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New Bears coach Trestman eager to work with Cutler

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New Bears coach Trestman eager to work with Cutler

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Marc Trestman had it all mapped out, right up to the Chicago Bears' championship parade. It was there on the calendar.

In his first interview for their head coaching job, he had every day for the next 13 months filled in, detailing step by step how the Bears would get to the Super Bowl.

``He had every day accounted for, every time slot accounted for, every meeting accounted for,'' general manager Phil Emery said.

``Not only that, but he had included the provisions of our (collective bargaining agreement) in the states, which takes a nuclear scientist to figure out exactly what you can do. He had called so many people, his friends in the league, he knew all the parameters of the CBA.''

Now that he's been hired, Trestman can implement his plan.

He said the Bears' job is one of the best in sports and he can't wait to work with quarterback Jay Cutler.

``This is clearly a franchise that has the highest expectations for its team, where winning consistently is a standard,'' Trestman said Thursday at his introductory news conference.

He wasn't trying to be presumptuous or make any championship guarantees with that calendar. He was simply trying to make a point.

``It's a symbolic word, but the goal is the parade, right?'' Trestman said. ``How are we going to get there? If you don't know where you're going, how can you plan how to get there? That was my point to Phil. We have to fill in each day because they're all important to getting to that point.''

He sees a big opportunity in working with Cutler, a strong-armed and mobile quarterback whose talent has never been in question even as the results haven't always reflected that.

``I can't wait to get my hands on him,'' he said.

Getting the most out of Cutler would go a long way toward invigorating a stagnant offense and getting the Bears to the playoffs on a consistent basis after they missed the postseason for the fifth time in six years. Those issues led to Lovie Smith's firing, and the Bears turned to Trestman this week after an extensive search.

He spent the past five seasons coaching the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, leading them to two championships, and was a longtime NFL assistant who was known for his work with quarterbacks.

``Marc has a quietness to him, a quiet confidence, high level of intellect, those are attractive qualities,'' Emery said. ``The thing that was most remarkable that came out of his interviews and when discussing to people who Marc is was there is a heck of a football coach under all that quietness and confidence and intellect.

``Do not underestimate Marc Trestman as a competitor. He's as tough-minded and football-oriented than anybody I've been around in 31 years in this game.''

Emery confirmed Trestman beat out offensive coordinators Bruce Arians of Indianapolis and Seattle's Darrell Bevell for the job. All three were brought back for second interviews, and Bevell was the first eliminated from that group because he lacked head coaching experience.

Emery cited Trestman's flexibility and success at various stops in the NFL and CFL.

He was an offensive coordinator with Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland. He worked with Bernie Kosar as an assistant at the University of Miami and again when he was on the Browns' staff in the 1980s. Trestman helped the Raiders reach the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season with an offense he geared for Rich Gannon, the league's MVP that year.

One of Trestman's most immediate tasks will be to build a connection with Cutler. They actually spent time together for a few days in North Carolina when the quarterback was coming out of Vanderbilt in 2006.

Trestman, who in recent years worked as an NFL consultant and helped QBs entering the league, was asked about that.

``I had the chance to meet with Jay 10 years ago in a hotel room in Raleigh, N.C.,'' he said. ``It was raining. We had no facility, we had no receivers. So we basically sat in a room for two days and stared at each other. It was a difficult environment to try to get the most out of somebody. When I sat with him, I found out he had some very core capabilities. He was tough, he was smart, and he loved football. I had the opportunity to meet with him a couple days ago. He's a different guy. He's in tune to where he is and where he wants to go.''

Does he see Cutler as a franchise quarterback? Trestman sidestepped the question.

He said Cutler ``loves football'' and ``wants to do everything he can to help this franchise.'' He added they'll work with a ``sense of urgency to get him to be the guy that he wants to be and we want him to be.'' But he did not use that term - franchise quarterback.

``He wants Jay to earn that in his eyes,'' said Emery, who has called Cutler a franchise QB. ``That's OK, I'm good with that.''

Cutler has one year left on his contract, and the Bears have to decide if he can lead them to the top. Since he arrived in Chicago in 2009, he's taken a beating behind a struggling offensive line and lacked a go-to receiver until Brandon Marshall arrived this season.

He'll also be working in his fourth system with the Bears, with Trestman calling the plays and Aaron Kromer hired from New Orleans to replace Mike Tice as offensive coordinator and serve as line coach.

The Bears also brought in Joe DeCamillis from Dallas to replace Dave Toub as special teams coordinator. Now, they're looking for a new defensive coordinator to replace Rod Marinelli after he decided not to return.

