Marc Trestman won’t let Bears get complacent, wants to see improvement
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter September 26, 2013 9:07PM
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Updated: September 29, 2013 1:28PM
Don’t mention the 2006 season when the Bears reached the Super Bowl. Or even 2010 when they won the division and went to the NFC Championship Game. Or any other time the Bears went 3-0 to open a season.
They mean very little to coach Marc Trestman.
“We’re not 3-0; we’re 0-0, and this [game Sunday against the Lions] is Game 1 of 13,” Trestman said Thursday. “That’s the reality of it all. We’ve got to focus on getting better each day, and on Sunday we play Game 1 of the season. That’s how it is. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel here. There are no guarantees at the end of the tunnel — that 3-0 isn’t getting us anywhere. It’s giving us a chance. That’s what it’s doing. Just like hard work each week doesn’t guarantee us we’re going to win, but it gives us a chance.”
That’s what Trestman says to temper his players’ emotions at this high-flying time and keep them focused on the Lions. The aim is to progress as a team, especially offensively.
As much as Trestman is known for his quarterback-whispering ways, he’s also a perfect example of staying even-keeled. His approach is the antidote for self-satisfaction and letdowns. There are incessant reminders, whether via personal text messages or when he addresses the team for several minutes after each practice.
Just consider how Trestman looks at his offense. There are a lot of positives to draw from. The offensive line, with two rookies on one side, has kept Jay Cutler clean, allowing only three sacks. As a result, Cutler’s mechanics have improved, and he has become lethal in fourth quarters and is spreading the wealth to his receivers. And running back Matt Forte is blossoming just as much as Cutler in the offense.
But Trestman said the Bears’ offense has to improve on everything.
“We’ve got a system that is just evolving,” he said. “We really don’t know who we are yet and where we’re going with this thing. Every week is somewhat of an experiment in terms of how we can get better concept-wise, running the football, getting to know our personnel, what they can do in certain situations.”
The experimental element keeps the offense on its toes.
There are just too many facets to improve on, whether it’s the 3.8 yards per rush or getting outscored 51-30 in the second and third quarters.
“We all just have to keep working in the same direction,” Cutler said. “We’re all learning as we go. Marc’s learning more and more about us, about what we like, what we’re good at, what we feel comfortable with. Each week we can build on that. We can’t take giant steps from week to week. We just have to take small steps, and hopefully by the end of the year, we’re where we want to be.”
Of course, the special teams and defense also have to be tuned in for the project to work. And it’s on defense where some of the longest-tenured Bears reside.
Does the 3-0 start under Trestman compare to 2006?
“It’s just three wins,” linebacker Lance Briggs said. “Three wins isn’t going to get you into the playoffs, so we need to keep etching away.”