Bears Sunday Playbook: ‘Everybody in here has got [Trestman’s] back’

SHARE Bears Sunday Playbook: ‘Everybody in here has got [Trestman’s] back’

The praise poured in for Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith this past week. Even those who had glass-half-empty views of Smith’s nine-year run as the Bears’ coach saw their glasses overflowing.

There even was some guilt-ridden reminiscing by quarterback Jay Cutler.

‘‘We won 10 games the year he got fired, which was tough to see,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘A lot of the blame was on the offense, [which] I said when he got fired. At this point, you just have to wish him well and move on.’’

All the adoration for Smith during a time of increased scrutiny of coach Marc Trestman makes one wonder whether Trestman ever will reach that level during his own run with the Bears. Will Trestman even have time?

The Smith and Trestman eras began under vastly different circumstances. Trestman replaced Smith after a 10-6 season and was handed a defense stocked with Pro Bowl-caliber veterans and coming off a strong 2012 season full of takeaways.

Expectations were high from Day 1. Trestman joined a win-now situation with a roster built by general manager Phil Emery to do just that. Trestman just had to fix the offense and the quarterback.

Smith’s situation began with much lower expectations. He didn’t replace a coach who was deeply revered by his players. He took over for Dick Jauron, who had one playoff appearance in five seasons and went 11-21 in his last two years.

In Jauron’s final season in 2003, the Bears’ defense ranked 22nd in points and 14th in yards, while the offense was 23rd and 28th, respectively. A year before that, those numbers were considerably worse.

Smith had young players to coach and mold into the faces of his team. Linebacker Brian Urlacher was in his fifth season. Linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman were only in their second.

Trestman was tasked with developing a mercurial quarterback in his eighth NFL season who requires still more fine-tuning in Year 9.

The point is that Smith was given time to earn what he has become in the eyes of Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman and others. He was afforded time to indoctrinate his philosophies from the start.

Trestman seemingly doesn’t have the same comforts. Time was his enemy from Day 1. He had to reach a team during a time of dramatic change.

That doesn’t mean the Bears will or should say goodbye to Trestman after this season. As odd as it sounds, he still has time.

Over the next six games, the best ways to gauge Trestman’s impact will be through Cutler’s success (‘‘We feel like we have a lot of talent and we have good coaches,” Cutler said) and by the development and approach of the Bears’ young players.

And right now, the youth remains into Trestman. From cornerback Kyle Fuller to guard Kyle Long to offensive lineman Michael Ola, the buy-in is there.

‘‘Anybody who is criticizing Coach Trestman … they honestly don’t have any idea what they’re talking about,’’ said Ola, who also played for Trestman in the Canadian Football League. ‘‘He’s an awesome guy, awesome coach, awesome motivator, awesome leader of men. People who criticize him, that’s the sport we live in. We live in football. The media is allowed to portray anything they want to. But they honestly have no idea what they’re talking about. Everybody in here has got his back. That’s our guy.’’

UNSUNG SPOTLIGHT: Defensive end David Bass

The Bears have been looking for another defensive lineman to step up since defensive end Lamarr Houston was lost with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Second-year end David Bass has done that. Bass found himself in a key situation last week against the Minnesota Vikings and delivered. His rush on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater helped lead to safety Ryan Mundy’s victory-sealing interception.

“We’ve seen him do that exact same thing in practice,” defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said.

Bass, who spent part of the season on the practice squad, is expected to be active Sunday — his third game this season.

‘‘Bass was doing a really good job in practice, and he got an opportunity to be up,’’ Tucker said. ‘‘He made the most of it.’’

COACH’S CORNER: Looking at Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown with defensive coordinator Mel Tucker

“{McCown] did a lot of things well [in a 27-7 win last week against the Washington Redskins]. They had some really big plays in the passing game. Obviously, if there’s an open man, he’s going to find it, find that man.

“He did a really good job just with their overall approach in terms of getting the ball out quickly when need be. And when they wanted to take shots down the field, they had good protection. He did really good recognition on some of the pressures that were run against them, and so they were able to make some big plays.

“Obviously, he’s a tremendous leader, things like that. You could tell that he’s got command. They play well as a unit.

“It’s going to be important to get pressure on him. That’s going to be a big part of the game, whether it’s with four or with five or with six, whatever it takes, and to have really, really good coverage behind it with whatever we decide to do. But that’s going to be important.

“He’s a rhythm passer. He does a really nice job with that. And so we have to make sure we try to disrupt his timing and his rhythm and the receivers as well. And really that’s not something that’s just specific to him, that’s typically what you need to do with the quarterbacks. And so that will be a challenge for us this week.”

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