The most exhaustive search for a coach in the NFL has come to an end. After interviewing everyone from the hottest coordinator candidates to the Water Distribution Engineer of the Ohio Glory, the Chicago Bears announced the hiring of football-lifer Marc Trestman
, now the former coach of the Montreal Alouettes.
Trestman's first job in the NFL was during the Bears Super Bowl run in 1985. He saw the 46 defense first hand as Running Backs Coach for the Minnesota Vikings during that season and the next. The rest of Trestman's career would be more like it began at the University of Miami; surrounded with great quarterbacks. In southern Florida, Trestman was the QB coach for Bernie Kosar and was affiliated with the team when Jim Kelly played. After the Vikings, he spent one year in Tampa Bay with Vinny Testaverde, Steve DeBerg and future NFL coach Jim Zorn. Then he met up with Bernie Kosar in Cleveland for a couple of seasons. After that, he went back to Minnesota to coach Rich Gannon before leaving football for a few years only to return as OC and QB coach for the 1995-96 San Francisco 49ers helmed by Steve Young on the field. In 1997, he helped Scott Mitchell pass for 3,484 yards. In 1998, Trestman was the man behind Jake Plummer's upset of the Cowboys in the playoffs. After a horrible Plummer season in 2000, Trestman moved on to coach the best Rich Gannon years of 2001 and 2002, including a Super Bowl appearance. After Gannon faded, Trestman had one year in Miami dealing with the Feeley/Fiedler/Rosenfels disaster before moving back to college and moving to the most northern country of North America. Up north, Trestman has gone to three Grey Cups in five seasons, winning in 2009 and 2010.
Detractors of Trestman are going to wonder why he did not get a head coaching job in the NFL after 1996 or 2002. Some people have said that he was not deemed to have the personality needed for it at the time.
Former players from Steve Young to Jarrett Payton all extoll the greatness of the man. Young has had a few long interviews on ESPN 1000 in Chicago about Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman. The Hall of Fame BYU product said that Jay Cutler needs to rebuilt from the ground up due to what has happened in Chicago and think Trestman is the man to do it. He gave credit to Trestman for some of his own success. Trestman has coached three recipients of MVP awards. That is high praise.
There are also going to be questions about Bears GM Phil Emery being too cute with his search and that this move is another one about him showing off about how good of a scout he is. That was the feeling of the average Bears fan when Shea McClellin was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. If the Bears draft an unknown Alaskan fisherman in the first round this season, then maybe those people will be right.
Perhaps the move toward an offensive mind is something much bigger. Perhaps it is a microscope being put on the career of Jay Cutler. The Vanderbilt quarterback has one year left on his deal. Emery has admitted that the Bears will be agressive in free agency for offensive line help. (Ryan Clady?) He also was honest in that he wanted to make sure the Bears offense finally had weapons around Cutler. During an interview after firing Lovie Smith, he took 3-5 minutes to describe the reasoning behind drafting Alshon Jeffrey and ingoring more offensive line help in 2012. Now the Bears have the first offensive-minded coach in the lifetime of most Bears fans. That coach with new thinking is also a guy with a history of making quarterbacks great.
This move may simply be the ultimate push of the chips towards the middle of the felt. Emery may have looked at the team and seen a defense that was aging and that the only possibility to contend quickly was to actually commit to an offensive team in Chicago. There is no word yet on if the Bears can finally get FieldTurf installed at Soldier Field.
Overall, the change in philosophy is a possible career-defining moment for Phil Emery and Jay Cutler. For Bears fans, things have changed. Things feel different this morning. Different doesn't always mean good and it doesn't always mean bad. Future success for the Bears is not known, but the future for the Bears is a name from the NFL past. Somehow, that does make things still seem more like the same at Halas Hall.