Marc Trestman is the second most important Bear for 2013 because he has the weight of of city on his shoulders. He's not throwing a football, making a tackle, or blocking a defender, but when General Manager Phil Emery made the unconventional choice in hiring a head coach that was out of the NFL for nearly a decade, it gave people reason to question the hire, and the pressure began to mount.
The immediate backlash to Trestman was mostly negative, but Emery did his best to convince us that Trestman was the man for the job. Many fans looked at the hire as Emery simply trying to prove how smart he is, but as we learned more about Trestman and his coaching philosophy, our confidence grew. The "quarterback whisperer" has had NFL success, he has worked with some talented players, and he has helped bring out the best in his teams. The pressure and expectations for the 2013 Chicago Bears grew.
Bears' fans demand more than a winner, Bears' fans want a championship. Trestman has a team that is built to win now. Most of his top end talent on defense is in their prime or near the end of their prime, i.e. the window is closing. His West Coast Offense has the offensive players outright giddy after years of struggling to score points in Chicago. It may take a few seasons to completely master a system, but after the color by numbers schemes we saw last year, I expect to see some innovation on the offensive side of the ball, and I expect this team to win.
The Bears haven't had an offensive mind leading the team since Mike Ditka, and his offensive pedigree is no where near as impressive as Trestman's. We're being sold that the defense is ready to remain solid, and that the tweaks to the O will put the team in a position to win every week. Marc Trestman is stepping into a pressure packed situation.
When Dave Wannstedt took over as head coach from Ditka in 1993, he was replacing a legend, but he was inheriting a 5-11 football team. There was some pressure on Wanny from the ghost of Iron Mike, and some more because he was "the hot coordinator" on the market, but no one really expected him to win right away.
After consecutive 4-12 seasons by Wannstedt, Dick Jauron was brought in as the new head coach in 1999. The pressure on Jauron was practically non existent, seeing as how he wasn't even the top choice to coach the team. If you remember it was Dave McGinnis that Bears president Michael McCaskey announced as the new head coach before they had agreed on a contract. It was an embarrassing weekend for the Bears.
Dick Jauron was fired following his second losing season in a row, and the Bears hired Lovie Smith in 2004. Smith managed to get the Bears to a Super Bowl, and he had some early success against the hated Packers, which many fans absolutely loved. Lovie's stoic demeanor won many fans over, but there were others that simply wanted more passion and fire from their head coach.
Lovie Smith may have been a soft spoken man, but he proved to be a polarizing figure. He was fired after narrowly missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record, and some fans were glad to see him go, while others couldn't believe that Phil Emery would fire a coach with a .563 winning percentage, that took his team to two NFC Championship games, and hadn't had a losing season since 2009.
Lovie was a good coach, but Bears brass believed he wasn't the guy to get the team to the next level. They believe Marc Trestman is the coach that will get them from point B to point C.
The one thing all Bears fans had to agree on in regards to Smith, was his inability to field a consistently good offense. Terry Shea, Ron Turner, Mike Martz, and Mike Tice were all brought in by Smith to build an offense that would click with his Tampa 2 defense. None maintained consistency. Marc Trestman's WCO has to resemble a modern day offense that can meander it's way up and down the field. In this quarterback driven league, he has to get Jay Cutler playing at or near a Pro Bowl level.
The new offense is also tasked with using tailback Matt Forte to the best of his capabilities. Only having 44 receptions last year was far too low for a guy that put up 63 and 57 in Ron Turner's WCO. I'd expect Forte to be a big part of the new scheme, and I expect him to reach a career high in receptions.
While I expect big things from Forte, I don't put him in the game changing class of Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, or Arian Foster. Who ever is playing tailback in Trestman's offense will have his fair share of opportunities.
I fully expect a healthy Michael Bush to have a bigger impact in relief of Forte, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him approach a career high in receptions either. Its not that I'm underestimating Forte's importance in the offense, I just place a higher importance on Trestman's ability to best utilize what talent is available.
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- The Bears Den: July 23, 2013 - Offseason news and notes
- Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond
- The 10 Most Important Bears of 2013 - #3 Mel Tucker
- Cutler Still Has Plenty to Play For in 2013
- Which Non-Headline Bear Needs to Have a Great Season?
- The Chicago Bears' Most Pivotal Games of 2013