Bulls

Marc Trestman's career timeline

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Marc Trestman's career timeline

1975-77: Played as a backup quarterback for the University of Minnesota for three seasons.

1978: Transferred to Minnesota State for his senior season.

1978-79: Received invitations to training camp to play as a defensive back by the Minnesota Vikings.

1981-84: Begin his coaching career as a volunteer coach for the University of Miami. Trestman was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 1983, where he oversaw the development of Bernie Kosar.

1985-86: Returned to the Vikings as a running backs coach as part of the staff of Bud Grant, who was coming back from retirement.

1987: Served as the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the strike-shortened 1987 season, which doubled as Vinny Testaverdes rookie year.

1988-89: Reunited with Bernie Kosar as the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach in 1988, and was promoted to offensive coordinator the next season.

1990-91: Returned to the Vikings for the final time to serve as a quarterbacks coach, where he worked with quarterback Rich Gannon for the first time.

1992-94: Out of coaching

1995-96: Got back into coaching as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the San Francisco 49ers. With Steve Young at the helm, the 1995 49ers led the NFL in scoring and passing yards.

1997: Coached quarterbacks for the Detroit Lions. With Trestman, Scott Mitchell topped 3,000 yards passing for the final time in his career.

1998-2000: Filled the dual role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals. The 1998 Arizona Cardinals broke a 51-year franchise drought for playoff wins.

2001-03: Moved on to become the quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders. When Trestman was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2002, the Raiders won the AFC and led the NFL in total offense and passing, and quarterback Rich Gannon won the MVP award.

2004: Served as the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins and assistant head coach to Dave Wannstedt.

2005-06: Returned to college coaching to serve as the offensive coordinator for NC State.

2007: Out of coaching

2008-12: Traveled to Canada for his first head coaching job with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. In five years, Trestman has won two Grey Cups and lost in the final of a third.

Bobby Portis happy with sixth-man role as extension deadline hovers

Bobby Portis happy with sixth-man role as extension deadline hovers

A reserve role suits Bobby Portis so much that his already-wide eyes got bigger when the prospect of entering a season with a defined role was broached following the Bulls’ first practice.

Wide eyes like when he pops off the bench nearing the halfway point of the first quarter. Wide eyes like when he knows shots are coming his way, and this year, those eyes are aiming for a Sixth Man of the Year award.

“It feels good,” Portis said, almost cutting off the query because he was so excited at the notion.

“It kind of made my summer easier. I knew I wasn’t fighting for a starting spot. I knew I wasn’t fighting for minutes. I just worked on my game the most I could and worked on that role.”

The start to his season was marred by his incident with Nikola Mirotic but that’s only the first line in Portis’ story as he developed and matured on the floor into a dependable contributor after languishing behind the likes of Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Mirotic his first two seasons.

So pardon him if he cuts off a question to express his joy—he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder for the first time in a long time.

“Last year they said it was make or break for me,” Portis said. “Every year I guess is make or break. I’m having fun, enjoying my teammates, trying to be more of a leader this year, lead by example. Do all the little things.”

His 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds look fine, but even on a lottery team that wasn’t focused on winning Portis established himself as a core piece and a trophy of sorts for the front office as a mark for their player development program.

He went from a power forward who wasn’t athletic enough to a matchup nightmare as a backup center, coming off the bench to launch from any and everywhere, hitting 80 3-pointers at a 36 percent clip.

“I get to come off the bench and score a lot. Who doesn’t like to score the ball? That’s a fun gig,” Portis said. “Coach has trust in me to shoot the shots I want to shoot. It’s a fun gig to have.”

With Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker and Lauri Markkanen expected to have main roles as scorers, one has to wonder if Portis will be as needed offensively—and if he isn’t, the team-first approach will be put to the test.

But this is also someone who volunteered to go to the bench last year when he saw he wasn’t quite a great fit in the first five shortly after the All-Star break.

“We were experimenting with some different lineups,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “And after I think it was after the third game he started and he came and said ‘Coach, can you put me off the bench again?’ You don’t hear that very often at this level.”

That consistency, and Portis’ overall demeanor that can possibly play a big part in this faceless team developing a true identity has led to Portis and the front office entering into discussions about a contract extension before he reaches restricted free agency.

The Bulls have until Oct. 15 to get a deal done with Portis, a prospect very much out of his hands. But the goal of being a sixth man is something very much in his hands, and should he become a top candidate it would surely mean the Bulls are in a better position than most expect.
Just in this decade alone, every award winner has played for a playoff team save for Lou Williams last season for the 42-40 L.A. Clippers.

