After a number of interviews, the Chicago Bears have hired a head coach, reaching into the CFL for Marc Trestman of the Montreal Alouettes.
You read that right.
General Manager Phil Emery took what the Chicago Tribune called “a swing for the fences,” announcing the hire shortly after 4 a.m.
The choice is bold and unconventional, but Trestman is highly regarded in the NFL and not just because he won back-to-back Grey Cups and was 64-34 in five years with the Alouettes. Trestman is a respected offensive mind with NFL experience who will take the Bears in a different direction, something Emery clearly was seeking. He tipped his hand when he fired Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season and passed over Bruce Arians (the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator and presumptive coach of the year) as well as 11 others who reportedly interviewed for the job.
Trestman, 57, has a reputation for successfully developing quarterbacks, and he’ll be challenged to improve Jay Cutler’s performance. Trestman, during his days working for Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami, was Bernie Kosar’s quarterbacks coach. Steve Young, Scott Mitchell, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon played under him, with Gannon winning the 2002 MVP award under Trestman with the Oakland Raiders. Trestman also served as a consultant to Cutler before the 2006 scouting combine as well as Jason Campbell and Tim Tebow.
“The skill set that Marc has, being an offensive mind, and then his great relationships that he’s had with quarterbacks historically in the NFL and the work he’s done with them makes him a good fit for the job,” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp told Brad Biggs and Dan Pompei of the Tribune.
“A lot of guys want to be head coaches. Some leave the NFL to go to NCAA schools, and then once they’ve proven themselves, all of a sudden those college coaches are some of the hot commodities to be an NFL coach. It’s no different. Coach Trestman has run a professional team as a head coach for five years. He’s had a winning record for five years. He’s proven himself as a head coach at a professional level. You can call it what you want, but on-hand training as a head coach and proof goes a long way, goes a real long way. You can’t replace that.”
Gannon praised Trestman, who spent a few years away from coaching in the early 1990s after getting a law degree from Miami, for “his ability to listen” as he works with quarterbacks.
“He takes feedback. Marc has always been the type of guy who can sit down with you and talk about things. What do you like about this? What don’t you like?” Gannon said “His feedback is excellent. And he has an ability to be honest with you. Somebody needs to be honest with Jay Cutler.”