Bobby Massie’s coach was fired after the Cardinals went 5-11 his rookie year.
His replacement, Bruce Arians, had simple advice for the players remaining from the 2012 team.
“He basically broke it down — ‘Either you like getting your ass kicked, or you don’t,’” Massie said Thursday of the man who finished second to Marc Trestman for the Bears job that offseason. “If you want to change that, do something about it.’”
The Cardinals did.
The Bears are hoping to.
For the second-straight offseason, the Bears’ key free agent signings have come with impeccable win-loss records. GM Ryan Pace has a type, for sure.
Massie’s Cardinals went 39-25 in the regular season —from five wins to 10 to 11 to 13 — before the right tackle signed with the Bears on Wednesday for an incentive-laden three-year deal worth $6.5 million guaranteed and $18 million total.
The Bears’ star signing, Danny Trevathan, is a Super Bowl champion. His Broncos won 50 regular-season games in four seasons.
The inside linebacker has lost 14 regular-season NFL games in his lifetime. The Bears lost 14 in one year and 20 days — from the start of the 2014 season through the first three weeks of last season.
“It ain’t going to happen overnight,” Trevathan said. “That’s why I say, ‘offseason.’ This is when you lay it down.”
He chose the Bears over the 49ers and Falcons — the Broncos made him only a token offer, sources said — to reunite with John Fox, who knows him better than any coach on the planet.
“It played heavily,” Trevathan said. “Especially, going back to him giving me my first opportunity to play, coaching me, helping me to want to be great — and getting close to that.”
After meeting quarterback Jay Cutler and others at Halas Hall, he asked for a list of cell phone numbers for all his new teammates. He wanted to text them.
That’s the kind of winning culture Pace and Fox consider vital to their rebuilding process. While the Bears made neither available to the media Thursday, their message has been clear for more than a year.
That’s why Brandon Marshall has been gone for a year and, to a lesser degree, why Martellus Bennett may soon join him.
It’s why their next targets make perfect sense: defensive end Akiem Hicks and tight end Jermaine Gresham played in conference title games last year for the Patriots and Cardinals, respectively.
Bears brass touted Pernell McPhee’s success last season when they made the outside linebacker the centerpiece of their free agent class. McPhee had gone 40-24 in four years with the Ravens.
Add them up, Trevathan, Massie and McPhee went 129-63 before joining the Bears, winning 67 percent of their games.
There was only one losing season out of 12 — Massie’s 2012.
“At one point the Cardinals were, I wouldn’t say down, but like the Bears, not where they used to be,” Massie said. “It’s a rebuilding process.
“That organization had to bring in players to get back to where they used to be.
“I’m a piece of the puzzle, trying to get the Bears back to the top spot.”
If winning is contagious, so is losing.
“I wouldn’t say you get used to it, but there’s some organizations around the league that’s been the same for a long time,” Massie said. “You can’t get used to it. You always gotta strive to get better.
“That one trophy is what we all strive for at the end of the year. I want to help get the Bears back to that.”
Trevathan has held the trophy.
He’s been around a Super Bowl culture, and hopes to recreate it at halas Hall.
“I feel like these guys are ready to push it to the next level,” Trevathan said. “My job is to do whatever I need to do to help them get over that.””
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