Marc Trestman: Can’t wait to get my hands on Jay Cutler
BY MARK POTASH Twitter: @MarkPotash January 17, 2013 11:06AM
Marc Trestman poses for pictures after being introduced as the new head coach of the Chicago Bears at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., on Thursday, January 17, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: January 17, 2013 9:53PM
As a 10-year old kid from the Minneapolis suburbs, Marc Trestman recalled watching George Halas’ Bears beat the Vikings in 1966. As a Vikings assistant, he remembers coaching against Mike Ditka’s 1985 Bears that won the Super Bowl. As a first-time NFL head coach at 57, he knows exactly where he is and precisely why he’s here.
‘‘I do feel the passion. I do feel the sense of urgency. And man, I do feel the commitment to win,’’ Trestman said upon being introduced as the 14th head coach in Bears history Thursday at the George ‘‘Mugs’’ Halas Auditorium at Halas Hall.
Bears general manager Phil Emery said he chose Trestman over two other finalists — Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell — for his ‘‘excellence ... energy ... organization’’ and his ability to pull people together.’’ He said the choice ultimately came down to Trestman and Arians after eliminating Bevell because he wanted a coach with previous head-coaching experience.
Trestman has been an NFL assistant for 18 years, but it was his five years as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League that differentiated him from the other candidates. The Alouettes went 59-31 under Trestman and won two CFL championships in three Grey Cup appearances.
‘‘Not only does he adapt to personnel. He adapts to situations,’’ Emery said. ‘‘Do not underestimate Marc Trestman as a competitor.’’
But with the Bears’ current situation, it is Trestman’s record of improving offenses and improving quarterbacks that matters most. And maximizing the ability of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is the centerpiece of his hiring.
‘‘His offense ‘‘starts and ends with the quarterback,’” Trestman said. ‘‘The quarterback absolutely must play at an efficient level.’’
Trestman said he first met Cutler 10 years ago at a workout in North Carolina. He met him again two days ago. ‘‘He’s a different person,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘He’s in tune with where he is and where he wants to go. I can’t wait to get my hands on him and go to work with him.’’
Trestman will get right to work on the 2013 season. And there is a lot of work to do. He will have to hire a new defensive coordinator after Rod Marinelli decided not to stay. ‘‘I talked to [Marinelli]. Had a good discussion. He has made up his mind to move on and we’ll being the process of talking to [candidates],’’ Trestman said.
Trestman said he would probably bring coaches form his staff on the Alouettes to the Bears. He has hired former New Orleans Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer as his offensive coordinator, but Trestman said he will call offensive plays, as he did for five seasons in Montreal.
Kromer and new special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis attended the press conference.
Trestman said the priority on offense will be pass protection. ‘‘It’s my responsibility to keep Jay Cutler and our quarterbacks safe in the pocket.’’
Trestman offered few specifics — not really saying whether he thinks Cutler is a ‘‘franchise quarterback’’ or whether linebacker Brian Urlacher will be back.
But in general, his approach will be one of detail, teaching, motivating and getting players to buy into his philosophy.
‘‘We want to create a locker room based on a humble, hardworking, disciplined environment. An even-keeled yet passionate, common sense, no-nonsense approach to our business,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘We’re going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy the game. But we are going to have a sense of urgency on a daily basis, that when we play on Sunday will give us the edge we need.’’
Trestman is a student of the game — he’s a student of everything, actually. So he has a fine appreciation for the history of the Bears and the passion of Bears fans.
‘‘Our commitment to the fans is to put together a football team that wins consistently. And when you win consistently, you play for championships,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘But to get there, it starts every day. We’ve got to battle every day. We’ve got to compete. We’ve got to create a sense of urgency in our building on a daily basis that what we’re doing now is the most important thing we can do.
‘‘We’ve got to do it in an organized and detailed fashion or we’ll fall asleep at the wheel and we’ll missing winning that day that’s going to help us get to January and February and accomplish our goal.’’