Marc Trestman sounded like a mutual-fund manager on Wednesday, basically declaring an obvious disclaimer, that the Bears may be 3-0 but they haven’t won much of anything yet, except in the minds’ eyes of hopeful beholders, media or fan or both.
The Bears head coach was asked if there was anything that has transpired in his first three weeks in charge of an NFL team if here was something he could ID as an indicator that this success thing would go on and on.
To his credit, Trestman didn’t laugh and actually seemed a little puzzled at the question. “I can’t,” he said. “I don’t see how we can. Past performance is no indication of future success. It can’t be.”
Defensive end Julius Peppers said as much to the team in an impromptu team “meeting” on the field before practice. A fast start is only that: a start.
Trestman, the architect of the latest Jay Cutler Bears fast start was tapping the brakes and suggesting that everyone should do the same.
That Trestman is not being swept away by apparent evidence of his Willy-Wonka’ish genius is more to his credit than even the Bears’ record. If there was ever a situation where someone could be excused for puffy-chesting – “See! All you NFL teams that never hired me! How do you like me NOW?!” – Trestman is there right now.
Trestman gets all of this. If anything, he’s clearly got a sense of history.
The Bears stood 4-1 in 2010 with Mike Martz heading up the offense. (The words “stood” and “heading” are used advisedly here, since Cutler was down with a concussion and wasn’t doing much standing at all.)
A year later Cutler was directing in-game F-bombs in Martz’s direction.
The Bears were 3-1 in 2009 with Ron Turner as offensive coordinator; 3-0 in 2010 and 2-2 in 2011 with Martz (the latter on the way to a 7-3 mark before Cutler’s thumb injury); and 3-1 on the way to 7-1 last year under Mike Tice.
So as far as the group-hug, which started after the Bears functioned well offensively in the preseason win at Oakland, Trestman will pass.
“The only thing the past shows us is we have signs, and I said this after the Oakland game, that we can be a good football team,” he said. “But it takes work and you have to compartmentalize each and every week and put your time in.
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“And not only put your time in but put your heart into your time because if you don’t have both you aren’t working and that is what we are trying to do is just work hard and passionately each and every day and see what happens on Sunday. They are separate entities, completely separate, and really nothing in the past is relatable, in my opinion, other than the fact that we have signs that we can be a good football team and we’ve got good people and good character in our locker room to get it done.”
16 one-game seasons
Trestman simply doesn’t view the season in quite the way Dick Jauron and Lovie Smith did. However minor this point, Jauron and Smith are among NFL coaches who distilled a 16-game season down into four four-game stretches. It was purely a mental thing, intended to get away from looking at a 16-game season as just a long, long slog.
Trestman has gone that a step further, shortening the season into sixteenths.
“I look at every game as Game 1 of the season,” he said. “It’s the only game there ever is and ever will be, and that’s the one we’ve got to focus on and try to be at our best and let the rest take care of itself.”