Marc Trestman has been a part of nine different NFL teams in his coaching career, two college football teams, and one CFL team as the head coach for the Montreal Alouettes. But looking back on his first season with the Bears, Trestman admits Chicago fans are much different.
"It's beyond passion, these fans' love of this football team. And I do have perspective on that," Trestman said during a one-on-one interview with Chicago Tribune's Dan Wiederer. "I've coached in a lot of different cities. I've coached for one-third of the league and I've never been around anything like this. True fans. True love of the football team. High expectations.
But above it all, there's really a genuine love for the team and a true desire to want to see us have great success. You're out enough that it comes at you. People come up to you, they're open, they're honest about their love for the team. And they've never been anything but respectful. But you can just feel it, that it's not the same as it is everywhere else. That's really cool for me to be part of that."
As Trestman heads into his second year as head coach, the Bears' expectations have only gotten higher now that the offense has grasped Trestman's system for a full season. Most notably, however, all eyes will be on Jay Cutler, who signed a seven-year deal in the offseason. But Trestman is confident his quarterback can take the next step.
"The number one thing from my standpoint is the way that he has invested in the Chicago Bears. Jay has been emotionally and selflessly invested in ways that he wouldn't talk about," Trestman said. "But he really cares about this organization and every day he's a very, very observant person and he's a very proactive person in terms of inserting himself in all areas of this building to help this organization get better. I'll just leave it at that. But it has been very, very impressive to watch how he has worked intelligently and selflessly to do that."
Big picture, Phil Emery has added key pieces, such as Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston, to help push the Bears into the playoffs for the first time since 2010. And while the roster looks good on paper, Trestman knows it won't come easy.
"Our guys look around the meeting room and they know we have a lot of work to do," Trestman said. "And we're not looking too far ahead. But some of the players have said it. There's enough there on paper to say that we have a chance. We just have a lot of work to do."