Marc Trestman: Hiring Former CFL Coach Is Risky Move for Bears

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IIJanuary 16, 2013

Source: The Chicago Tribune
Source: The Chicago Tribune

Coaches from mediocre college programs are getting head coaching jobs in the NFL. CFL coaches are getting head coaching jobs in the NFL.

A sign of evolution, or a sign that front office members are too willing to throw everything they have at the wall and see what sticks?

Seven NFL head coaches were canned at the conclusion of the 2012 regular season, and another one was replaced on Wednesday as the Chicago Bears announced that Marc Trestman would replace Lovie Smith, according to USA Today.

If you've never heard of Trestman, well, you're not expected to. He has spent the last five years in the Canadian Football League as the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes, and while his success there has been impressive—a 64-34 overall record and two consecutive championships—is it relevant? Can it translate into the NFL?

The good news is Trestman also has some experience in the NFL, serving in various assistant roles with the Cardinals, the Raiders and the Dolphins from 1985 to 2004. That experience offers some positives where Trestman is concerned.

Is this coaching decision going to be an utter disaster? Not necessarily. The Bears aren't that bad, and neither is Jay Cutler. Because of Trestman's experience (and success) as a quarterbacks coach, it is assumed he is coming to Chicago purely because the team believes he can mold Cutler into a better quarterback; a consistently successful quarterback.

However, this is Jay Cutler we're talking about here, whose biggest problem has been his inability to stay healthy. Cutler will be 30 by the time the 2013 season starts and has already had six concussions.

Someone like Trestman, allegedly, is what Cutler needs.

It's what the Bears need.

Plus, it's not like the Bears are the Cleveland Browns. Trestman is stepping into a situation on a team that was one win away from making the playoffs in 2012.

But Trestman has been out of the league for eight years, and CFL quarterbacks are not NFL quarterbacks.

This isn't like hiring a college head coach and expecting him to succeed in the NFL. Plenty of college quarterbacks succeed in the pros, and as such, so do their coaches. But college quarterbacks who can't succeed in the NFL go to the CFL. Can the same be said for coaches?

One positive to take from this hiring is the fact that Steve Young is a big supporter of it. The Hall of Famer told the Waddle and Silvy Show via the Chicago Sun-Times that Trestman and the Bears could be a perfect marriage:

The CFL is just a place where he's gotten to show that he's a dynamic leader. He's a dynamic straight-shooter. [He'll hire a] great defensive coordinator. Keep that tradition up and watch the flowering of a great offense. Look what's happening in San Francisco. That's what the Bears could be. And I think that's what Marc Trestman can bring them.

The difference, though, is that Jim Harbaugh has a plethora of college coaching experience to add to his NFL experience. It was his tremendous success in the NCAA that led to his hiring in San Francisco and, as a result, his success in the NFL.

These days, you never know who the most successful professional coaches are going to be. A guy can be the best assistant around and can look completely and totally lost when he is handed the reins (see: Josh McDaniels).

It's a risk, but that doesn't mean it won't pan out. But a 57-year-old CFL coach who's been out of the league for eight years does not a sure thing make.