They also announced Thursday night that they were letting Tice, Bob Babich (linebackers), Jeremy Bates (quarterbacks), Mike DeBord (tight ends), Darryl Drake (receivers), Tim Holt (offensive line) and Tim Spencer (running backs) go.

On defense, it's not clear if the Bears will switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 formation. Trestman is open to change, but he also realizes the Bears' defense ranked among the league's best this past season.

``They have excellent football players and they've been well-coached,'' Trestman said. ``I don't know the personnel on our football team right now. So to answer the question is premature. If you ask me 3-4 months from now, I'll be in a much better position to answer that question.''

Another issue on defense: Brian Urlacher's future. The eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker has an expiring contract and missed the last four games with a hamstring injury after being limited by a knee problem.

``This guy's been a great player for this team,'' Trestman said. ``I recognize, certainly, what he's meant to this locker room and to the fan base of Chicago. When we get done here, we'll begin to try to answer some of those questions.''

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Capitals vs. Pengiuns Preview: Three keys to how this year could be different for the Caps

Capitals vs. Pengiuns Preview: Three keys to how this year could be different for the Caps

The Washington Capitals enter the 2018 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Second Round in a similar position. A Metro division championship in hand and a seven-game series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But while this year appears the same, the Caps are hoping for a different outcome. Will they finally be able to beat their arch rival and reach the conference final?

Here are three keys that will determine if this year will be different for the Caps.

Capitals vs. Penguins Preview:

Key to Victory No. 1: Discipline:

In the Capitals' two victories over the Penguins this season, Washington did not give up a power play goal. No team had a better power play unit during the regular season than the Penguins and we already saw how much foolish penalties hurt the Caps in the first round. Washington took 24 penalties in six games against the Blue Jackets and that is far too many.

They cannot win that way against the Penguins.

The problem is that in the second round with a heated rival, tempers can flare a bit. Just look at the last time these two teams played when Malkin was shooting Oshie's stick off the ice and tried to fight Kuznetsov for speaking Russian to him. Still, the Caps are going to have to keep their emotions in check.

Key to Victory No. 2:  Getting the goaltending advantage: 

The scoring depth of Pittsburgh is unmatched. The fact that a team can have Crosby, Malkin and Kessel all on the same team in the salary cap era is mind-boggling. Oh, and by the way, Jake Guentzel scores every time he touches the puck in the playoffs. Washington cannot win this series if they do not get better goaltending than Pittsburgh.

The good news is that Murray was not lights out in the first round. Yes, he had two shutouts, but there were also three games in which he let in at least four goals. A .911 save percentage is not where the Penguins really need him to be. The bad news is that while Holtby is statistically one of the best playoff netminders in NHL history, he struggles against Pittsburgh. In last year's series, Holtby managed only a .887 save percentage and 2.57 GAA.

One thing to keep in mind, on April 1 Grubauer started a critical game in Pittsburgh and was phenomenal. Could Trotz possibly think of going back to Grubauer if Holtby struggles against the Penguins?

Keys to Victory No. 3: The Mind Games

 Let's face it, there is a mental aspect to the Capitals' postseason struggles. When it comes to beating Pittsburgh or getting past the second round, this has become a mental hurdle. They have to come into this series with confidence they can win and maintain that confidence throughout, regardless of whether they get down in a game or in the series, regardless of whether there is a bad penalty call, regardless of whether Murray stands on his head again, regardless of any of the struggles they may face, they have to stay mentally confident.

When the Caps went down 0-2 against Columbus, Ovechkin said that the series would return to Washington tied at 2. The way he said it, it wasn't a guarantee or some massive proclamation, it was a statement of fact. Both he and the rest of the team believed they were going to come back and win the series. They need that level of confidence against Pittsburgh as well.

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Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

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Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

If you want to sign Dez Bryant in 2018, it will have to be on a one-year deal.

The 29 year-old wide receiver turned down a multi-year offer from the Baltimore Ravens in hopes of finding a one-year deal that enables him to test the open market again in 2019, Ed Werder of The Doomsday Podcast first reported.

Bryant - who finished 2017 with 69 receptions, 838 yards and six touchdowns -  is predicating a bounce back season in 2018 with hopes of a big money, long-term contract in 2019.

The offer was similar to that of Michael Crabtree's three-year, $21 million deal, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport. The Ravens had to offer Bryant a multi-year deal in order to fit his number under the salary cap.

Since turning down their offer, the Ravens signed former Saints WR Willie Snead to a two-year, $10.4 million contract. 

Bryant will now have to wait until after the 2018 NFL Draft to work out a deal with an organization, if one is still searching for a wide receiver going in to the tail end of his career. 

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