The news that the Bears hired Marc Trestman, most recently of the Canadian Football League, was met first with confusion, then acceptance when everyone remembered his success in the NFL as an offensive coordinator. After all, it's Chicago's offense that needs an overhaul, and that's something Lovie Smith could never do.
Trestman's resume includes helping the Jake Plummer-led Cardinals to the postseason in 1998, and he was the coordinator when Rich Gannon and the Raiders went to the Super Bowl following the 2002 season. Now, after five years in Canada, Trestman is back and almost everybody is optimistic that he's exactly what the Bears need.
Take Tim Brown, for example. During an appearance Wednesday on the Waddle & Silvy Show (ESPN Radio in Chicago), the former Raiders wide receiver said he was "shocked" to learn Trestman got the job.
“I don't want to say it was a joke, but I just never saw Trestman as being a head coach,” Brown admitted.
This is where we point out that Brown isn't exactly an unbiased observer.
“The year he took over as offensive coordinator is also the year my reign with the Raiders ended because he made Jerry [Rice] the No. 1 receiver instead of myself,” Brown said. “The year before I made the Pro Bowl and caught [91 passes for 1,165 yards] … and the year afterwards, the year he takes over I think I came like 50 yards from catching 1,000 yards in 10 or 11 straight seasons.
“Hey, look, I'm not a selfish player, but come on, if I put the work in, make this happen for me. We had some interesting words about that part of it.”
Everyone, including Brown, says Trestman knows football. But Brown wonders if the coach will be able to relate to his players.
“He's a really smart guy, knows football like the back of his hand. That's not the issue,” said Brown. “But there's a lot more to coaching than just Xs and Os. You have to be able to deal with players and that's the reason [former Raiders coach] Bill Callahan hasn't succeeded as a head coach because he's a smart guy, knows football like the back of his hand, but when it comes to leading me, it's a totally different intangible you have to have. It's going to be very interesting to see how [Trestman] and Jay Cutler get along, that's for sure.”
It can't get any worse than this, can it? (And don't forget: the Bears still won 10 games.)
In news that should surprise no one, Rice thinks Trestman will do well in Chicago.
According to ESPN's Michael Wright, Rice joked that if Trestman "had thrown me the ball more," he would've gotten a coaching job sooner. Like Brown, Rice said Trestman "has a great mind for the game," but added that he thinks the Bears' new coach can take Cutler's game "to a whole different level."
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