“I really like that role,” Portis said. “I look at other guys around the league---Eric Gordon, Lou Will, guys like that. They come in and change the game. I feel I can do that for this club. It’s fun doing that.”

Why Jason Heyward believes this Cubs team can still accomplish something special this fall

Why Jason Heyward believes this Cubs team can still accomplish something special this fall

Jason Heyward always has an edge to him, but he's taken things to a little bit of a different level lately as the Cubs try to fend off all challengers in an intense final week of action.

When answering questions in front of the TV cameras, radio microphones and recorders, Heyward often pauses and takes his time to form his response when answering questions. He doesn't say anything by accident, and he's usually politically correct and cliche with his answers — almost boring, even.

So when Heyward used the word "shit" in back-to-back sessions with the Chicago media over the last few days, it stands out — a calculated fire at a time when the Cubs need all the fire they can get.

The man with the greatest rain delay speech in the history of professional sports is the voice the Cubs need to listen to once again right now.

"I've only had like a week-and-a-half of baseball in my career that the games didn't mean shit and that's where I feel like I take a lot of pride in that and we take a lot of pride in that here," Heyward said. "These guys in here, they know what it's like to lose. ...You can't take it for granted that you have an opportunity like this one.

"So that's where our head is and we enjoy it down to the end. We have fun with it, we look it in the eye. It's a blast in here for us."

The Cubs woke up Tuesday morning with only a slim 1.5-game lead in the division over the Milwaukee Brewers, a magic number to clinch at Wrigley Field still stuck at 5.

They've had just one day off since Aug. 20 and will not get another opportunity to reset mentally or physically until Monday and by then, this playoff race will be in the bag.

"[We've handled this stretch] beautifully," Joe Maddon said. "We've gone through a very difficult stretch...I think our guys have been doing a great job, actually. After a tough loss, we've been able to come back and play well the next day.

"We haven't taken a bad moment and let it manifest itself for a couple days. During the course of the game, they're very lucid. They interact well, the energy level's good. Those are the kind of things I try to attach myself to.

"The biggest thing is I would say after a bad day that you're able to flush it and come back and treat the next day as a different entity — brand new experience — and I think that's what we do well."

Heyward is an unquestioned leader inside the Cubs clubhouse — a guy who doesn't talk a whole lot, but when he does speak, everybody listens. 

This is the same guy who walked into the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park earlier in the season and turned off MLB Network on the TVs because they were talking about how great the Cubs offense was at the time. 

Yes, he turned the TVs off even though the analysts on MLB's flagship station were painting his team in an overwhelmingly positive light. 

Why? Heyward wanted to make sure the guys blocked out all outside noise, even good stuff.

And that's exactly what he and Maddon and Jon Lester are trying to keep the team focused on right now — controlling what they can control and tuning out all the rest.

Sure, they're checking the scores of the Brewers game every night and they know the reality of the situation.

But when they're between the white lines, it's all about keeping the focus, which is an area Heyward has seen a lot of growth from this team over the last three seasons.

"It's beautiful," he said. "It's amazing to see the confidence come in, the experience that we've gained. Just how much fun these challenges have been for all of us to be able to lean on each other and go through them together.

"Honestly for me, the day I walked in this door, seeing Rizz, KB, Javy, a number of guys — just seeing them from then to now, it's a huge difference in a good way."

Heyward acknowledges the offensive roller coaster the Cubs have been on this season, but pointed to the extreme parity in the National League while the top-heavy American League has very little to decide over the season's final week.

At the same time, he doesn't understand the roller coaster the fans have been on this season with expectations around this team sky-high.

A few years ago, Cubs fans were just content with their team making the playoffs. Now every year is World Series or bust and the goal is to coast to a division title just like in 2016.

Except that's not how baseball works most of the time.

"I mean, for the fans, it's been 108 years. They've done that. So what we've done is reverse that and reverse that thinking," Heyward said. "But again, what people don't understand is how many teams are good baseball teams this year.

"They don't get that. The last place team in our division is a good baseball team. If you look at the lineup they put out there every day, it's a really good lineup. I've never seen a season where so many moves are made at the deadline, after the deadline by teams that are in it and out of it.

"That just shows you how good the competition is gonna be and how good it's been this year. You gotta give credit. You gotta understand that as a baseball team."