Marc Trestman lives a professional life replete with gambles: fourth downs, challenge flags, end-arounds and other play calls, personnel decisions. One that he made during the Bears’ off week, however, had nothing to do with what was happening on the field, and at the same time had everything to do with on-field realities.
Departing from common practice during off weeks, Trestman did not avail his team of “free” practice days and have the Bears spend at least a day practicing only their own schemes, with no direct look toward an upcoming opponent. Teams always self-scout and off weeks typically are brief respites to work on fundamentals, techniques and the basics.
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“It really comes down to fundamentals and techniques and an improvement in that area,” Trestman said after last Sunday’s defensive debacle in Washington. “Not an improvement in scheme, not an improvement of structure, just being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing with the fundamentals that we’ve been taught.”
Yet in spite of, or perhaps because of, losing three of their last four games, Trestman and his staff opted instead to give players the entire week away from football. This despite coaches universally stressing that the focus going forward would be re-doubling work on those fundamentals and techniques.
Trestman’s perspective on the overall is to give players a chance to get healthy (although sitting out practice is an option there) and treat the week leading to the Green Bay game next Monday as one with extra practice opportunities.
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“We’re going to come back and we’ve got two competitive practices on Monday and Tuesday,” Trestman said. “I think the biggest thing right now in the big picture is to get our football team some rest and get them healed up. And the collective bargaining agreement allows us to do that. They have to have a significant time off. And we’ve got a long week with a Monday night game and we’ve got two practices where we’ll spend time on fundamentals. So that’ll give us five practices next week.”
If the Bears rebound with a surprise of the Packers next Monday, it was a good gamble by Trestman. If fundamentals and techniques break down as they have in several of the recent games… .