The long, peculiar moment of silence between question and answer said more than any word that coach Marc Trestman uttered at Halas Hall on Monday.
“I can understand that our fan base is extremely upset at the circumstances that our football team is in right now,” Trestman said. “I understand that they’re passionate about this football team and they want to see us move forward and get better. They don’t want to see us in this state.
“I can tell you that the people who are coaching this team are doing everything they can to get better and they have the experience to work their way out of it.”
Trestman made these statements after defending the work of defensive coordinator Mel Tucker after Tucker’s defense was put on a clothesline by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and pounded like a dusty, beat-up carpet.
Trestman almost sounds accepting of the stewardship of a defense that looks as bad as it was in 2013 when it set records for ineptitude.
But nothing Trestman says can make up for that fact that Tucker’s defenses are clearly defined by blowouts, mass confusion and blown assignments 25 games into his rule.
Trestman can’t say the Bears’ locker room is in a “good place,” as he did, when the team is allowing a league-worst 30.8 points this season. Their 23 passing touchdowns allowed are the second most.
Still, “there will not be any [staff changes] at this time,” Trestman said.
So he defends Tucker after the Packers’ 55-14 thumping of his defense.
“I watch [Tucker] work every day,” Trestman said. “I watch him communicate with these players. I watch him work on the field with these players. To me, he’s doing everything he can under the circumstances to coach, to teach and to lead that side of the ball, and he’s got a very good staff with him.
“They’re great teachers, they’re veteran coaches who have been in a lot of situations, as Mel has. He’s been through these types of things, and I feel very confident that he’s doing the things that he can do to help us go forward.”
It’s a hollow defense that’s been used before by Trestman. In fact, nearly exactly a year ago, Trestman said that “Mel’s done an amazing job in my opinion.” The Philadelphia Eagles’ 54-11 pummeling of the Bears in Week 16 was just over a month away.
Defending Rodgers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady are surely challenges. But there’s no reason why Minnesota Vikings and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can’t manage something similar Sunday, when quarterbacks E.J. Manuel (Buffalo Bills), Geno Smith (New York Jets) and Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins) had big games against them. (Manuel and Smith are no longer starting.)
“This has been a very disturbing stretch of three weeks,” Trestman said. “There’s no doubt about it. But we’re focused in and the only way we can work our way out of this is to go get ready for Minnesota.”