Jay Cutler is a difficult quarterback for coaches to work with.
There, I said it. It is the mostly unspoken fear for many Bears fans, and the unstated topic for dozens of off-season Bears news stories. I am not present in the locker room, on the practice field, or even in the film room, so I will acknowledge that the premise of this FanPost is based on third- (or fourth) hand knowledge from the media. However, there are multiple persisting reports that claim that after a short honeymoon period, Jay Cutler and his offensive coordinators of the past have had contentious relationships. In other words, Jay is difficult to work with, and his lack of respect has impeded his growth as a player in those systems.
Now the Bears are ushering in yet another coach for Cutler. Even more intriguing: this one is rumored to be a "quarterback whisperer." Can Trestman come in to Cutler's Bear den and impose his will and playbook on the stubborn, unruly, and negative Jay Cutler? Will Jay's infamous attitude again destroy the hope of successful implementation of the new offensive system? Okay, I am starting to sound melodramatic. The two part question that I want to address is simple: Will Cutler and Trestman get along, and will they be able to work together successfully?
Each part of the question really has only two answers: yes, or no. What may come as a surprise is that I do not believe that they are related if Trestman is a good manager and leader.
Either Cutler and Trestman will be a blissfully happy couple in complete harmony over their offensive philosophies and strategic decisions, or they will clash from the outset as each man brings to the table a different view of how to best attack an opposing defense. Frankly, I would prefer the second option. Why? Well, I believe that both are intelligent football players who have devoted their lives to understanding the game. I want Trestman to listen to Jay as much as I want Jay to listen to him. But research supports the idea that organizations make better decisions when there are multiple opinions present. That is the situation which requires compromise, deeper thinking, and may even breed new ideas or unique solutions. Ultimately, conflict can be a good thing if it is properly harnessed by an effective leader. It should not be "listen to me because I am the boss;" rather it should be "let's put out heads together and find the best answer to the problem in front of us." Not that they are equals - Trestman is the boss - but that Jay is the man on the field and has the ability and opportunity to see the field from a different perspective.
The second half of the question is more difficult. If they can establish trust they may be able to build a working relationship that makes both of them better than they would be separately. If they are respect each other, then they will be able to disagree, but be willing to admit when the other has the better idea without the anchor of super-sized egos holding the entire team back for the sake of winning some interpersonal battle. Obviously, there are more pieces to the puzzle of assembling a successful team; but if the quarterback and the coach can come together they will establish the necessary foundation that is necessary to be championship contenders.