Marc Trestman bullish on Bears’ offensive potential
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter March 26, 2014 9:26PM
Updated: April 28, 2014 10:38AM
ORLANDO, Fla. — After a couple more days in the Florida sun with his family, Bears coach Marc Trestman will get back to work constructing an offense that will always remain under construction.
Plays and their success rates will be analyzed. Certain concepts will be tweaked, while others are disbanded. Packages and plays of opposing schemes will be evaluated and potentially integrated.
The goal is improving an offense that ranked second in points scored in 2013. And the most essential element of that is the continuous improvement of quarterback Jay Cutler.
“Our goal for Jay is to be better,” Trestman said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “No. 1 is to get him through the season safely, that his durability is good, his availability is good. And then, not only him, but to get everybody to elevate their game another step.
“There’s an awareness that we have a good offense, but we feel we could have done a lot better. We left a lot out there. We’re highly critical of ourselves that we didn’t play better than we did.”
Year 1 of the Trestman-Cutler dynamic screamed potential. Cutler posted the best passer rating of his career (89.2) and was kept happy by being kept upright more than he had in his previous seasons with the Bears. He was sacked 19 times in his 11 starts.
That said, it’s crucial to keep Cutler, who just got a seven-year deal worth $54 million guaranteed, healthy after ankle and groin injuries cost him five starts last season.
“Durability and being available will be big [for Cutler], and then elevating his game,” Trestman said. “[It’s] protecting the football better, better mechanics and fundamentals, although we thought he made progress.
“Everything else in his growth will take care of itself with continuing to be conscious of protecting the football fundamentally in the pocket and after he releases the football.”
Trestman said he saw Cutler improve when it came to his progressions.
“It was clear to us that he got the ball out faster than the previous year,” Trestman said. “He was making quicker decisions. [It’s] just [being] more consistent in that area.”
Returning every offensive starter and every offensive coach will help, especially when it comes to preparation and teaching. A foundation is in place.
“Continuity is a huge key to growth,” Trestman said. “Last year it was teaching everybody the offense.”
Cutler’s role as the new face of the franchise also was closely followed by Trestman. It’s a role Trestman takes seriously.
“I can only speak for him for the ways he’s done it this year,” Trestman said. “He was exceptional over the last 12 months. I’ve watched most of his press conferences, but not all of them. I thought he handled himself honestly. He had very good demeanor and was consistent through the success that we had and the adversity that he had. I was very impressed with the way he represented our football team and have been since I’ve gotten here.”