What You Need to Know About New Chicago Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman

Gary DavenportFeatured Columnist IVMarch 13, 2017

28 Jul 1998:  Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the 1998 Arizona Cardinals training camp at the Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Mandatory Credit: Marc Piscotty  /Allsport
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

After interviewing a litany of candidates that ran the gamut from relative unknowns to one of the greatest players in the history of their storied franchise, the Chicago Bears have hired a new head coach—and it's a hire that surprised many people.

On Wednesday, the Bears announced that Marc Trestman, who has served as the head coach of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes the past five seasons, will be the team's 14th head coach. While that move left some scratching their heads, it came as little surprise to Montreal general manager Jim Popp, according to Brad Biggs and Dan Pompei of The Chicago Tribune.

“The skill set that Marc has, being an offensive mind, and then his great relationships that he's had with quarterbacks historically in the NFL and the work he's done with them makes him a good fit for the job,” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said. "Coach Trestman has run a professional team as a head coach for five years. He's had a winning record for five years. He's proven himself as a head coach at a professional level. You can call it what you want, but on-hand training as a head coach and proof goes a long way, goes a real long way. You can't replace that.”

A lot of the puzzlement emanating from the hiring of Trestman stems from two main facts.

First, he's never been a head coach at the NFL level, although he did guide the Alouettes to a pair of Grey Cup victories during his time in Montreal.

Second, he's been out of the NFL altogether for eight years, although he has worked with a number of NFL quarterbacks (including the Bears' Jay Cutler) in the offseasons since his departure.

It's Trestman's offensive mind and ability to work with quarterbacks that no doubt appealed to Bears general manager Phil Emery, and in that regard Trestman's resume is fairly extensive, albeit a bit dusty.

Trestman has over 15 years of experience as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator dating all the way back to 1985, when he was the running backs coach with the Minnesota Vikings.

In two years as quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 1988 and 1989, the Browns made the playoffs both seasons, including advancing to the AFC Championship game in Trestman's one season as offensive coordinator.

Trestman worked with Steve Young in San Francisco as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the 49ers from 1995-1996, and in Trestman's first year with the team, San Francisco led the NFL in both points scored and passing offense

Young has been one of Trestman's biggest supporters during the Bears' courtship, as evidenced by comments he recently made during a recent interview with WMVP-AM (via Mark Potash of The Chicago Sun-Times).

''The CFL is just a place where he's gotten to show that he's a dynamic leader,'' Young said in an interview on the ''Waddle & Silvy Show'' on WMVP-AM. ''He's a dynamic straight-shooter. He's a soft-spoken guy, but the Bears with their defensive history ... this is going to be a great hire. [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.''

However, at this point it's worth interjecting that for all Young's superlatives about Trestman's "great offense flowering," when looking at the numbers from Trestman's eight seasons as an offensive coordinator, that wasn't necessarily the case.



Total Offense

Passing Offense

Scoring Offense









































With that said, though, Trestman has had a kanck for getting the most out of the quarterback he has, going all the way back to his time with Bernie Kosar at the University of Miami.

After Trestman moved on to the Detroit Lions in 1997, where he served as quarterbacks coach for one year, he was able to propel quarterback Scott Mitchell to nearly 3,500 passing yards, the second-highest total of Mitchell's eleven-year NFL career.

During Trestman's three-year stint as the coordinator in Arizona, Trestman oversaw a Cardinals offense in 1998 that produced the second-highest yardage total of Jake Plummer's 10 NFL seasons, with the Cardinals making the playoffs that year for the first time in well over a decade and upsetting the Dallas Cowboys for their first postseason win in 51 years.

Finally, in Trestman's second of three seasons in with the Raiders from 2001-2003, quarterback Rich Gannon had a phenomenal year, winning the NFL MVP award in 2002 on the heels of almost 4,700 passing yards while leading the Raiders to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

After his stint in Oakland and one disastrous season as an assistant in Miami with the Dolphins, it was on to the college ranks and then the CFL, which leaves us where we stand today.

Frankly, the jury's out on the wisdom of hiring Trestman to lead the Bears. His reputation as an offensive guru and molder of quarterbacks is touted by many as an asset that the Bears sorely need, but for every great season a Trestman offense had, there was a disappointing one.

However, the raw statistics also don't necessarily tell the whole story, as there were certainly other factors such as injuries and the quality of offensive personnel at his disposal that must be taken into consideration.

The Bears obviously think that Marc Trestman is the coach who can mold Jay Cutler into an elite NFL quarterback and jump start a Chicago offense that ranked 28th in the NFL in 2012.

That may remain to be seen, but at any rate, after looking at Trestman's rather lengthy resume, we can say one thing.

He's not quite the unknown commodity that some have made him out to be.