Chances slim that Trestman boosts Bears 'W' total in 2013

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Chances slim that Trestman boosts Bears 'W' total in 2013

The only answers that really matter wont start coming until sometime in September. But there is nothing premature in musing about exactly what might expected of the 2013 Marc Trestman Bears and the 2013 Marc Trestman-Aaron Kromer offense in particular.

Not all of the expectations are necessarily good.

Chances are that the 13 Bears wont be as successful as the 12 ones. No coach in franchise history has ever won as many as 10 games in his first season; for that matter only one (Paddy Driscoll, 9-2-1, 1956) has even won nine.

The organizations tradition is that incoming coaches win no more, and usually fewer, games than the ones they replace. Since the end of the George Halas era 45 years ago, only Dick Jauron and Dave Wannstedt posted first seasons better than the coaches they succeeded:

Coach: Ws

Lovie Smith: 2004 - 5
Dick Jauron: 2003 - 7

Jauron: 1999 - 6
Dave Wannstedt: 1998 - 4

Wannstedt: 1993 - 7
Mike Ditka: 1992 - 5

Ditka: 1982 - 3 (nine-game season)
Neill Armstrong: 1981 - 6

Armstrong: 1978 - 7
Jack Pardee: 1977 - 9

Pardee: 1975 - 4
Abe Gibron: 1974 - 4

Gibron: 1972 - 4
Jim Dooley: 1971 - 6

Dooley: 1968 - 7
George Halas: 1967 - 7

Trestman will be challenged to top Smiths 10 wins in 2012. Then again, just about every year some new kid gets that done and more.

The Indianapolis Colts went to the 2012 playoffs with first-timer Chuck Pagano in first year and with first-timer Bruce Arians stepping in for 12 games when Pagano was ill. Jim Harbaugh went 13-3 and to the 2011 playoffs in his first NFL coaching season.

Then-novice Rex Ryan rallied the N.Y. Jets to the 2009 playoffs. John Harbaugh had the Baltimore Ravens at 11-5 in 2008, his first season as a head coach at any level.

Best guess: If the Bears do not equal or top Smiths 2012 win total or make the playoffs, Trestman will be back for 2013 but Jay Cutler will not, unless the failure is entirely the fault of the defense.

Trestman meets the media

Be careful not to over-analyze, over-value or even underrate whatever Trestman has to say at his first meeting with the public via media on Thursday. His performance as a head coach will turn on what he does on a sideline, not at a podium.

Remember the fawning over Phil Emery for his apparent candor and utterances in his Jan. 1 press conference? Some of those praising that and his extended interview process were doubting Emerys judgment after Trestman was the choice.

Judging Emery by a press conference session was as useful as evaluating a Presidency by the inaugural address.

Forte has the most to gain?

Trestman was hired for his abilities to structure an offense, which says quarterbacks. But far from just that position.

The early guess on the Bears who will prosper most under Trestman isnt Cutler. The latter may finally become a franchise quarterback (which is far from the same thing as the franchises best quarterback).

It will be Matt Forte, and not so much as a runner but rather as the true all-around back he was before last season (no fewer than 51 catches from 2008-2011) and as envisioned by the Bears when they gave him 17 million guaranteed in his new deal last offseason.

Through Trestmans 14 main NFL seasons, backs (one RB, one FB as the model) in Trestmans NFL offenses consistently caught upwards of 70 passes. Three times, backfield tandems caught more than 100. Three others they topped 80.

Brandon Marshall may not completely buy into that. But if he wants to play in the postseason for the first time in his career, he should.

Brandon Marshall responds to tweet asking if he misses Jay Cutler

Brandon Marshall responds to tweet asking if he misses Jay Cutler

The bromance of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall began in Denver when they were drafted together in 2006, and then shifted to Chicago in 2012 via a trade to complete the reunion.

The two instantly hit it off and developed a close relationship on and off the field, a large reason why the Bears acquired Marshall to help spark some old magic.

But things took a turn when Marshall was traded to the New York Jets last offseason.

Asked on Twitter if he misses his former quarterback, Marshall responded with a genuine answer:

Bears sign Chicago native Tony Moeaki, defensive lineman Marquis Jackson

Bears sign Chicago native Tony Moeaki, defensive lineman Marquis Jackson

Tony Moeaki is coming home.

The Bears announced on Thursday that they have signed the former Wheaton Warrenville South standout.

Moeaki attended Bears minicamp on a tryout and impressed the coaching staff enough to secure a deal.

The 29-year-old Moeaki appeared in 11 games for the Atlanta Falcons last season and recorded three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Moeaki was originally selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third-round (93rd overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Iowa. He has 91 receptions for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns in 48 career games.

Moeaki is expected to provide tight end depth and compete for a backup spot behind starter Zach Miller.

