CHICAGO – The Chicago Bears hired Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman on Wednesday to replace the fired Lovie Smith and gave him two basic tasks – fix the offense and lead the team to the playoffs on a consistent basis.
It’s the first head coaching job in the NFL for Trestman, a longtime assistant in the league who spent the past five seasons coaching the CFL’s Alouettes and led them to two Grey Cup titles. Trestman was an offensive coordinator with Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland.
Chicago general manager Phil Emery cast a wide net in his search, meeting with at least 13 candidates. Besides Trestman, he also brought back Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and the Colts’ Bruce Arians for second interviews.
Trestman wasted no time assembling his staff.
A person familiar with the situation said the Bears hired New Orleans Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer as their offensive coordinator. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced.
The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, reported on their website that special teams coach Joe DeCamillis was leaving to become Chicago’s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator.
For Chicago, the moves come after a 10-win season in which the Bears fell apart after winning seven of their first eight games.
Smith was let go after nine years, ending a run that included a trip to the Super Bowl but also saw Chicago miss the playoffs five of the past six seasons. That move did not sit well with some players at the time, but quarterback Jay Cutler is looking forward to working with Trestman.
He’s been successful wherever he’s been, Cutler told the Bears’ website. He’s from the West Coast coaching tree, which I’m familiar with. It’s what I came into the league with, with (Mike) Shanahan (with the Denver Broncos in 2006), so I’m looking forward to it.
He understands quarterbacks. He understands their thought process and the minds of quarterbacks and what we have to go through. It’s going to be a quarterback-friendly system, and I can’t wait to get started with him.
Heard so many GREAT things about Coach Trestman can’t wait to follow his lead, receiver Brandon Marshall wrote on Twitter. The Bears, who have scheduled a news conference for this morning, are turning to the 57-year-old Trestman in part because of his background with quarterbacks.
He worked with Bernie Kosar as an assistant at the University of Miami and again when he was on the Browns’ staff in the 1980s. Trestman helped the Raiders reach the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season with an offense he geared for Rich Gannon, the league’s MVP.
In recent years, Trestman has worked as a consultant in the NFL and in the offseason helped quarterbacks entering the league – including Cutler for a few days. His biggest task will be maximizing the man behind center and getting the offense to click.
That’s something that never really happened under Smith, who oversaw a top defense with stars Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs but could not solve the issues on the other side of the ball.
The Bears’ offense never ranked higher than 15th under Smith, and the problems in that area along with the postseason misses ultimately led to his dismissal.
The Bears have big holes on the offensive line and at tight end, but the No. 1 task is connecting with Cutler.
As gifted as he is, questions remain about his makeup and demeanor.
He has one year left on his contract, and the Bears have to figure out if he can lead them to the top.