The Marc Trestman era of the Chicago Bears is officially under way, and when he was asked his goal as head coach of the franchise he said, "It's a symbolic word, but the goal is the parade, right?"
After former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith ran through his goals at his initial press conference in 2004, with number one being; Beating the Green Bay Packers, it was interesting to note that the rivals to the north didn't garner a mention by Trestman or general manager Phil Emery during their presser. That was probably a cognizant decision after the way the media tore into Lovie after failing to beat Green Bay in eight of their last nine meetings. Lovie did good initially, winning 7 of 10, but the Packers organization bounced back, and the Bears couldn't keep up.
Becoming Green Bay's whipping boy was thrown in Lovie Smith's face by just about every journalist and blogger that took fingers to keyboard these last few years. There was just no getting around using his own words against him, and in using that #1 goal to show his failings as a coach.
It's something I never bought into.
The ultimate goal is obviously the Super Bowl, but if you work backwards from that goal - and that is what you learn in Goal Setting 101 - you need to win your conference to get to the Super Bowl. Before winning your conference, you'd like to win your division to get in that "championship" mentality. Sure you can get into the playoffs via wildcard, but to ensure your place in the tournament your goal is to win your division. In the Bears' case winning the NFC North means beating the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay has been a playoff participant in 9 of the last 12 years, clearly the measuring stick of the NFC North.
Ultimately it wasn't losing to the Packers that finally did Lovie Smith in, but it sure didn't help the matter much.
So whether he said it or not, Marc Trestman will have a goal of knocking off the defending NFC North Champion Packers.
For the first time since Mike Ditka, the Bears have hired a Head Coach with an offensive background. They hired a guy that plans to be aggressive on offense, and that will be hard for some of the old school fans of the Monsters Of The Midway to get on board with. While I don't foresee a drastic drop off in defensive production, there may be a period where the D doesn't look as comfortable as we're used to. New defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has never had this type of talent to work with, neither in Cleveland when he ran a 3-4, or in Jacksonville where he ran a 4-3.
The Brian Urlacher question is yet to be answered, but with or without him, I think the Bears have the pieces in place to be a top 10 D. If Marc Trestman, and his version of the West Coast Offense, is enough to catapult the Bears into the top 15 of offenses, I think that will be enough to get them to the playoffs. But will the playoffs be enough?
Marc Trestman says his goal is holding up the trophy, so how long will management and the fans give him to reach his goal? The fans probably have various levels of expectations, but I have a suspicion that general manager Phil Emery will expect a bit more than three postseason appearances in nine years.
My personal opinion on the matter, is anything less that a playoff appearance in 2013 should be looked at as a failure.
It's about time the Chicago Bears are held to the highest possible standard, and that standard can only mean the Lombardi Trophy.