Marc Trestman could be precisely what Jay Cutler needs | Football | CBC Sports

CFLMarc Trestman could be precisely what Jay Cutler needs

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 | 02:22 PM

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Seen in 2001 with arguably the greatest NFL player ever, Jerry Rice, Marc Trestman is unlikely be intimidated by the prospect of matching up with the league's top coaches. John G. Mabanglo/Getty Images Seen in 2001 with arguably the greatest NFL player ever, Jerry Rice, Marc Trestman is unlikely be intimidated by the prospect of matching up with the league's top coaches. John G. Mabanglo/Getty Images

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Marc Trestman will give as honest an answer as he can to his players, and leave no doubt as to what is being said, something that just should serve his new team, the Chicago Bears, very well.

A couple of Grey Cups back, in the cold of Edmonton, your correspondent asked Marc Trestman a question about the balancing act his Montreal defence performed that had them always on the edge of taking too many penalties.

"That question was asked yesterday," said the Alouettes' head coach, and for many in that situation it would have put an end to things. Not for him.

"But it's a good question," he added, and then launched into a reasoned, intelligent discussion on winning defensive football delivered while staring right into the eyes of the interrogator as though the discussion were taking place in a Timmy's on Sunday morning before the church crowd rushed in.

This is the type of guy the Chicago Bears have hired as their new on-field boss. He will give as honest an answer as he can to each of his players, and leave no doubt as to what is being said.

Put another way, this could be Jay Cutler's lucky day.

Cutler, he of the immense natural talent, has been the whipping boy in Chicago since coming over from Denver as the quarterback-saviour (2009), and much of that has been of his own making.

Though the Bears have won their share of games, most of the credit has gone to the defence while the offensive attack often left fans at venerable old Soldier Field diving for the safety of the trenches because they couldn't bear to look.

Stats don't always tell the tale for a pivot, but in Cutler's case they are more than revealing.

His interception totals, for example, are darn near frightening - 95 of them in six years as a starter. His passer rating, a number derived from completion percentage, passing yardage, touchdowns and interceptions, has ranged from a so-so 88.1 down to a thoroughly putrid 76.8.

When Cutler looks downfield he seems to have no idea what's happening in front of him or why, can't read his progressions ("'A' didn't work, so let's look at 'B ...") and tends to have far more guts than brains.

Former NFL pupils

Now, it's fair to say the Bears have hardly given him a brilliant receiving corps (other than Brandon Marshall) to work with, but they have been competent most of the time.

Enter Trestman, a man whose resume reeks of success tutoring quarterbacks, starting with Bernie Kosar at the University of Miami in the early 1980s, through Kosar again with the Browns later in the decade.

There was his work with Scott Mitchell in Detroit (his bounce-back season of just under 3,500 yards), with Jake Plummer in Arizona (3,737 yards), and then Rich Gannon as the offensive coordinator in Oakland.

Gannon was merely the NFL's best player in that 2002 campaign.

When Trestman came north five seasons ago to take over the Als (two Grey Cups), he took an aging Anthony Calvillo under his wing and taught the already old dog enough new tricks that it made him a cinch first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Calvillo's QB rating jumped from 95.8 to 107.2 in just a season, and his penchant for interceptions disappeared - in the middle three years AC threw just six, seven and eight picks for a total of just 21.

Cutler has already worked with Trestman a bit as the latter worked off-seasons as a consultant, but he's going to get the full-on Marc from here on.

Bears fans might want to know a few other things about what they're getting:

  • Someone who treats his players like grown men. If you act like one, you keep your job. When he hits players with that disappointed stare, they tend to step back into line.
  • A coach who believes in meticulous preparation, planning each and every step of the way to ensure the team is ready to give everything it has. Watch the way the Bears line up for the national anthem in 2013.
  • Someone who is never intimidated. Lambeau Field in December? Please. Just another hard-working, full-effort day at the office.
  • A coach who never rests on his laurels. After each successful season in Montreal, he would remind the players in training camp that this year's team is not last year's team. Therefore, this year's team has accomplished nothing so get to work.
  • Someone the players will run through hell for, despite working, studying and thinking harder than they ever have.

A Chicago columnist said on Wednesday hiring Marc Trestman was a leap of faith.

No, it wasn't. It was a big, smart step in the right direction.

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