lovie defense…