Bears’ first training-camp practice under Marc Trestman is sharp, speedy
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org July 26, 2013 8:54PM
Updated: August 28, 2013 6:17AM
BOURBONNAIS — Whether or not they are Lovie Smith guys, the Bears quickly are becoming Marc Trestman’s team.
‘‘The things that he wants out of us, he’s getting out of us,’’ linebacker Lance Briggs said after the first practice under Trestman on Friday.
As long as that’s the result, it won’t matter who has ‘‘bought in’’ and who hasn’t or how much this team misses Smith or Brian Urlacher. Trestman is here because he has a history of maximizing the output of players and a team. He’s here to rid the Bears of the flaws that turned playoff-bound teams into also-rans the last two seasons: the penalties, the dropped passes, the injuries and the inefficient use of Pro Bowl offensive players such as Matt Forte and Jay Cutler.
The first training-camp practice under Trestman was the most vivid example of how he intends to do that — with a frenetic pace that hones a laser focus and makes ‘‘attention to detail’’ imperative instead of an option. For what it’s worth, the difference between Trestman’s style and Smith’s was evident from the start, with Trestman conducting a fast-paced practice, barking encouragement and admonishment, his piercing two-fingers-in-the-mouth whistle marking the transition to the next period.
‘‘Put the ball away tight. Lock it up.’’
‘‘It’s not a fall-on-the-ground drill. It’s a catch-and-run drill.’’
‘‘You’ve got juice, you’ve got to use it, Josh [Lenz]. You’ve got to use your speed on every play.’’
It made an impression.
‘‘He’s a good coach. A good man. I can tell you he’s a great man,’’ Briggs said of Trestman. ‘‘We have a fast-paced practice. That’s the way the season’s going to run. I know he knows he’s got some great players here in Chicago. It’s just about directing them in the right direction.’’
‘‘It was quick,’’ Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman said. ‘‘Coach Trestman, he likes what he calls chaos in practice.’’
No surprise that offensive players are a little more excited about the transition to the new coaching staff.
‘‘It’s fast-paced. We like it. That’s what we want to do,’’ wide receiver Earl Bennett said. ‘‘The coaches are very engaged. They coach on the run. It’s a lot of fun. You hear a lot of [coaches] talking, but you just have to hone in and know what you have to do and just do your task.’’
Said second-year wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, ‘‘The offense is pretty good. He calls some great plays. He knows what he’s talking about. He knows what he’s doing.’’
But the challenge of transition is most critical on defense, where veterans Briggs and Tillman and others were loyal disciples of Smith. Now, former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is in charge.
‘‘It’s different,’’ said Briggs, who will be calling defensive plays with Urlacher no longer on the team. ‘‘You’ve been in a system for a long time. You’re now told to change and do things a different way. It takes time.
‘‘It’s working out. Right now we’re just grinding.’’
The difference is that this year the Bears are grinding at a much faster pace. It’s up to them to adjust and learn.
‘‘It just makes you have the focus and be sharper, faster — that’s really all,’’ Briggs said. ‘‘We have a lot of no-huddle plays. So for us defensively, we have to be sharp with getting the right personnel on the field and make sure we’re getting the right calls.
‘‘Even though I might not be where I want to be right now, today was a good day. By the time we step on that field come September, we’ll all be very sharp.’’