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Marc Trestman has Bears’ success all mapped out

Published: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 9:00 a.m. CST
Caption
(Photo by John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
Marc Trestman smiles while addressing reporters as the Chicago Bears' new head coach at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois, on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

(MCT) — CHICAGO — Marc Trestman is the Bears’ man with a plan — a plan so thorough, it starts with his first day on the job and ends with a Super Bowl XLVIII parade in February 2014.

Trestman delivered his first year in a 13-month calendar to Phil Emery when he was interviewed, undoubtedly appealing to the Bears general manager’s meticulous nature. An energized Emery introduced the franchise’s 14th head coach Thursday morning at Halas Hall before they spent the afternoon working to shape the new staff.

“I was impressed with his passion for the game, passion for life and I was impressed with his humility,” Chairman George McCaskey said.

When Emery set out on his search — one that included at least 14 candidates — he was looking for someone organized and passionate, and it became clear immediately his preference was a coach with an offensive background. The Bears have been inconsistent on that side of the ball through the previous three coaches, all former defensive coordinators.

“The goal is the parade,” said Trestman, who received a four-year contract, putting him on the same time frame as Emery. “It’s a symbolic word, but it’s the parade, right? Well, how are we going to get there? That was my point to Phil. So now we’ve got to fill in each day because they are all important to getting to that point. The chances of you getting there aren’t very good if you don’t have a plan to get there and a proactive daily plan.

“So it wasn’t to be presumptuous and it wasn’t even to make a point. It was just a natural thing. We’ve got to know where we are going here. The beauty of a calendar is you see the day and that focuses you in because tomorrow is not even manufactured, it’s a figment of our imagination. The only reality is today. And by working today, the next day materializes.”

Trestman’s next day will be about finding a defensive coordinator. Secondary coach Jon Hoke could be a candidate. Trestman said his first choice was to retain Rod Marinelli, who informed the Bears he was not interested.

Marinelli told candidates he would be an extension of Smith if he remained and urged Trestman to go his own direction. The Bears have said they want to maintain their defensive excellence, but they will be forced to do so without the architect, Smith, and his first lieutenant, Marinelli. That is a challenge for Trestman, who hired his fourth defensive coordinator in four years for the Alouettes in November.

The pressing issue is to overhaul the offense, and Trestman always has received high marks for his work with quarterbacks as an NFL assistant and in Canada. He’s eager to get started with Jay Cutler in what will be a pivotal season for the soon-to-be 30-year-old.

It’s fair to say Cutler’s career with the Bears is coming to a crossroads as he enters the final year of his contract, and Trestman sounded convinced they will forge a fruitful union. But he stopped short of calling Cutler a franchise quarterback, which might be a sign of tough love ahead.

“He’s in tune to where he is and where he wants to go,” Trestman said. “He understands where his strengths and his weakness are, and he wants to go forward. I can’t wait to get my hands on him and go to work with him. And I think he’s ready. We’re going to try to put a system of football and put people around him that can help him be the player that he wants to be. That’s the exciting part, and we’ll get started today.”

Trestman will be in the quarterback meeting room and will be calling the plays. The success of his first season will hinge in a big way on how he and Cutler come together.

“The formula for success for a quarterback in the National Football League is too complicated to project,” Trestman said. “The No. 1 marriage in all of sports is the marriage between his quarterback and his coach. Everything proceeds from there. There has to be a connection and an element of professional trust that you have to have.

“We don’t have that yet, certainly, but there are indications we got started in the right place. He loves football and I love football.”

Trestman often is described as cerebral, but Emery was quick to point out that doesn’t minimize his coach’s intense drive to succeed.

“Do not underestimate Marc Trestman as a competitor,” Emery said. “He’s as tough-minded and football-oriented as anybody I’ve been around in 31 years in this game. It’ll be evident when you see our team’s play with the tempo and competitiveness. That’s the kind of guy I want to be in the room with.”

Trestman talked about his passion for interacting with the players, visiting with them daily and helping them grow. He is an intellectual, but he’s going to be hands-on in the development of the roster.

“My role is simple and it’s really exciting,” he said. “I just want to be a great teacher. I want to help everyone in the locker room truly master their craft, and I’m asking nothing in return but their best efforts. I’m going to be responsible for keeping Jay and our quarterbacks safe in the pocket. I’m going to have the pulse of the team each and every day.”

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