First and foremost, a big tip of the hat to John 'Moon' Mullin of CSN-Chicago and Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald for creating this transcript. This can be a painstaking process, so all credit goes to those guys for doing this.
The full transcript of the Marc Trestman press conference:
BEARS COACH MARC TRESTMAN
by John Mullin, CSNChicago.com and Bob LeGere, Daily Herald
"Having been through this cycle for 12 months at Halas Hall with Phil, I thought I'd just give you a little update on where we are.
"We're doing everything together and we started after the season, as most teams did, evaluating our team from the inside out, looking through and evaluating all the free agents that are out there, and beginning getting started here at the Combine with this process with our scouts who are certainly ahead of us as far as evaluating the players at the college level.
"We've begun the process of rebuilding our football team and I think we did a very good job coming off our last game, with Phil signing Tim, Jay, Tony Fiammetta, Matt Slauson and Robbie. That certainly got us off to a very good start with this process. We know we've got a lot of work to get done as we move forward.
"We did have the opportunity to do some scheme evaluation offensively and we feel we made progress, but we feel we've got a long way to go. Obviously the most important part of this offseason is rebuilding our defense to a stature that's expected of us at Halas Hall, in our community and our fan base.
"And then just leaving the other day from a staff meeting, we put up our roster as it looked last year at this time. This time last year there were 10 players on the offensive side of the ball that were not on the roster this time of the year and who significantly impacted our football team in the season. I just note that because this is a process that we're going through, filtering through our team, filtering through the free agents and building our team through the draft."
"I talked about Mel throughout the season. At our place we really try to grow the man because we think growing the man helps our football team. From a philosophical standpoint, from the first time I met Mel, that's one of his priorities, a locker room of character, guys that respect each other, send the right messages of selflessness.
"Mel feels that way as well. As we transition into the process, his ability to communicate, his understanding of defenses on all three levels, the details, and assimilating a system of football where he knew it but he had to move forward on an intellectual level of knowing the terminology and nuances that came with adapting and assimilating the defense, and being able to teach it and lead men. I had confidence in him from the beginning that he could do that. At the end of the season that did not change."
"The update is that Henry's a free agent. I see him every day. I speak with him when he's in the building. I spent some time with him [Wednesday] coincidentally and we spent 30-45 minutes together. He's in the process, and hopefully on schedule, of his rehabilitation process."
"They're in the process. We hired Paul Pasqualoni and Reggie Herring. These guys have 3-4 backgrounds. We think we've put together a staff of guys who can really incorporate and be flexible with the players we're going to have going through this process. We're going start from the 4-3 but we've got to be flexible in our scheme to move people around and have the ability to get it done and not just do it because we see other teams doing it. But doing it because we have the skill set and experience to be able to do it."
EVAL of PEPPERS
"Phil said it right. Like a lot of us, we had 8-8 seasons. Julius has been an important part of our locker room. His work ethic was exceptional during the whole season. His focus was good. I'm sure he'll tell you as we all did, that he had very, very good moments and moments when he didn't play as well as he would have liked."
"Phil and I did a lot of work at the end of the season. We studied game tape at both the beginning of the season and the end of the season to try to make some football decisions and take the emotion out of it, try to judge why things happened the way they did. We felt we had to do some things but the starting point was we felt Mel could lead and coach the defense.
"Then we went through an evaluation process, which is never easy, of moving forward with our staff and bringing in a couple guys we felt not only had the experience to develop young players - because we know we're going to have new players and we're going to be young - but also work daily with the veteran element on our football team as well. We felt Mel was the guy to lead the way in that regard."
TUCKER HAVE AUTONOMY/FREEDOM TO DO SCHEME
"I think he's always had the autonomy to do things within parameters. It's wide open this year and everything's on the table this year in terms of where we're going defensively. Right now these coaches are getting in position to learn more about each other. They're meeting to learn more about their styles and the pre-existing defense and where we can go with our existing players, knowing that there's going to be a lot of change. The most important thing right now is our system of football. The language is wide open. It's much easier for coaches to learn a new language than it is for coaches, particularly pre-existing players."
COULDN'T HEAR RICH'S QUESTION, SOMETHING ABOUT SCHEME CHANGE?
"What we're doing is we're looking at the existing scheme and going through the process of putting a system of football together to accommodate the players that we have when we get going, and we're not going to know who those players are for quite some time, so to lock ourselves in and be so narrow-minded that this is what we're going to be when we don't have the players to get it done would be to me not very good time on task, but [putting a system together with the experience we have defensively with out staff, and we do this offensively. We said it last year, what kind of offense ... we don't know, we didn't know what kind of offense we were going to be, we're going to put a system in place to accommodate the players that Phil gives us and that we decide are going to be on our football team and that's certainly the case defensively as well, to lock in and saying this is what we're going to be wouldn't
be fait at this point in time. It's a process just like the evaluation of bringing players in and letting players move on is all going to be part of this off-season process, and again I'll circle back to the point I made, last year there were 10 guys on offense we didn't know we were going to have. but we were putting in a system of offensive football together to accommodate who we gad at that time and that's exactly the same process we have to go through defensively."
