Kromer-Trestman pairing points to balanced firepower

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Kromer-Trestman pairing points to balanced firepower

The problems on offense were the focus going into this offseason, beginning with the firing of Lovie Smith and expanding with the hiring of Marc Trestman as head coach. That intensified again Wednesday when Trestman, noted quarterbacks mentor and offensive coordinator through his 17 years of NFL experience, made his first big hire also on offense and made it in the direction of addressing the offensive line.

Aaron Kromer, an offensive line coach with Northwestern, the Oakland Raiders (where he worked with Trestman in 2002-2003), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints (2009-2012), will be Trestmans offensive coordinator, as first reported Wednesday by ESPN.

RELATED: Alouettes GM confident Bears made right choice with Trestman

Kromer also served as interim head coach through the Saints first six games in 2012 with Sean Payton and Joe Vitt serving suspensions.

Studying the Saints

Despite the upheaval surrounding the staff and organization as a result of the bounty scandal, the Saints were No. 3 in scoring with 28.8 points per game and No. 2 in yardage with 411 per game. By comparison the Bears topped 400 yards just three times all season.

There was little subtle about the New Orleans offense. While young quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson were fascinating the NFL with read-options, pistols and such, Drew Brees was doing what he always does.

Just throw, baby, of the Saints 1,067 plays, 697 (65.3 percent) were pass play.

Very significantly, however, Brees was sacked just 26 times, or once every 25.8 plays more than twice the rate Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell were going down.

That was being accomplished by scheme, Brees and Kromers offensive line despite losing Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks through free agency.

Kromer-Trestman indicators

Kromer was the Raiders offensive line coach in 2002 when they reached the Super Bowl and then-coordinator Trestman was helping quarterback Rich Gannon have an MVP season.

The Raiders were a passing offense with Gannon throwing on 61.2 percent of the plays that year. He was sacked 36 times, or once every 18 dropbacks.

The most striking aspect of that offense, which was second in the NFL in scoring, was its balanced use of weaponry. Jerry Rice led the Raiders with 92 catches for 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns. But the No. 2 receiver was a running back Charlie Garner who caught 91 passes while he and Tyrone Wheatley were combining for nearly 1,400 yards.

Add to that wide receivers Tim Brown (81) and Jerry Porter (51, nine TDs) and the result was a diversified offense that totaled more than 6,200 yards. No Bears team has ever totaled more than the 5,837 in 1985, one of only two Bears teams managing even 5,800.

Staffing similarities

While not arrived at the same ways, the new 1-2 structure of Trestman-Kromer is similar to the 2010-2011 Bears alignment on offense of Mike Martz as coordinator and Mike Tice the line coach. Martz did not hire Tice but the combination did produce an 18-8 stretch before Jay Cutler was injured in the 2011 season.

Bears believe they got more than just a No. 2 QB in signing Mark Sanchez

Bears believe they got more than just a No. 2 QB in signing Mark Sanchez

PHOENIX – The signing of Mark Sanchez last week gave the Bears what they view as a bona fide No. 2 quarterback, something they have needed at least one of in each of the last seven seasons. Sanchez has started 72 NFL games vs. the 18 of Mike Glennon but GM Ryan Pace reiterated on Tuesday that Glennon is ensconced as the starter.
 
More than just finding a viable backup has been at stake in the Bears' quest for a backup, and in a clear statement of philosophy, Pace affirmed that intangibles played a significant part in deciding on Sanchez. Part of those specifically involved an assessment of how Sanchez would work off the field with Glennon.
 
"He's knowledgeable, he's smart and him and Mike have already kind of clicked," Pace said. "They're together and they're organizing workouts on their own and those kind of things are important.
 
"We've talked about it before: There's no more important room than the quarterback room and we put a lot of thought as to how that room blends together, especially with the number two position. Obviously we're evaluating the physical traits and what he can do physically but how they fit in as teammates, how they help each other, how they support each other. I think we've all seen really good rooms that are better as a whole because of the people that are in there. And maybe some rooms that don't click well together. I think we've created an environment not only with him but also with Connor Shaw where it's a room that can really click together and make each other better."

[MORE BEARS: No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety]
 
While Pace and coach John Fox have preached competition throughout the depth chart, that does not appear to apply at quarterback the same way. Indeed, a true quarterback competition can divide teams and become a distraction cloud over more than just that one position.
 
Glennon in fact may not need a lot of external competition. He is effectively playing to restart his NFL career, with $16 million guaranteed for the 2017 season but only $2.5 million guaranteed beyond that on a contract with a top-out of $45 million over three years.
 
"I think it's good for them to always be pushing each other so there's competition," Pace said. "Glennon's our starter… but that doesn't mean they're not pushing each other throughout practice and I think that goes with Connor Shaw, too. So those guys are all competitive guys, we wouldn't want them if they weren't competitive, and I just think it's a healthy competition."

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

PHOENIX – If the Bears intend to cut ties with Deiondre' Hall after the first-year cornerback become involved in an ugly police incident last weekend, they have not indicated their decision yet. They have, however, begun looking at a possible position change for Hall as they gather information on events of last Saturday night.

Hall was tasered by police in Cedar Falls, Ia., after he and a former Northern Iowa University teammate were allegedly involved in a fight at a bar. Hall was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and interference. Hall allegedly spit in the officers' faces, according to an affidavit, police saying that an officer used a Taser on Hall's legs in order to get him into a squad car.

GM Ryan Pace confirmed that the team is still gathering information and said, "it's just [that] the circumstances are a little disappointing, to be honest with you. We're aware of it, it's just kind of gathering more facts as we go forward."

Pace has spoken to Hall and said that the team wanted to investigate thoroughly, "but the circumstances surrounding it are obviously disappointing."

In the meantime, the 2016 fourth-round draft choice is slated to be tried at safety when the team convenes for the start of offseason work. Hall played the position in college, and has traits that the Bears value at the safety position.

"One of Deiondre's best traits is his ball skills, his ball clock, the ability to time the pass breakup," Pace said. "He's very natural at playing safety and that's one of the reasons we drafted him, because he has the versatility to do both. That's something we're going to talk about this offseason and he could start taking some reps there in the offseason program."

Cornerback Kyle Fuller, who missed all of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August, will stay at cornerback.