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With over a dozen known coaching candidates and possibly more unknown, there are a lot of options for the Bears and even more opinions on which direction GM Phil Emery should go. Let's take a closer look at one of the more unfamiliar candidates, Marc Trestman.
Many were surprised when Marc Trestman's name surfaced at first in the coaching search. A CFL coach? It sounded like kind of a joke, or at least that Emery was just going where ever he could to get as many ideas as he could. Many seemed to dismiss Trestman as a serious candidate. He's been in the CFL for goodness sake! He hasn't been on an NFL staff since 2004.
He is just too far removed from the NFL and most of his success was so long ago it seems most Bears fans aren't interested in him.
However, there have been several ringing endorsements of late. John Clayton, Jimmy Johnson, Adam Schefter, and Rich Gannon, among others have come out in support of Trestman coaching the NFL.
After looking over his record, I quite like the idea of Trestman.
Trestman's career began as a volunteer coach at the University of Miami under Jimmy Johnson while he went to law school. He moved up the ranks there to QB coach and helped Bernie Kosar set school records as Miami won the National Championship.
In 1985 he broke into the NFL as a running backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings and in 1987 became the QB coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1988 and '89 he coached with the Cleveland Browns and was reunited with Bernie Kosar and was able to guide the offense en route to the AFC Championship game. Receiver Webster Slaughter set franchise record for receiving yards.
After a short stint with the Vikings as their QB coach in 1990 and '91, he took a couple years off from coaching. He returned to the sidelines in 1995 with the San Francisco 49ers where he served as offensive coordinator and QB coach. Jerry Rice set the NFL record for receiving yards in a season and the team led the NFL in points scored, pass attempts and passing yards.
He then became the QB coach for the Detroit Lions and tutored Scott Mitchell. Mitchell threw for the second most yards in team history. From '98 to 2000 he served as the OC and QB coach for the Arizona Cardinals. In '98 Jake Plummer threw for 3,737 yards and the Cardinals made the playoffs for the first time since 1982.
Trestman then moved to the Oakland Raiders where from 2001-03 he was the OC and QB coach. In 2002, Rich Gannon was league MVP and the team was first in offensive yards and second in points.
After serving one season with the Miami Dolphins in 2004, Trestman moved back to the college ranks and served as the OC for the NC State Wolfpack for two seasons. He was key in recruiting Russell Wilson to NC State before he was ousted with Chuck Amato's staff following the 2006 season.
After two years out of coaching Trestman got his current position as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes. He's led them to a 59-31 record, two Grey Cup victories and a third Grey Cup game. The team's worst finish was 2nd in their division. He has coached QB Anthony Calvillo to back-to-back MVP awards. Calvillo is one of the most accomplished CFL QBs ever. Even at 40 he is still considered a top QB.
Now, for Trestman's offenses: In the NFL his offenses have finished in the 56th percentile in points and yardage. Trestman is certainly a pass-first coach; his offenses have always finished in the top 13 in pass attempts. His '95 49ers and the '02 Raiders finished second in the NFL in pass attempts. His offenses have never finished higher than 17th in rushing attempts.
The CFL is known as a pass-happy league, due to only three downs. In 2011, Montreal had the league leader in rushing, receiving and passing. Last year, Calvillo led the league in 300 yard games and passer rating. Under Trestman he has never had a QB rating below 98.
Now, here are the ranks of his NFL offenses:
1989 Browns: 16th in yards, 14th in points
1995 49ers: Second in yards, first in points
1996 49ers: Sixth in yards, third in points
1998 Cardinals: 13th in yards, 15th in points
1999 Cardinals: 29th in yards, 30th in points
2000 Cardinals: 24th in yards, 29th in points
2002 Raiders: First in yards, second in points
2003 Raiders: 25th in yards, 26th in points
All of his Montreal teams have finished in the top five in points for.
Clearly, Trestman is a good offensive mind. He has led many top flight offenses and improved many QBs. Rich Gannon was a journeyman who Trestman turned into a league MVP. He has been a successful head coach, even if it isn't at the NFL level.
He would definitely have some great tools to work with in Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. If Emery could infuse the offensive line with more talent, then it's likely the team could successfully run the type of system Trestman would want.