Marc Trestman spent the last five seasons developing a quick-moving, successful Canadian Football League offense with the Montreal Alouettes. Now, the Chicago Bears are giving him his first crack at being a head coach in the NFL. Trestman seems to have a plan and a timeline in mind, and believes the fast-paced game north of the border will help him as he gets the Bears ready for his debut season. Marc Trestman joined 670 The Score in Chicago with The McNeil and Spiegel Show to discuss getting a plan in place quickly now that he’s coaching the Chicago Bears, his chemistry with Bears general manager Phil Emery, his style of offense, working with quarterback Jay Cutler and bringing his fast-paced offensive approach to Chicago.
You’ve said you’ll have an open mind when it comes to offensive and defensive schemes. Does the process to sort all that out start immediately?
“That won’t start today. You give the impression that it will, but there’s a calendar to follow now. We’ve got to customize it in a priority fashion. There’s multiple levels of things to get down. That’s part of the process as well, but within the next weeks, certainly part of that plan will be delving into what we’re going to be like as a football team.”
Were you surprised at how well it seemed that you and Phil Emery fit together?
“I don’t know if it was surprise. Sometimes the stars are aligned right. At this moment, after meeting so many people in the National Football League and having never met Phil the only way I knew anything about him was I watched his press conference and I said, ‘Man, would it be cool to work with a guy like that.’ Sometimes dreams do come true.”
On his style of offense:
“I think there’s a lot of stuff in the playbook and a lot of resources with coaches that we’ll bring in from different places. Whatever it is, we’re not really sure right now. I think the first thing is let’s see what we’ve got. Let’s try to start practicing things that we think will work with the people we’ve got, and make sure we’re sound in everything we do and not frivolous with anything we do.”
What if players can’t grasp your style?
“Every player is our player, and it’s our job to develop them. … It’s to put them in a position to succeed, and that’s coaching. We’re just going to do that daily and do everything we can to empower players to be at their best.”
What’s your take on some of these new offenses like the pistol and zone read?:
“It’s part of what I call research and development. We were in the pistol and the gun [when I coached in the CFL] and we did run the read-zone and utilized it with him in appropriate fashion and threw the football out of it. Some of those nuances that the teams are doing down here, we’ve done up there. Jay [Cutler] has the ability to get outside the pocket and make plays and throw the football and we’ll certainly incorporate that.”
On working with Jay Cutler:
“You approach him by trying to cut through all the junk and really try to develop a relationship that doesn’t happen overnight. This is a process of him knowing that when you come in to see him, that you’re ready to give him what he needs to succeed on multiple levels — on a personal level in terms of understanding what makes us tick, and a professional level in giving him the type of football that he feels can help him to succeed.”
How fast do you like your offense to move on the field?
“In Oakland in 2002, we were a no-huddle team for most of our 2002 season. Rich Gannon did an unbelievable job of controlling the line of scrimmage and creating a tempo. These are things that teams are doing today, so we’re not unfamiliar with that. As you said, in the CFL, it happens really fast. It’s a tough league; it’s a thinking-man’s league.