Hands-on Bears coach Marc Trestman might need to back off
BY SEAN JENSEN email@example.com
Carolina Panthers v Chicago Bears
Throughout his book Perseverance, Marc Trestman highlights the importance of a starting quarterback, detailing the exhaustive hours he dedicated to whoever that player was with whatever team he was coaching.
But now that he’s finally fulfilled his ultimate dream — NFL head coach — Trestman will have to resist his instinct.
“I hope that Marc doesn’t think he can be the head coach and the quarterback coach,” said ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, a former quarterback. “You have to someone in that building that messages the same as you do, but it can’t be you.
“Marc’s greatest challenge will be coaching a coach so that the right things will be said to Jay [Cutler]. That’s a lot harder to do than you think.”
Head coaches naturally gravitate toward their area of expertise. For Lovie Smith it was the defense. For the Bears new coach, it’s quarterbacks.
Steve Mariucci never worked with Trestman, but he comes from the same NFL offensive lineage under legendary San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh.
“The way that I learned it and the way I did it was based on how Bill Walsh started the whole thing,” said Mariucci, the former 49ers and Detroit Lions headcoach who is now an NFL Network analyst.
Mariucci said the head coach can’t be in every meeting and every film session, but he can dictate the drills in practice and the plays in games. Mike Holmgren was a quarterbacks coach under Walsh and Mariucci was a quarterbacks coach under Holmgren in Green Bay, when they had Brett Favre.
“Mike Holmgren would install the offense and occasionally come into the meetings when I had Brett Favre,” Mariucci said. “He would keep his thumb on it and oversee it very closely.’’
But Mariucci sees hope in the relationship between Trestman and Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.
In 1996, the two worked together in San Francisco, under George Seifert, the defensive-minded coach who replaced Walsh.
“With Cavanaugh, that’s a good relationship to have, because they speak the same language,” Mariucci said. “They’re cut from the same cloth. They learned the same system, in most regards.
“But obviously, there’s room for creativity and growth.”
The Bears hired Aaron Kromer as the offensive coordinator. But he doubles as the offensive line coach, and his expertise is with that position and largely shaping the New Orleans Saints’ blocking schemes and run offense.
Cavanaugh returns to Chicago — he was the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 1997 and 1998 — after a questionable stint with the New York Jets. There, quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled to develop, despite being the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and the Jets endured a nightmarish 2012 season with Sanchez and Tim Tebow at the position.
“Matt’s great. He’s a great man and a very good coach,” said Dilfer, who played under Cavanaugh in Baltimore, where they helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV. “But he’s got a learning curve to learn Marc’s way.”