How hot is the seat Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman is sitting on? Well, the Chicago Tribune wrote not that he should be fired, but that he should have been fired at halftime Sunday night, with his team trailing 42-0 at Green Bay.
As far as Tribune columnist Steve Rosenbloom is concerned, the firing of Trestman can’t happen soon enough. And much of the rest of Chicagoland media would agree. The rumblings against Trestman reached a crescendo when the Bears two weeks ago lost 51-23 at New England.
But with a bye week to recover, Trestman’s dwindling force of supporters expected he would retool and the team would bounce back with a competitive effort in Lambeau.
When that did not happen and the season record fell to 3-6, the outcry against the head coach reached a still higher level.
The Bears look thoroughly disorganized. Their offense self-destructs with false starts and holdings. The defensive players fail to communicate with each other, as breakdowns in the secondary are constant.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdowns in the first half of a game Green Bay won 55-14, which means Chicago had been outscored 106-37 in its past two games.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw another interception, as he usually does, and he continued to show no leadership. He’s the highest-paid player in the NFL, and while Trestman advocated spending deep to keep him, fingers also point to CEO Ted Phillips and general manager Phil Emery. They had a hand in tying up Cutler until 2018.
Last year, Trestman’s first as an NFL head coach, looked promising. His offense provided maximum protection for Cutler, who showed more accuracy and elusiveness than he had before. When Cutler was injured, backup Josh McCown came in and played even better.
Trestman was praised by Phil Simms as “the quarterback whisperer.” He could make any quarterback look good.
But Cutler and the Bears’ offense have regressed this season, while McCown is mired with 1-8 Tampa Bay and was last seen sobbing at the media conference following Sunday’s 27-17 loss to Atlanta.
The Bears are not entirely dependent on Cutler, but Trestman seems determined to waste a fine running back, Matt Forte, in his zeal to throw the ball. Forte carried only twice in the first eight plays from scrimmage against Green Bay, which has the league’s worst run defense.
Trestman has had extensive experience as an offensive coordinator. He was highly respected for designing plays and building confidence in his quarterbacks, but he was faulted for not being able to run an effective offense, for not making all the parts mesh.
That still seems the case.
Emery gets most of the blame for hiring Trestman, choosing him over Bruce Arians, who was coach of the year in 2012 as a fill-in for leukemia-stricken Chuck Pagano. Arians has built the Arizona Cardinals into the winningest team in pro football.
Emery’s evaluations of veteran players is also suspect. The past offseason didn’t go well. Hoping to improve the pass rush, he parted with Julius Peppers and brought in Jared Allen. Bad move. Peppers has been, along with Clay Matthews, a key player in Green Bay’s solid pass defense, while Allen looks spent, providing little push off the edge.
But whatever mistakes Emery has made, nothing of significance happens in Halas Hall without the approval of Phillips.
Rosenbloom sees the best solution being for the franchise to rid itself of Trestman, Emery and Phillips. He wrote: “Maybe they can get a group rate for the national convention of village idiots.”