OLD-TIMERS BE LET GO AND WONDERS IF MARC CAN TELL US HOW MANY WILL BE SHOWN THE DOOR?
"It's a good question that can't be answered at this time. We know we're going to get younger. We're going to be involved in a drafting process here that there's going to be a lot of young players, they're all going to be young players and they're all for the most part, not all, but for the most part it's going to be a defensive-oriented draft in terms of where we're going. That doesn't mean we won't draft an offensive player. We're going to draft the players we think are best at the time, where our football team is at the time of the draft. At this point in time it's just the process of going through this whole thing of working through the guys on the team, the guys who are free agents on the team, the guys who are free agents out there and then working through within the confines of the draft, and that's unknown at this time just like they were last year. That's the fun part of this process. We know we can do it, we left the Hals Hall believing that this would be something we're going to go through defensively, just like we did
offensively last year and it's exciting."
WHERE DO YOU STAND IN THE DIVISION?
"That's something we're not really concerned. We know where we are, because we know where we left off. Feel we're competitive, but we want t get better just like everybody wants to get better. That's our focus now, it's not on the three other teams, which we highly respect but focusing in just improving our football team and that will be the focus right up until the start of the season. It is every day in our offices."
WHAT DOES KARATE GUY (JOE KIM) BRING TO THE TABLE?
"Joe's really come in as a consultant to the team. I first experienced this in the mid-90s when I was with the 49ers. We had a consultant with the team that was worked in the area of martial arts, working with the players and their hand usage, and it doesn't have to be just with the guys on the defensive line, it can be working with all of our players in many aspects just to evaluate how they use their hands and how they work and seeing where he can help. It's really a fluid process with Joe coming in, we know he's got experience in the league. He's had success with players. Phil has a great familiarity with him and his personality skill set and his character that he feels and we feel in talking to Joe, which I did last year, I spent time with him last year talking to him and interviewing him, that we felt it was a good time coming in and working with our coaches to try to help our guys in any way we can to develop and help them master their craft."
"Well, obviously it all starts with, schematically in the off-season with we're putting in a system of football where we have to be able to stop the run first obviously and that's where we're focused on and that goes into the fundamentals and techniques and getting the right players as we evaluate them to get that done and stopping the run isn't just a first line of defense area, it's all three levels but certainly that's a big part of it and obviously we want to be able to rush the passer and create a pass rush with four guys but everybody does. Everybody wants four guys rushing to be able to inhibit the quarterback from completing a throwing motion and disrupting in the pocket, all the things that we all know, but it starts up front. With all of football the line of scrimmage is key on both sides of the ball and certainly it's a priority with us."
DO U WANT TO HAVE MORE SAY IN THE DEFENSE?
"Yeah, I'm not sure what that means. I hold myself completely accountable for what happened to our football team defensively. It starts with me. As we work through this again, spent a lot of time obviously offensively last year getting things in place and making sre we had firm grounding and a firm foundation. That's not to say that I wasn't involved with the defense, as I said I hold myself accountable as the head football coach and as Mel works through this with
his staff, we certainly will talk about in this next year how much I'll be involved in the process defensively through the course of the week. We've talked about it, we've got some things in mind to get that done to do that and some things are in place offensively to do that, but at the end of the day that's a loaded question because I'm ultimately responsible and accountable for the product that's on the field from a coaching aspect each and every day."
D-LINE SIZE AND SPEED?
"That's breaking things down to a point where the most important thing is to find the best players and we can quantify that and that would take a lot more than two minutes Peggy to do that at each and every way, but to be as simple as I can, we want to find the best players, and not only the best players but the guys that have the character where we can create an environment in our locker room which is No. 1 of respect and brotherly love and compassion, working together to be part of something bigger, but then going to the specifics of that is scout related, is personnel related and that really comes down to is this guy a guy that is god for our locker room, does he have the ability, can we develop him because that's our No.1 job as coaches, we want to develop players and put them into position to give our football team success at that position."
SOMETHING ABOUT DEFENSE?
"They're all connected. There's no one player on our team more important than any other and there's no one position more important than the other. I think that when you break it down you could say that there's certain areas and each and every coach and each and every personnel person will say that. I don't think that's to discuss at this podium, but at the end of the day there's no one position more important, but as we move forward there will be priorities as we evaluate our team and evaluate the market place and certainly here at the combine."