Bears

Experience in CFL an asset, not a liability for Trestman

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Experience in CFL an asset, not a liability for Trestman

In the end, for a franchise that had never gone outside for a head coach who had held that job somewhere else, it came down to Marc Trestman having been a head coach.

GM Phil Emery explained that the two-week interview process had winnowed his field of 14 candidates (13 known, once special-teams coach not revealed) down to three. One of those Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had never been a head coach and was eliminated first.

That left Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who had been an interim head coach this season with coach Chuck Pagano ill and the Temple head coach for two years, and Trestman.

The latters only head-coaching experience was the last five years directing the Montreal Alouettes. But it was enough.

Marcs experience as a successful play caller was important, Emery said. But more important, his success as a head football coach was a determining factor.

Canadian connection

Ironically, the fact that Trestman did his head coaching in the Canadian Football League was raised as a question over his candidacy. The opposite turned out to be the case in Emerys mind.

Emery in fact cited Trestmans drive to pursue a top job north of the border, in a new game with new players, rules and even a playing field, as one of the character reasons behind his decision for Trestman.

The mental toughness that it takes to go into a place that you've never been before where they dont know you or anything about you, where they speak a foreign language, it's a town unfamiliar to you, in a game that's different than the one you've been coaching, Emery said. Now you have 12 men instead of 11 to coordinate.

To go in that and take on the task of being a head football coach, and do it with a staff that you hired, there was no staff in that building when Marc came there, he interviewed and hired all of those individuals on his own, and to have great success and to win championships, that tells me a lot about that candidate, that's a candidate I want to be in the room with.

The Not Mike Ditka

Trestman does not have the reputation, nor did he present the image, of a firebrand. Indeed, he has a law degree, is known for thoroughness and is not given to thundering public displays.

One of my concerns was that it might take Bears fans a while to warm to him, Chairman George McCaskey said, likening Trestmans demeanor to that of the legendary Bill Walsh. After hearing him speak Thursday, I dont have that concern.

Meeting of minds

More than the fans, however, who will warm to Trestman the first time he administers a beat-down to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, it is Trestmans mind-meld with Emery that forms the cornerstone of the football operations now.

Player-coach relationships will be forming as well. But Emery was particularly interested in how Trestman relates to others, not just what he wanted for himself.

The first question that Marc asked me, was, for you, when you're drafting players, is it the best player or the best system-fit player, Emery recalled. I said absolutely it's the best player; you want the best player that can transcend schemes, that has a skill set that will work out and will be able to progress as a player regardless of the scheme.

Trestmans reaction: Good, if I'm the head football coach, let's do that, because I can take those players and we'll take their skill sets and we can adapt to what they do best so that we can win.

Trestman also told Emery of his favorite saying: What I do for myself, is buried with me. What I do for others lives forever.

That said a lot to me about his approach to life and who he is as a person and his personal growth, his journey, his story, Emery said, then laughed. He also told me that he got that quote from Criminal Minds. So there was another connection, because my wife and I, we love Law and Order and Criminal Minds, so I knew we had a match made in heaven.

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

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Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.

History.

That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'

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Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'

On Thursday, Brian Baldinger released another video clip on Twitter for his #BaldysBreakdowns series, this one praising the recent play from Bears QB Mitch Trubisky.

Baldinger states that Trubisky is "making some kind of jump", referring to how impressed he was with Trubisky's play when compared to his rookie season. 

In the video Baldinger explains in the video how you expect franchise QBs to make a big leap from year one to year two, and a big part of that leap for Trubisky is being unafraid to make aggressive throws downfield.

Baldinger highlighted a play where Trubisky hit Taylor Gabriel 47-yards down the field, choosing to trust his wideout after he hit him with perfect ball placement despite tight coverage. He continued this theme later on in the video, showing Trubisky's TD strike to Allen Robinson, which was whipped right past a Dolphins defender. 

But Baldinger's video wasn't exclusively compliments for Trubisky. He discussed Tarik Cohen's effectiveness as a pass-catcher, saying that you "can't cover him" and comparing him to a Ferrari with his ability to go from first to fifth gear "about as fast as anybody."

He ended his video by showing Trubisky punishing the Dolphins for a blown coverage, hitting rookie Anthony Miller in stride for a 29-yard TD. Baldinger's point in including this clip was to show Trubisky's improved recognition, as he may not have spotted the blown coverage last year. Noticing when and how to take advantage of defensive sloppiness is one of the many things that seperate a "franchise QB" from a stopgap, and Trubisky is trending in the right direction. 

If Baldinger's breakdown is any indication, we should expect Trubisky to keep his incredible momentum rolling when the Bears take on the New England Patriots on Sunday. New England is 3rd worst in the league in passing TDs allowed, giving up 15 scores through the air in six games.