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updated: 12/30/2013 7:32 PM

Trestman easy to like but difficult to love

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  • Bears coach Marc Trestman often answers questions after games by saying he'll know more tomorrow. Mike Imrem says, "OK, coach, tell us tomorrow what you know -- but tell us today what you think."

      Bears coach Marc Trestman often answers questions after games by saying he'll know more tomorrow. Mike Imrem says, "OK, coach, tell us tomorrow what you know -- but tell us today what you think."
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

The one thing Marc Trestman indicated during his first season as Bears' head coach is that he's going to have to win and win big to be embraced fully around here.

Some coaches can buy patience with their style; Trestman probably can't with his. He'll get better as a coach but the rest is what he is and will be.

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Trestman simply isn't edgy enough, which is admirable in other professions but not in football around here.

When the Bears were searching for a head coach last winter, there was an attribute that would have been nice for the new guy to have.

It wasn't a requirement above all of those a head coach should provide. It was more a luxury option.

I wanted the head coach of the Chicago Bears -- the Monsters of the Midway -- to fill the room with his mere presence.

Not just fill the locker room or the interview room. Fill every room that he walks into as soon as he walks into it.

Marc Trestman, the man who was hired, doesn't exactly fill that description.

The guy comes across as so unassuming that he's easy to like as a person but difficult to love as a Bears' coach.

So other than a Super Bowl title, what'll it take for Trestman to go to the next level of acceptance? I'm afraid it's something he doesn't have in him: A Windy City bluster that reflects Chicago's defiance of winter and other local challenges.

Think back a couple weeks when there was a question of whether certain NFL coaches would rest their starters if the game didn't matter in the playoff picture. Eagles coach Chip Kelly dismissed the idea by saying, "We're from Philadelphia ... We fight."

You think the fellas sitting on bar stools in South Philly didn't turn to each other and clank beer bottles over that one? Ever since Trestman arrived here I have been waiting to hear him blurt something like that.

Trestman is so easy to like because he's so respectful and so reluctant to offend. Meanwhile, he's so difficult to love because, well, he's so respectful and so reluctant to offend.

Everything is so measured that it would be refreshing to hear Trestman be spontaneous. Please, don't take all this as wanting him to be another Mike Ditka. He can't be. Nobody can be. Iron Mike was one of a kind.

Still, even if a Chicago coach or manager has to apologize occasionally, he still should be just a little more irritable and gruff than Trestman has been.

Once in awhile it would be all right if Trestman were like a construction worker who just had a steel beam dropped on his foot, a car salesman who just watched a customer drive off in the heap he drove in, or a sports writer who just found out his deadline was an hour earlier.

Grunt, grimace, grouse.

At some point Trestman must have been angry at -- not just disappointed in -- one of his players or an opponent or a game official or a reporter or a circumstance or something or anything.

Yet Trestman always was so under control. Beat the Ravens in overtime, lose to the Eagles 54-11 ... the words varied but the tone and expression were consistent.

Trestman's bosses believe his even temper is one of his greatest qualities. They and their players know what to expect day to day, game to game and play to play.

Borrrrrrrrring.

Trestman often answers questions after games by saying he'll know more tomorrow. OK, coach, tell us tomorrow what you know -- but tell us today what you think.

The impression always has been that Chicago loves sports figures who not only have a fire burning internally -- which Trestman has -- but a willingness to let it flare externally.

Short of doing that, Marc Trestman will have to win big sooner than later to persuade Bears fans to love him.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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