Weather Updates

Bears’ Marc Trestman is already an upgrade over Lovie Smith

The Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman during practice Halas Hall Lake Forest Ill. Wednesday April 17 2013. | Andrew

The Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman during practice at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 49199206
tmspicid: 17822831
fileheaderid: 8028251

Updated: May 14, 2013 9:00PM

Center James Ferentz was raised by a football coach — a pretty good one, too. But even the coach’s kid learned something new at the Bears’ rookie mini-camp last weekend.

‘‘There are some techniques here that I learned that can be applied to any offense, just subtle, little things. Realistic things that actually happen in a game,’’ said Ferentz, the son of renowned Iowa coach and perennial NFL coaching candidate Kirk Ferentz who partcipated in the mini-camp on a tryout basis. ‘‘Practicing, getting beat and how to react after that — some things that we never spent time on at Iowa. So it was cool to learn some things like that. And I’ll be able to take that back and apply it to my game.’’

Ferentz didn’t make the cut and will not be at training camp with the Bears. But Jordan Mills will be. The offensive tackle from Louisiana Tech, a fifth-round draft pick, can’t wait to get started after the three-day mini-camp.

‘‘On my pass [protection], they’re teaching me how to take little steps,’’ Mills said. ‘‘’In college, I would take big steps. I learned how to take little steps and let the man come to me and not always go and attack the man when you don’t have to.’’

Mills aid he learned that from offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and offensive line coach Pat Meyer.

‘‘Coach Kromer and coach Meyer, they preach it hard. Every time you’re settin’ and you lunge a little big — take little steps and stay on your instep you should be fine. You’re always going to have a base and be in a position to win.’’

Every coach who ever lived thinks he’s a teacher, so the emphasis is nothing new. But even to the naked eye, just watching Bears head coach Marc Trestman and his staff from the sidelines in a mini-camp, it’s easy to see just how serious these guys are about it. And to watch the efficiency and pace of practice, it’s easy to see that these guys already have gotten their point across. They work fast and they get done early. That doesn’t happen every day in the NFL.

If Marc Trestman is going to be an upgrade over Lovie Smith, this is how it’s going to happen. Trestman, Kromer and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker are almost manic about teaching and seem to have a knack for getting through where other coaches do not. As Lovie himself would say, it’s as simple as that.

The Bears’ 2013 draft class was given mostly Cs by the experts — no better than most of the draft classes that helped get Jerry Angelo fired. But one factor the draft experts rarely if ever take into account when analyzing the draft stock of a player is who gets to coach him.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace both were drafted by teams using picks they acquired by the Bears. Does anybody think either player would be the star he became if the Bears actually drafted him? This was a coaching staff that added the best wide receiver in franchise history with the best quarterback the Bears have had since Sid Luckman and saw its offense [ital] get worse [end ital]. No offense, but that’s hard to do.

Just a hunch, but I would submit that rookies Kyle Long, Mills and wide receiver Marquess Wilson are better prospects for the Bears this year than they would have been last year. Trestman and his staff still have to pass bigger tests to pass. But so far, they look like an upgrade.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.