The last decade of Bears football had brought a shocking reality on game day.
The coaching staff’s inability to adjust — to the opponent, its own personnel or the elements, to name a few — was hopelessly apparent.
Bears coaches stubbornly stayed the course, while the NFL searched for highways in the sky and soared to new heights.
The Bears were a covered wagon in a Prometheus world.
Lovie Smith stared at the skies, searching for that elusive spaceship, even as opponents built nuclear-powered rockets and blasted into a new era, always with an eye toward innovation.
That is all the rage in the NFL these days, adjusting and adapting, confusing and designing, disrupting and corrupting.
Teams are never satisfied and the opposition never comfortable.
If nothing else, that has been Marc Trestman’s life for the last 30 years, as he’s made 13 different stops in football.
That is reason enough to wonder if he’s the right man for the Bears’ head-coaching job, but also reason to believe he’s the right man for the job.
It’s fair to consider why he hasn’t stayed in one NFL place very long, and it’s also reasonable to think no one would be more prepared to change a football organization that needs so very much change.
As the Bears introduced him Thursday at Halas Hall as their new head coach, Trestman said he “took a leap of faith” when he left the U.S. to coach in the CFL, no longer focused on becoming an NFL head coach or thinking it would happen, but believing it was the right thing to do at the time.
Similarly, Bears GM Phil Emery has now jumped off a modern-sized cliff himself. It’s a gamble, undoubtedly, but the last time the Bears took a chance like this it was on an unsophisticated, untamed special-teams coach from Dallas, and Mike Ditka remains the only coach to win a Super Bowl in this city.
Trestman is sophisticated, perhaps to a fault in the eyes of some NFL teams, thinking of the “science of football,” and maybe that’s why he hadn’t been hired to run a team before Emery gave him the chance this week.
And though choosing a coach who’s been out of the country the last five years is certainly a risk, maybe risk is exactly what the Bears needed after 20 years of Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron and Lovie Smith.
Maybe a man with no preconceived notions about the roster is exactly the right guy for Emery, who has superiority over Trestman both in title and knowledge of the league, and no longer has to subjugate himself to the head coach, as he did with Lovie Smith.
That time has passed, and long since passed is the need for a 21st-century offense.
There wasn’t much to be gleaned from the unveiling of Trestman to Bears fans Thursday, but the new head coach revealed himself as eternally flexible, which is a huge and welcome difference from Bears coaches of the past two decades.
Trestman has ideas he wants to implement, but he won’t force a rounded offense into a squared personnel package. There are things he wants to do, but he also knows there are things he won’t be able to accomplish until Emery can alter the roster.
From what he said, it’s clear he wants to find out if he can make Jay Cutler better before deciding he can’t.
He wants to make life better for Cutler by getting him a smarter game plan, better protection and a quicker release.
Trestman’s history in Montreal — and that of Aaron Kromer’s in New Orleans — is that of cutting down on sacks by huge numbers, if for no other reason than a better scheme and faster quarterback decisions.
And since he will be calling the plays — the most important fact we learned Thursday — Trestman will have every opportunity to make something more of Cutler.
Other than that, there wasn’t much news, though Trestman appeared as a thoughtful individual who is not likely to get backed into a corner.
He is tactful when not answering questions, and while he said in his autobiography that the press is not his friend, he said he knows the media is the “conduit” to the fans, and understands the importance of using his opportunities at the microphone to communicate with the paying customer.
Otherwise, he gave away very little, and made no promises about coaches or players.
He did say he’s happy about one big change from the CFL to the NFL.
“I’m excited about having four downs now to get a first down,” Trestman said, “instead of three.”
Once he sees film of the Bears’ offense, he will find out quickly that without major changes, four won’t be enough.
But that is, after all, why Emery hired Trestman.
Gamble and all.
ŸHear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.