Alouettes GM confident Bears made right choice with Trestman


Alouettes GM confident Bears made right choice with Trestman

Marc Trestman's former boss has no doubts the Bears found the best candidate possible.

Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp joined the Jarrett Payton show on Wednesday to discuss the Bears' hire and how Trestman's performance as the head coach of the CFL team prepared him for his new position in Chicago.

"What you have with Marc Trestman is a very good human being who wants to see everyone do well. He's about working hard and he's about preparation," Popp said. "He's going to be a gentleman that will get your attention, be a friend to the veterans and get the most out of them. He prepares for a game like he's going into a courtroom. He leaves nothing unturned and he's going to coach the hell out of the players."

The main focus of those preparations will be centered around quarterback Jay Cutler. Trestman's offensive mindset differs from the way Lovie Smith coached the team, and Bears general manager Phil Emery felt Trestman's system is what the Bears need in order to achieve their goals next season and well into the future.

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"He will take Jay Cutler and he will get the best out of him, but the entire system will be built around Cutler," Popp explained. "There are some great quarterbacks that can do great things athletically, and what I do know is the Bears have a quarterback in the pocket to make all the throws. Jay's capable of that. Marc will devise something for Jay and they'll be successful in the offensive end."

That plan was music to Emery's ears, as the Bears GM was said to have executed a highly-detailed interview process to fill the team's head coaching position. Up until Trestman was offered the job, Popp played a major role in his former coach's interview process.

"I was contacted by the Bears up until last night," Popp explained. "We had very extensive talks. I think one of the things the Bears can say they did was throughout background investigations and I think Phil Emery will be the first to tell you Marc was well-prepared and well-organized for this job and probably is more experienced than others he interviewed for the job."

Will the Bears field a top-20 fantasy football running back this season?

Will the Bears field a top-20 fantasy football running back this season?

Fantasy football leagues around the country are beginning to schedule their drafts, and as is the case in every league regardless of the scoring format, running backs will be a hot commodity.

The elite running backs -- Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and Saquon Barkley -- are easy picks at the top of Round 1. But finding value at the position in the next couple of rounds is where league titles are won. Will David Montgomery be one of those guys? 

According to the analytics experts at Pro Football Focus, he might be. PFF is projecting Montgomery to be a top-20 running back in PPR (points per reception) leagues.

Another 250-plus touches seem more than reasonable for Montgomery in 2020. This number, like most statistical thresholds, is fairly arbitrary, but there has been a strong history of success from players that manage to reach this “milestone.” Overall, only nine out of 153 RBs with at least 250 touches in a season failed to finish better than the PPR RB24. Yes, 2019 featured three of those players in Montgomery himself, Carlos Hyde and Sony Michel, but the potential for the Bears' featured back to continue to improve his efficiency and pass-game role adds a bit more of a ceiling for 2020.

This seems like a logical projection for Montgomery, who currently has an average draft position (ADP) of RB21 (49th overall). That equates to an early fifth-round pick in 12-team leagues.

Running backs who are being drafted just ahead of Montgomery are David Johnson (Texans), Melvin Gordon (Broncos), Chris Carson (Seahawks) and even Todd Gurley (Falcons).

Fantasy owners who draft Montgomery would be wise to target Tarik Cohen as his handcuff. He can be had much later in fantasy leagues; he's coming off the board as the 42nd running back and 145th player overall.

PFF says Roquan Smith is "still trying to find consistency"

PFF says Roquan Smith is "still trying to find consistency"

Rarely is former first-round pick Roquan Smith mentioned as a weakness on the Bears defense, but entering his third season in the league, Smith needs a breakout year to justify the Bears' decision to select him with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

In fact, Pro Football Focus listed Smith among 15 players entering a prove-it year in 2020.

When he came into the league, Roquan Smith looked tailor-made for the modern NFL — a linebacker who excelled in coverage in college with the athleticism, instincts and feel for the game to be a difference-maker at the next level. Yet, the player we saw at Georgia has yet to really show up in the NFL with any degree of regularity. Smith has made a lot of tackles and missed relatively few (17 in 234 attempts), but his PFF grades reflect a player still trying to find consistency, particularly in coverage where he was so special in college. A top-10 draft pick in 2018, Smith enters Year 3 needing to show the Bears he can be a difference-maker on defense — not just another body who is a relatively solid tackler.

PFF's assessment of Smith is fair. It's actually kind of generous considering how bizarre his season was in 2019. While he's considered a critical starter in the Bears' defense, he isn't a star (yet) despite the fanbase thinking he is, or at least close to being one.

This may be a product of Chicago's post-traumatic draft-bust syndrome. Bears fans are so used to the team selecting first-round busts (Kevin White, Leonard Floyd and Mitch Trubisky), that even average play from Smith will feel like a breath of fresh air.

The reality, however, is that Smith is teetering toward settling in as a slightly above-average inside linebacker. And that's fine. But if he's going to ever become a star, it has to happen in 2020.