Few human subspecies are more consistently and unfailingly positive than the American football coach, particularly the American head coach. It may be something in the “C” chromosome; there is an “X” chromosome (female), “Y” chromosome (male), and the recently discovered “C” chromosome (coach).
Whatever the makeup, coaches are about the positive.
Marc Trestman, however, while a paragon of positive most of the time, has fortified his team in its last two wins with an extra edge gained from focusing some attention on the negative.
First was the cold that was a mental and physical destroyer for the Dallas game. Trestman had the Bears practice inside the first day of work in order to get the necessary precision and order without the distraction of temperature.
But the second two practice days were spent outside in part to acclimate to playing in the cold, but also to become familiar with the negative effects of cold on the body. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod, formerly of the dome-housed New Orleans Saints, said that the point was to understand how you would feel and how the cold would affect warming up and that process.
The second “negative” has been to instill a sense of expecting problems. Not focusing on the problems, but rather what happens afterwards.
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The Bears were reeling after Jay Cutler’s two first-half interceptions in Cleveland. But they also scored on the next possession after the first interception, and overcame the second interception plus a field goal nullified by a holding penalty to score with a minute left in the first half.
“Coach Trestman and all the coaches are always preaching that something bad is going to happen,” said right tackle Jordan Mills. “We don’t know when it’s going to happen; we don’t want it to happen. But when it does happen, you just let it go and move on to the next play.
“I think the whole offense and defense and special teams have responded well to those things. It’s not what happens; it’s how you respond and move from it.”
Cleveland was simply the latest in a season replete with responding to and overcoming the negative.
“So many of these games, we could have hung our heads,” said guard Matt Slauson. “The Cincinnati game (trailing at halftime, end of third quarter), the first Minnesota game (trailing fourth quarter), Baltimore (trailing halftime, end of third quarter), even both Detroit games, where we lost. We never stop.”