Will Jay Cutler Accept Marc Trestman to Save Chicago Bears Job?
Talented quarterbacks are afforded a lot of leeway from teams, especially ones who haven't had much success at that position. So it's easy to understand why the Chicago Bears have stayed patient with Jay Cutler. That could all change in 2013. A new head coach is in town and his job isn't on any hot seat like those before him. If Cutler wants to stay in charge for his favorite team he will have to do something he hasn't done since leaving Denver.
Cutler in the spotlight after Mike Tice and Mike Martz failures
The saying goes that one time is a fluke, two times is a trend. Cutler has many tags attached to his name: rocket arm, mobile, tough, smart, moody, and somewhat volatile. Those aren't bad traits. Not all quarterbacks need to be golden boys and saints to win in the NFL. However there is one asterisk that has crept onto the list. Coach killer. Since departing Denver for Chicago in 2009, the Bears quarterback has gone through three offensive coordinators (Ron Turner, Mike Martz, Mike Tice) and one head coach (Lovie Smith). That is not the kind of reputation a player wants, especially when he's entering a contract year.
In fairness Jay isn't the sole reason those coaches were fired. Much of it was a failure by the previous regime under Jerry Angelo to properly supply the offense with effective weapons or offensive linemen. New GM Phil Emery made it his mission last year to solve those problems. He acquired Brandon Marshall via trade and Alshon Jeffery in the draft and elevated Tice (an offensive line specialist) to offensive coordinator. The Bears went 10-6 but finished 16th in total offense. Cutler posted career lows as a Bear in passing yards (3,033), touchdowns (19) and completion percentage (58%). Emery began to see the root of the problem right away. None of the coaches were getting through to Jay. Their schemes weren't meshing with how he believed the offense should operate. So in order to see once and for all whether he was the answer for Chicago at quarterback, Emery made changes at the top.
Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers alum laud Trestman
Smith was fired, despite a winning season, and the team brought in a somewhat surprising new head coach. Marc Trestman wasn't on the radar of many fans, perhaps because his last five seasons were spent in Canada. There he led the Montreal Alouettes to three Grey Cup title games, winning twice, on the strength of strong offenses built around quarterback Anthony Cavillo. This has become the MO of Trestman as far back as the late 1980s when he coordinated for the Cleveland Browns and coached Bernie Kosar.
His biggest success though came when he joined the San Francisco 49ers where he developed his roots in the West Coast offense coaching Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and Pro Bowler Elvis Grbac.
After that he bounced around the league until he landed with the Oakland Raiders. It was there his effect on the quarterback became truly apparent. In 2002 when he became offensive coordinator, 36-year old Rich Gannon, who had played for three previous teams, lit up the league for 4,600 yards and 26 touchdowns. This won him the MVP award and a trip to the Super Bowl.
Since that time both Young and Gannon have come forward repeatedly stating that Trestman is the best thing that will ever happen to Jay. His competitive fire, attention to detail and innovative play calling is what makes him so effective in teaching and molding quarterbacks. They aren't alone in their praise either. Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers chimed in, saying the Bears have the perfect guy for the job since it was Trestman who taught the former Coach of the Year "everything he knows."
Cutler must do something he hasn't done
Where does Jay Cutler need the most improvement?
There really aren't any glaring reasons experts can find for the Bears offense to struggle in 2013. They have Pro Bowl talent everywhere, better protection and an offensive staff loaded with experience. The only wild card is Cutler. Nobody is sure if his penchant for alienating coaches will bubble to the surface again. At age 30 his luxury of time is gone. He needs a good year if he wants to stay the starter in Chicago, let alone collect a big pay day. To do that he must swallow his pride and buy into what Trestman tells him, because it has worked before, many times.
Jay got what he wanted. The team is in his hands and he has the pieces to make it happen. All that is left is conquering the demons that sit between his ears.