Regarding Silverman’s article "Trestman’s Offense Will Take Time To Learn", I don’t disagree with the statement itself. What I do disagree with is his comparison of Martz’s scheme and Trestman’s scheme and concluding the end result will be the same. Martz tried to implement the system he was successful with a decade earlier in St. Louis. The major flaw in his approach was he was not flexible with the talent he had with the Bears. In St. Louis he had; Marshall Faulk (RB), Torry Holt (WR), Isaac Bruce (WR), Kurt Warner (QB), Orlando Pace (LT – In his Prime) and Lovie Smith as Defensive Coordinator.
The defense under Smith was ranked 3rd in yards allowed, 7th in points allowed and 26th in takeaway/giveaways at -10. While Martz was OC with the Bears, in the first year the Smith/Marinelli defense was ranked 9th in yards allowed, 4th in points allowed and 11th in takeaways/giveaways at +4. The 2nd year they were ranked 17th in yards allowed, 14th in points allowed and 11th in takeaways/giveaways at +2. The defense in the 2nd year, in my opinion, was better than their rankings would suggest, because the offense was not able to move the ball on a consistent basis and coupled with turnovers the defense was put in poor field position many times.
Over time teams learn how to defend new schemes, which they did in Martz’s later years with the Rams, and I would suggest that opponents had enough tape to watch that in Martz’s second year with the Bears the opponents were better prepared for what Martz had to offer. One aspect of Martz’s scheme was timing routes, the ball is thrown to a spot and the receiver shows up at that spot on perfect time. In Martz’s first year, the receivers (Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester and Devin Aromashodu) were not that experienced or accomplished at running timing routes. The second year receivers (Johnny Knox, Roy Williams, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester), were not any better. Although Matt Forte is a very good receiving back, he is not on the same level as Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk.
The same can be said while comparing Jay Cutler to Kurt Warner. Speaking of Warner, in his last years with the Rams he was getting the crap knocked out of himself, in large part due to 5 and 7 step drops and the offensive line not being able to hold up. When Warner went to the Giants for one year he looked shell shocked, waiting to get hit when the hit wasn’t coming.
During Martz’s Ram’s Super Bowl appearance they had a good offensive line with Orlando Pace anchoring the left tackle spot protecting Warner’s blindside. The Bear’s, with Martz, in his 1st year had Frank Omiyale at LT and in the 2nd year J’Marcus Webb was protecting Cutler’s blindside, or should I say "hypothetically protecting Cutler’s blind side"?
Trestman is coming into the Bear’s organization with a much improved, talent and experience wise, offensive line than what Martz had. The expectations being, we will have a better offensive line to give better quarterback protection and running lanes. Trestman doesn’t use 5 and 7 step drops as much as Martz did. The main idea is to make the quick reads and get the ball to the open receiver/back/tightend quickly. Trestman will occasionally go for the deep throw when the defense starts creeping up to the short and intermediate routes. Martz was well known for not utilizing his tight ends in passing routes, in St. Louis he had Ernie Cronwell and Brandon Manumaleuna which were best known for being blocking tight ends. In Martz’s first year he had Greg Olsen (great receiver and adequate blocker) and Brandon Manumaleuna (his prime years long past, he could not catch or block that well anymore). Olsen’s talents were totally wasted. In his second year, Martz had Kellen Davis (a poor receiver and weak blocker) and Matt Spaeth (a poor receiver and a good blocker).
Trestman is going to have Martellus Bennett, a good receiving tightend and a good blocker. The second tightend remains to be determined, possibly Steve Maneri, a very good blocker and very poor receiver. The receivers Trestman will have are the best the Bears have had in my memory. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett and a fourth to be named later. Compare them to Johnny Knox, Roy Williams, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett.
Cutler has said it will take more than a year to "master" Trestman’s offense. I have no doubt that it will take a year or more to "master" it, the keyword being master. Trestman, in my opinion, will keep the paly calling within the capabilities of what the offense can handle and will gradually implement the full system. I believe Trestman is far more flexible than Martz ever was. Even though we think of Trestman as the Head Coach and Offensive implementer, he has help. Aaron Kromer is the new Offensive Co-Coordinator. This is Kromer’s first time as a NFL OC, his experience being an offensive line coach and running back coach with the Saints. He also had a similar position with Oakland under Trestman.
Kromer has had two primary mentors to learn from, Marc Trestman and Sean Payton. Although Kromer hasn’t been an OC before, I would speculate that he has had input into the play scheming. While with the Saints as O Line and Running Back coach the Saint’s running backs flourished in the passing game. During Kromer’s time there the running backs were responsible for 31% of the receptions. Compared to the Bears, over a similar time frame, of 24%. So, expect the backs to be more involved in the passing game.
It has also been noted in many articles about Kromer has taken adequate linemen and fine-tuned their techniques to become Pro-Bowlers and All Pros. I don’t know how much input Krommer is going to have into the offensive schemes here in Chicago, but I would guess he is going to have some, utilizing what he has learned under Payton. Speaking of Mentors, Trestman learned from Bill Walsh, who didn’t invent the West Coast System (Paul Brown – Bengals) but he did refine it to make his version arguably the best.
The Bears finished 11-5 under Martz’s first year tutelage and then digressed to 8-8 the second year. The second year I don’t totally fault Martz, Cutler’s injury totally exposed our weakness at backup QB. Martz, in my opinion was a far better OC than Tice will ever be. My biggest problem with Martz is he had a system and didn’t have the talent to implement it and was either too hard headed to adjust or didn’t know how to adjust it to suit his personnel. What will our record be under Trestman? I don’t know, that is why they play the games. I have guessed in the past that they will finish 10-6. Comparing a team’s won lost/record to a previous team’s won/lost record is not always an indicator of a team’s ability.
Back to the original point of Silverman saying Trestman’s results will be the same as Martz’s. Silverman’s quote "If the Bears couldn’t ever get Martz’s game plan down pat, why would they be able to get Trestman’s down", is short sighted. The Bears did a decent job of learning Martz’s system the first year without the appropriate talent. The Bears will have a better offensive line, a better wide receiving corp, a better tightend group, same quarterback, same running back and yet to be proven, better offensive coaching staff. Lovie Smith (HC), Mike Martz (OC) and Mike Tice (OL) versus Marc Trestman (HC) and Aaron Krommer (OC and OL). I believe Trestman will give the Bears what they can handle until they eventually "master" the system.
Regardless of the won/loss record I fully expect the Bear’s offense to be far superior to what it was under Martz.
I apologize in advance for the long winded, rambling dissertation. English is not my primary written language; I am far more comfortable writing in C, C++, SQL, COBOL, RPG, Assembler, Basic and C#. Used to write in Fortran but, lost too many brain cells in my youth.
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