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Arians and Bevell, offensive coordinators of the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, were two of the final three candidates, along with Trestman, considered by Bears general manager Phil Emery to replace Lovie Smith. The team's list of head-coaching candidates reached 13 names at one point.
As the Chicago Tribune suggested in breaking the news, Trestman is a somewhat unconventional choice, having been out of the NFL for eight years. But he also is a proven winner, having won back-to-back Candian Football League Grey Cup championships as coach of the Alouettes. Trestman has a 64-34 record in five years as a head coach.
In addition to having head coaching experience, Trestman is a quarterback guru who has spent most of his professional life coaching passers. As the Tribune further suggested, "Clearly, he is being brought to the Bears to get the most out of Jay Cutler and whoever else lines up under center during his tenure."
Trestman, 57, was Bernie Kosar’s quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami in 1983, when the Hurricanes won the national championship. In the NFL, Kosar, Steve Young, Scott Mitchell, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon played well under Trestman’s guidance. Gannon won the 2002 Most Valuable Player award while being coached by Trestman on the Raiders.
Trestman should know what he is getting into with Cutler.
As a consultant, he worked with Cutler to prepare him for the 2006 combine. Among other players he worked with before their drafts are Jason Campbell and Tim Tebow.
Trestman was one of 13 known candidates to be interviewed for Lovie Smith's old position. While Trestman, Arians and Bevell received second interviews, the Tribune reports that Emery's final decision is believed to have come down to Trestman vs. Arians. Eight of the candidates had offensive backgrounds.
Trestman is known for a cerebral, measured approach.
“One thing about him that is strength is his ability to listen,” Gannon said. “He takes feedback. Marc has always been the type of guy who can sit down with you and talk about things. What do you like about this? What don’t you like? His feedback is excellent. And he has an ability to be honest with you. Somebody needs to be honest with Jay Cutler.”
ESPN.com reported that Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer will serve Trestman both in that role and also as offensive coordinator. Kromer served as the Saints' interim head coach for the first six games of the 2012 season due to the suspensions of Sean Payton and Joe Vitt.
The Saints went 2-4 in those games, although it doesn’t seem to have done much to dim Kromer’s reputation as an assistant. Trestman was hired because of his background as an offensive architect so he’ll be calling the plays while Kromer handles the other coordinator duties in addition to his responsibilities on the offensive line.
As Profootballtalk.com's Josh Alper noted, those responsibilities will be vital for a Bears team that’s struggled to protect Cutler in recent years.
Kromer and Trestman have worked together before and the quickness of the hire suggests that Trestman was working to line up a staff while denying he had the Bears job. Both men were on the offensive staff of the Raiders from 2001-2003, a period that included a losing trip to Super Bowl XXXVII against the Buccaneers.
Trestman’s plans for the defense are unknown, but there’s a good chance he will retain coordinator Rod Marinelli and some of the other defensive assistants. Quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates also is a possibility to stay. Trestman previously worked with Bates’ father, Jim Bates.
Gannon thinks Trestman will be able to develop a trust with Cutler.
“I don’t know that has been like that in Chicago,” Gannon said. “With [Mike] Martz, the kid got knocked around a lot. You get hit that much, you start questioning why we are doing things.”
Gannon pointed out Trestman is a fundamentalist. He said he stresses footwork and trusting your feet. That should help Cutler, who frequently did not play with good fundamentals.
“When you look at Jay, you don’t question his physical ability, his toughness and his intelligence,” Gannon told the Tribune's Dan Pompei. “Yet something is not right. You see the mistakes, the mechanical things with his footwork, balance in the pocket, he’s fading away from certain throws, relying too much on his arm at certain times, he’s quick to flush, his ball carriage is bad.
"Who can get that right? That’s really the key, getting the quarterback to play up to his potential.”
Gannon isn't alone in his support of Trestman. Former NFL coaches Bud Grant and Marv Levy have vouched for him, as has Young.
Brandon Marshall is also on board.
"I absolutely love the hire," Marshall told Chicago Sun-Times beat man Sean Jensen, "and the few guys I've talked to love it too.
"Hearing from guys who have played for him and been around him, he's a guy that's innovative."
Marshall said he's already started reading Trestman's book, "Perseverance: Life Lessons of Leadership and Teamwork."
"I really think all of the guys will benefit from this and our team will go to another level," Marshall said. "That always seems to happen when you get a coach who really gets it and who understands every part of the game. I'm excited.
But as PFTs Mike Florio points out, Trestman largely remains an unknown commodity.
Aside from the fact that mentoring Cutler before the 2006 draft may help the two get along now (a point the Bears stressed in the official release announcing the hire), Trestman has much to prove.
As Florio summed up: "All we know at this point is that the lawyer-turned-coach will finally get his chance to run an NFL team of his own, and the stakes will be fairly high, for plenty of people. ..."
One other note here. ... Marshall needs to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his hip.
An NFL source told ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright the upcoming surgery was "nothing," before adding it could put the Pro Bowler out of action "probably two weeks."
According to Wright, Marshall planned to have the surgery late Monday or Tuesday morning, but it's unknown which hip he'll have repaired.
Marshall also underwent surgery in March 2009 as a member of the Broncos to repair a hip injury that slowed him throughout most of his 2008 campaign. After undergoing that surgery, Marshall finished 2009 with his third consecutive 100-catch season, gaining 1,120 yards receiving in addition to catching a then career-high 10 touchdowns.
Despite hip surgery prior to the start of the 2010 season, Marshall caught 86 passes for 1,014 yards and followed that up in 2011 with 81 catches for 1,214 yards and six TDs. This past season, Marshall caught a Bears single-season record 118 passes for 1,508 yards, both career highs.