The Bears also announced the signing of defensive lineman Marquis Jackson, the twin brother of former Denver Broncos Super Bowl champion and current Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Malik Jackson. Marquis Jackson entered the NFL in 2013 with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State, but has not appeared in a regular-season NFL game. 

In corresponding roster moves, the Bears waived defensive lineman Kenton Adeyemi and linebacker Don Cherry.

Minicamp wrap: Three answers to 'So, how do the Bears look?'

Minicamp wrap: Three answers to 'So, how do the Bears look?'

The Bears concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday, ending on a short-term feel-good — coach John Fox canceling the last offseason practice before training camp starts on July 27.

“They’ve earned it,” Fox said with a tone that suggested a degree of satisfaction in what he’d seen at this point of his 15th NFL head coaching season. “I don’t just do that because I feel like it. They worked real hard. We had great participation and they worked extremely hard. They earned it.”

Positive beliefs are frequently easy to find this far in advance of games that matter. But within the work of the OTA’s and minicamp were “tells,” signs that the Bears clearly believe they are nothing like the squad that wobbled through four losses in its final five games to finish 6-10.

But how exactly DO the Bears look as their pre-camp work wraps up? Three answers to that question emerged over the past several weeks:

1. They really AREN’T the same team from a year ago, or even six months ago.

Fox is among those who maintain that big jumps occur from year one to year two for players, particularly young ones. But more than individual players make year-one-to-year-two leaps.

Fox’s Carolina Panthers improved from seven to 11 wins from his first to second seasons with them, reaching the Super Bowl in year two (2003). His Denver Broncos teams went from eight wins in Fox’s year-one (2011) to 13 in year two.

“It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen,” Fox said. “But I’m pleased with where we are this year. If I had to compare to something, it would be this time last year and I feel much better about where we are now than I did at this time a year ago.”

Easy to say, but consider: This time a year ago, six current starters on defense (Mitch Unrein, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, Tracy Porter, Harold Jones-Quartey) were not practicing. Jones-Quartey and Unrein were not even Bears.

This time a year ago, Jared Allen was trying to be a linebacker. Brock Vereen was a starting safety. Eddie Goldman was out of shape and barely practicing. Kevin White was busy stress-fracturing his left leg. Jordan Mills was the starting right tackle.

Yes, Fox should feel “much better.”

2.  Bears D is visibly “night and day from last year”

The 2015 Bears defense went into Week 17 last season with exactly one defensive lineman (Will Sutton) who’d been with the team going into training camp. The unit finished 29th allowing third-down conversions and 30th in interception rate, among other less-than-stellar indicators.

Through this minicamp, the practice field frequently echoed with whoops from a defense that had picked off a pass or knocked a football loose. Quarterback Jay Cutler was rarely intercepted through camp last year, a sign of what was to come under coordinator Adam Gase through the regular season. This year he has not had his way with the defense.

“Just going against them from my perspective, it seems like night and day from last year,” Cutler said. “Just going against these guys, it’s a much different group, much different group. They’re faster, they’re quicker and they’ve got a confidence about them. I think Vic [Fangio, defensive coordinator] really doing a good job of mixing it up and showing us different looks.

“They’re going to help us out, get some short fields, get some turnovers, put some pressure on us to do our job on offense.”

3. Meshing vets adamant: “We can accomplish a lot here.”

Simply bringing a bunch of even talented veterans assures absolutely nothing (insert Daniel Snyder joke here). The Bears experienced that when in 2014 they brought in Allen, Houston and Young, then saw the defense remain at epic lows as the Bears went from 8-8 to 5-11.

This offseason the Bears brought in two starting inside linebackers (Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan) behind a massive defensive end (Akiem Hicks). On offense, Kyle Long returned to guard from tackle as the Bears signed workout-mate Bobby Massie, among other changes.

And the result of bringing together multiple players from winning programs has contributed to a palpable attitude adjustment to one that was conspicuously absent last year.

“I feel like, that you know a lot of people doubt [teammates] or some guys were hurt last year or this and that,” said Trevathan, a Super Bowl winner with Denver last season and who had his ring on display for teammates on Wednesday. “But you know, they're playing like they're hungry, with a chip on their shoulder. They're playing like they're hungry and that's what I'm used to and that's where you need to start.”

“Hungry” in June doesn’t necessarily mean wins in Fall. But a lack of hunger or shoulder-chip typically does point to looming problems, so the strong attitude the other way does count for something.

“There’s a lot of great talent here,” said Massie, a playoff veteran from the Arizona Cardinals under coach Bruce Arians. “And this team can accomplish a lot of good things. From the past team I’ve been with I see a lot of the things that we had with those past teams here. So we can accomplish a lot here.”