When Marc Trestman arrived, having been out of the NFL for some years and being a coach from a purely offensive background, some questions hung over how his message and methods would resonate with players, particularly veteran players and particularly ones on defense.
Trestman’s messages in fact are playing very, very well in some high places on the other side of the ball and with leaders on his defense.
Trestman said this week that he does not view an NFL season in four-game quarters, but rather as a series of one-game events. The Bears aren’t going to Detroit with a 3-0 record; they’re 0-0.
“That’s why I like the guy so much,” said defensive end and co-captain Julius Peppers. “He verbalizes a lot of what I think. I believe that, that the most important game is the next game."
On Friday Trestman matter-of-factly stated that the Detroit Lions represent a divisional opponent, but this is not a “rivalry” game. Game two vs. Minnesota wasn’t and the Nov. 4 game against the Packers in Green Bay won’t be, either.
“I don’t think there’s such thing as a “rivalry” in the NFL,” Trestman said. “I think as soon as you make something a rivalry, you make someone more important than the next.
“The Detroit Lions aren’t any more important than any other team. We have to play them and we have to compete against them on Sunday and they deserve our maximum respect. If we say there’s a rivalry, then we’re saying that one game is more important than the other, and it’s not. Every game has an equal amount of importance whoever you’re playing, and it would be disrespectful to 30 other teams if we said this game is more important than the next, or a bigger rivalry than the next. That’s respecting everybody else you’re playing, and I don’t think that’s fair or respectful of playing and coaching in this league.”
Again, Trestman thinking resonates with his team leaders:
“There’s a little more on the line but it’s no more important than the first three we’ve played,” Peppers said. “That’s the truth.”