Bears players react to team's changes

For the second time in as many years, Bears players are waiting to see who their new coach will be.

Marc Trestman's firing on Monday came two days short of two years after Lovie Smith was fired on Dec. 31, 2012.

"It's nothing new to me personally," said defensive tackle Stephen Paea. "We're sad to have a great coach leaving after a 5-11 season. I wish the best for him."

Paea can become a free agent on March 10, and he's coming off the best of his four seasons with a chance to cash in on the open market. This season he was third on the Bears with 6 sacks and tied for third with 14 quarterback pressures.

"I don't know if I'm going to come back here next year," said Paea, a 2011 second-round pick. "Wherever the journey takes me, I did my best to do my job, just trying to make a living. I want to come back to Chicago. Best fans, best media, best teammates. It's home for me, so I'd love to come back."

Cornerback Tim Jennings, who had 13 interceptions in the previous two seasons and went to the Pro Bowl both years, did not have an interception in 2014. He said coaches shouldn't be blamed for the team's lack of success.

"It's always players," Jennings said. "We're playing the game. Coaches make the calls, we execute them. It's never a coach when things are going wrong on the field. I would never put that on a coach because we are out there to execute the plays.

"No way I would point the finger at coaches making the wrong decision or the wrong call because we, as players, have to go out there and make the plays we're supposed to make. You (the media) can point the finger at the coaches, but as a player you can't ever say that."

Jennings spent four seasons with the Colts and speculated that change, though difficult, is best for everyone. "I feel bad for anybody that leaves this organization from the players on down," Jennings said. "You never want a guy to leave that you spent some time with, that you played your heart out for. It's always a sad day to see a guy leave.

"But you can look at it as another great opportunity. Sometimes it takes a change for you to figure out where you're really supposed to be. It happened for me, leaving Indianapolis and coming here. So it could work out for the best."

Tight end Martellus Bennett came into the Bears organization with Trestman and put up Pro Bowl-worthy numbers this season (90 receptions for 916 yards and 6 touchdowns) in Trestman's offense. But he sensed a change was coming.

"We all knew some decisions, some adjustments, some things were going to happen, but we didn't know what they were going to be," Bennett said. "You just try to deal with it as it comes."

Bennett was asked if the right decision was made regarding Trestman. "I have no idea," he said. "I don't evaluate coaches, I don't evaluate staffs. I just go out and play."

Guard Kyle Long has made the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons, but the Bears went just 13-19.

"You can't really be surprised, especially when you're 5-11 (this year)," Long said. "The abundance of talent that we have, it leaves you confused, you're kind of at a loss for words sometimes.

"But stuff like this happens in the NFL."

Monday it happened at Halas Hall.

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