Veteran NFL kicker Jay Feely spoke critically of former Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler during an interview with Mad Dog Sports Radio on Wednesday.
Feely, who signed with the Bears in December as a temporary replacement for injured starter Robbie Gould, said both lacked leadership during his one-month stay in the organization.
Feely praised Trestman’s offensive mind but said Trestman didn’t have enough leadership in the locker room and didn’t hold players accountable.
“Your job as a head coach is to inspire your team,” Feely said. “To galvanize them, to have a message, to bring them together and have those guys believe what you’re saying. I think that was the disconnect, because I do think he’s a very smart offensive coach and his track record proves that as an offensive coordinator.
“There’s a big difference between being a smart coach and a coordinator and being a head coach. Rex Ryan, for everything New York said about him, when he gets in front of a team, that team believes in him. … With Trestman, it was a little awkward when he spoke. And he didn’t really connect with guys. You can have that as a coach if you have a strong locker room and you have leaders in the locker room. If you don’t have leaders in the locker room, you don’t have a coach who inspires, then you have a losing season.”
The player in the locker room everybody looks to for leadership, Feely went on to say, is the quarterback. Cutler, for all his talent, failed to lead, Feely said.
“When you have a quarterback who doesn’t like to lead, it leaves a hole in that team. Other guys can fill that role, like Baltimore with Ray Lewis … but when a quarterback is not a leader, there’s gonna be a vacuum there.
“Jay Cutler can win on the field. But he would be so much better and the team would be so much better if you’re a leader off the field as well. I never saw him lead verbally. If he doesn’t want to be that person, if it’s not in his DNA, then you’re always gonna have a vacuum there that somebody else needs to step into and fill.”
If Cutler won’t lead, Feely said, it’s up to the Bears’ front office to surround him with coaches and players who will.
Feely praised the Bears’ hiring of John Fox to replace Trestman as head coach.
Listen to the full interview here.