The Chicago Bears introduced Marc Trestman as the team’s new head coach on Thursday and the first thing he said was that he and Lennay Kekua are just friends. Trestman then assured the assembled media, team officials and fans that the only thing worse than spending five years in Canada is spending ten minutes with Lance Armstrong.
In other words, he is glad to be here.
But seriously, one of the first things Trestman said at Halas Hall besides “thank you” and “are you going to finish that crumb cake?” was “The Chicago Bears are unquestionably the most loved and storied franchise in the NFL, no doubt, and without question a premiere job. Arguably, one of the best in all of sports.”
I think we’re going to like this guy.
Two and-a-half weeks ago when the Bears asked Lovie Smith if it was snowing and then quickly locked the door when he stepped outside to look, no one expected the team would replace him with a guy who has never been an NFL head coach and, for all of the Obama years, hasn’t even really been an American. But if a skinny, bespectacled, seemingly soft-spoken man who looks like he should be explaining the financial meltdown (he was out of the country for that, too, lucky guy) on Charlie Rose instead of breaking down the West Coast Offense for Chris Berman can add a Vince Lombardi Trophy to his mantle along with his two Grey Cups then that’s all that matters.
Trestman also said Thursday, dramatically, “If it’s one of us, it’s all of us.” Many people have said that before but far too often in Chicago sports that phrase is more about farts in an elevator than a shared commitment to beating the snot out of division opponents.
Trestman rides to the rescue as a man who knows how to run an effective offense and, seemingly, possesses an inclusive outlook, noting that “the number one marriage in all of sports is the marriage between a quarterback and his coach.” This might not be the exact verbiage Bears fans – and Jay Cutler for that matter – were hoping for but it’s Trestman’s commitment to offense that made him a top assistant in the NFL and a Royal Commander of Arts and End Zones in Canada. “The only object of the offense at the end of the day is to score touchdowns,” Trestman said, “if we do it with 12 runs in a row or 12 passes in a row nobody’s going to care. We’re going to get the ball in the end zone and try to defeat the team we’re playing on a play-by-play basis.”
Trestman’s Montreal Alouettes averaged 25 points a game this past season. The Bears averaged 23 points per game. But, keep in mind; Montreal didn’t get to play the Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to Wikipedia, “Alouette” is a French Canadian children’s song about “plucking the feathers, eyes and beak from a lark in retribution for being woken up by her song.” Nice. Turn off the lights, crank up the volume and then kill birds.
Alouette is also an American style of French cheese that is known as “soft and spreadable.” Cheeseheads beware.
Trestman is quickly spreading his influence across the Bears and has plucked several guys from Lovie Smith’s coaching staff. He has hired an offensive coordinator, Aaron Kromer, but says he will actually be calling the plays himself. Kromer used to work for the Saints so he knows all about offense and, of course, cheese, too.
Trestman wanted to hang on to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli but couldn’t so he’ll have to find someone else. As much as Bears fans didn’t want legendary linebacker Mike Singletary to be the team’s head coach many wouldn’t mind seeing old number 50 in charge of the defense.
Speaking of linebackers, will Brian Urlacher be back?
There are many more changes ahead for the Bears, a team that needs a tight end, a few offensive linemen, another pass rusher, another wide receiver and the keys to Aaron Rodgers’ Camaro. No one knows if Trestman and GM Phil Emery are the right men to line up the right guys and then get them to do the proper things but the situation in Chicago can’t get worse. Well actually, it can. The Bears underachieved under Lovie Smith but were always respectable. If the Montreal Alouettes of the Midway regress in 2013 it will be frustrating because they were so close to reaching the postseason the last two years after nearly reaching the Super Bowl the year before that. But with an aging defense, questions on offense, a new head coach and inter-conference games against the AFC North (Ravens, Steelers, Bengals and Browns) in 2013 along with division contests against the always-tough Packers, the surprising Vikings and possibly-potent Lions, it’s reasonable to suggest next fall could feel like a cold Canadian winter along Chicago’s lakefront.
But maybe not. A little spit and glue on the defense and a lot more moxie – along with better footwork, quarterback protection and the re-discovery of Matt Forte – on offense could make Mr. Trestman’s return to America a triumphant one.
Marc Trestman is a smart man. He knows that the NFL in 2013, and probably from now on, is about offense. He knows the Chicago Bears are more than a football team; they’re a legacy and a heartbeat. He knows what it’s like to hoist a shiny trophy when every other coach is standing in the shadows.
He knows the time is now. And this time, we mean it.