Trestman happy, but stresses there's still work to do
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While happy to get a victory in his first game as Bears head coach, Marc Trestman said Monday that there's still plenty of room for improvement.
As football problems go, overconfidence isn't a bad one for a head coach to have.
Marc Trestman, with a victory in his Bears debut, is aware that puffed-up chests and peacock-like strutting are pitfalls for his team to avoid.
Fortunately, on Monday Trestman was able to point out to his team plenty of areas in need of improvement, even in the wake of their impressive 24-21 opening-day victory over a Cincinnati Bengals team many consider a Super Bowl contender.
"We really appreciated winning the game because it's so hard to win in the (NFL)," Trestman said. "But we're not going to get ahead of ourselves. Our feet are on the ground. Our eyes are wide open.
"Players get to appreciate the game for the rest of (Monday), and then they've got to get on their iPads and start looking at Minnesota."
Several concerns should keep the Bears humble enough as they prepare to host the NFC North rival Vikings in Week 2.
"We've got to improve defensively," Trestman said. "We didn't do a good job of getting off the field. We've got to limit their explosive plays; (127) yards of their offense was on (four) plays."
Those four plays were Andy Dalton-to-A.J. Green passes of 45, 42, 21 and 19 yards, all before halftime. That's why the Bengals were able to gash the Bears for touchdown drives of 97 and 91 yards in the first half.
The Bears sacked Dalton just once and rarely pressure him throughout the afternoon, which some players attributed to the Bengals' quarterback getting rid of the ball quickly. But that's not the way Trestman saw it.
"We've got to get more pressure with the four-man rush," the Bears' coach said.
The offense has its own issues. As impressive as the O-line was in keeping Jay Cutler clean, it didn't create much running room.
"Our running game is not where we want it to be," Trestman said. "Matt (Forte) had 19 rushes; I don't think we got to 3 yards a carry."
They didn't. Forte totaled just 50 yards on the ground with a long run of 9 yards for a 2.6-yard average. Michael Bush's numbers weren't any better (15 yards on six attempts for a 2.5-yard average).
As a team the Bears ran for 81 yards on 28 attempts, a 2.9-yard average.
"There were no explosive plays," Trestman said. "We've got to do a better job for Matt of running the football."
The Bears' longest run was Cutler's 18-yard scramble.
Trestman had plenty of praise for Cutler's big plays, the protection provided by the offensive line, Martellus Bennett's TD catch and Robbie Gould's 58-yard field goal. But he wants players to keep individual successes in perspective.
"The No. 1 thing is, you have to be humble in success," the coach said. "Not being meek, but (understanding) that everybody had a part in the victory, and it wasn't about you.
"It's the ultimate team sport, and teams that win consistently are humble in success.
"They recognize that (individually) they're not the reason that we won; (it's) because everybody else had their back. Everybody else stepped up and became a great teammate for them, and they did the same for the rest of them."
Just as Trestman downplayed the importance of winning his first game as an NFL head coach, he said players shouldn't dwell too long on one win. It's on to the next challenge and time to get better.
"That's how it kind of works," Trestman said. "Teams that have humility have a chance. If you start getting 'success flu' along the way, that's a tough way to go.
"We've got work to do. We have to get better as a football team. Our guys know it. They're a smart group of guys; they'll keep their feet on the ground and hopefully we'll go back to work and not really be concerned with (last) Sunday on Wednesday, just (about) getting better as a football team."
If they forget, Trestman will be there to remind them.
•Follow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.
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