Trestman says his players must REALLY love football
New Bears head coach Marc Trestman inherits a roster of players, most of whom have played their entire professional careers for Lovie Smith.
The defensive players have played in only one system — Smith's Cover-2.
So Trestman's first job will be getting players to buy into his system and, more importantly, getting them to buy into him as their head coach.
He can't wait to start making converts.
"I love coaching ball, and I love going into the locker room every day and being around the guys and coaching football," he said. "I love the game. They're going to feel it. As I tell our guys, 'We are going to have a team where our players want it more for each other than they want it for themselves.' We're not going to have a team that is selfish and undisciplined."
Trestman will go about it in a quieter and more cerebral way than most football coaches. There is nothing in his demeanor or reputation that suggests motivation through intimidation.
"Marc has a quietness to him; a quiet confidence," said general manager Phil Emery, the man who hired him. "(He has a) high level of intellect. Those are attractive qualities. The thing that was most remarkable, that came out in his interviews, was that there's a heck of a football coach under all that quietness and confidence and intellect.
"Do not underestimate Marc Trestman as a competitor. He's as tough-minded and football-oriented as anybody I've been around in 31 years in this game."
Although the Bears missed the playoffs this season for the fifth time in six years, they're coming off a 10-6 season and had five players voted to the Pro Bowl. So Trestman isn't coming into a kitchen with a bare cupboard.
"We will have a locker room where there are really two core values," he said. "You've got to love football in this building. Let me say it again: 'You don't have to love football, you've got to REALLY love football, and you've got to be hard working. I feel confident that I'm walking into that kind of locker room, and I feel grateful for that to be started in that situation."
Trestman will be extremely hands-on with the offense and particularly with the quarterback position. He will call the plays on offense and he will be in the quarterbacks room during meetings and with them during practices on the field.
It's his expertise on that side of the ball and specifically coaching the quarterback position that most impressed Emery during the hiring process.
Job One for Trestman is elevating quarterback Jay Cutler's level of play. The new coach hasn't had time yet to become familiar with Bears personnel, with the exception of the quarterback. He believes the importance of that position cannot be overemphasized.
"Every quarterback is special at the professional level in the National Football League," he said. "It's the most difficult position to play in all of sports. Quarterbacks have to have multiple levels of ability from a physical, mental, emotional (standpoint). It all goes hand in hand. They have to be wired to handle the chaos of a pass rush, trajectory of the football, finding the open guy amid all this chaos when people are trying to knock him down."
Yet Trestman promises his focus on the QB and the offense won't become a fixation to the point he doesn't have a firm grasp on the team as a whole.
"My role is simple, and it's really exciting," he said. "I just want to be a great teacher. I want to have the power of leadership within our coaching staff and our players. I want to help everyone in the locker room truly master their craft, and I'm asking nothing in return but their best efforts."
The Wednesday hiring of Aaron Kromer as the offensive coordinator and o-line coach was a big step in filling the offensive staff. The hiring of well-respected veteran Joe DeCamillis should keep the Bears' special teams at a high level.
But defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has decided to move on, although Trestman would have liked him to stay. Every other assistant from Lovie Smith's staff has been let go, with the exception of defensive backs coach Jon Hoke, defensive line coach Mike Phair and assistant defensive backs coach Gill Byrd, so Trestman will have work to do in putting a staff together on that side of the ball. Hoke remains a consideration for the defensive coordinator spot.
Regardless of who is hired as defensive coordinator and what scheme he runs, there are constants.
"It all starts with the quarterback, doesn't it?" Trestman said. "We've got to hurry him. We've got to hit him. We've got to knock him down. We've got to stop the run on first down, and we've got to get off the field on third down. We've got to build frustration with opposing offenses."
On both sides of the ball and on special teams, on the field and off, Trestman says he will lead the way.
"I get to do the job I have the most fun with," he said. "I get to be the team's compass and road map or, in modern terms, I get to be the GPS system of the team. Every day our team will know where we are, where we're going and how we're going to get there.
"That's the way to do it, one day at a time, so they can focus on doing one thing, and that's winning the day."
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