Bears' Trestman remains steadfast in his decisions
Praise Bears coach Marc Trestman, and he deflects it.
Ask him how vital his role is as a leader, and he downplays it.
But, make no mistake about it, when Trestman makes a decision, it's not negotiable.
Take, for instance, the decision to return quarterback Jay Cutler to the starting lineup as soon as he was sufficiently healed from a sprained ankle.
Trestman decided that was the correct course of action from the get-go and, no matter how well super-sub Josh McCown performed, the coach was sticking with his plan.
While Cutler polled team leaders to gauge their level of support for his return, Trestman did not.
"I did not talk to anybody," the coach said. "The decision we made to start Jay (vs. the Browns) was made almost immediately after the Detroit game (when he was injured), as you well know. That hadn't changed.
"I didn't talk to the coaches. I made the statement, and that's what we decided to do."
By "we," Trestman means "I," in this case. He was asked what he did to gauge the temperature of the locker room before making the move back to Cutler. He said no thermometer was necessary.
"I didn't take any temperature," Trestman said. "I didn't. I stayed resolute in that I felt it was in the best interest of the team from the beginning to make sure that everybody knew the direction that we were going to go, so I did not do that in any way."
The decision, and Trestman's steadfast adherence to his original plan resonated with his team.
"It just goes to show he's a man of his word," said veteran offensive left tackle Jermon Bushrod. "He said he was going to do something, and it didn't make a difference how the situation with Josh turned out. He was just being true to his team, true to his word, and that means a lot to our team. The way it played out, it all worked out.
"Josh got our offense going and helped put us in the position that we're in. Jay came back in, and he just stepped up. He got things rolling. We hit a little adversity, but that's what the game of football is."
That inevitable adversity and, more important, overcoming it is something Trestman has preached to his team. If adversity is expected, and there's a plan in place to weather it, there's no need for panic, which is something that hasn't been seen from Trestman, his staff or his players.
Still, when asked specifically about the value of his leadership with the players, Trestman is matter of fact.
"I don't overestimate the importance of any of this," he said. "There's a job to do, and the job is to create the environment each and every day to succeed, and I don't try to make anything more of that."
Cutler and others have praised Trestman's play-calling. The Bears are No. 2 in scoring, No. 7 in total yards per game and third-down efficiency, No. 3 in yards per play, No. 5 in passing yards per game and yards per pass, No. 6 in passer rating and tied for No. 4 in average gain per run.
Cutler says Trestman is "in a zone," when it comes to dialing up the right play at the right time. Trestman shifts the praise elsewhere.
"I think the players play, and the players make the plays," he said. "I don't give too much credit for the play-call itself. I think at the end of the day, the guys are out there doing the work. When you call a play and everybody does what they're supposed to do, most of (the plays) work. It's not really the play-call. It's the players."
That's not all there is to it, according to Bushrod, who gives Trestman a lot more credit.
"Week in and week out he and the rest of the coaching staff put us in position to win games," the veteran lineman said. "And that's all we really want. He's going to try to put us in the right positions to make plays, and he's done a great job. He's been the same way since training camp, and we're just going to continue to build on this deal."
So far, the construction has resulted in a first-place team on the verge of a playoff berth.
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