MINNEAPOLIS – With the Bears’ 13-9 loss against the Minnesota Vikings as the backdrop, Marc Trestman said he didn’t want to state his case to remain the Bears coach, but he did.
“Nobody understands the situation better than I do,” Trestman said. “I’ve lived it every day for the last two years, certainly the last six months. So I think I have some expertise in that area.
“I’m putting my thoughts down [and] I don’t think there is anybody in a better situation to assess it other than myself and [general manager] Phil [Emery].”
With the Bears finishing last in NFC North at 5-11 and having the seventh overall pick for the 2015 draft, everything about the Bears is being thoroughly examined by chairman George McCaskey.
Sources said that firings are imminent. It’s just a matter of how widespread and how high those moves go for the Bears, who have made the playoffs only five times since 1992.
On the field, there are plenty of troubling aspects that support a regime change. Even after his record-setting year, running back Matt Forte said the Bears’ offense was predictable this season.
But it’s off the field, where the most damning damage resides.
“We were front-page news too many times,” cornerback Charles Tillman said. “In years past, we haven’t been that. That wasn’t how we operated. This year, there was a lot of trust broken.
“I don’t care who you are or where we are, you’ll always have conflict and it’s how you resolve that conflict. I think when you do have conflict, you also need to let that conflict stay in house and then resolve and work through it. This year, we didn’t have that.”
The Bears did their best to tune out what they called “noise,” but it grew too loud. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer’s admission that he was behind an NFL Network report and players finding out from the media about quarterback Jay Cutler’s benching soured the locker room.
There was even more from the players, dating back to training camp. But three episodes stand out: Lance Briggs missing practice for his restaurant opening, receiver Brandon Marshall screaming at his teammates and tight end Martellus Bennett questioning his teammates’ passion.
“I felt like guys’ trust was broken,” Bennett said. “At the end of the day … my trust goes out to the field. If I can trust you to do what you need to do each play, then I’m not really worried about anything else.”
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod said there were “tough situations” to deal with this season.
“When things get out and that’s one thing that you preach, that’s tough,” he said. “Certain situations, it just wasn’t good. It wasn’t good.
“But [Tillman] was right. We have to keep everything in house, and certain situations, it just wasn’t good.”
The McCaskey Family suite was in open view of the media throughout Sunday. And George McCaskey’s passion overflowed from constant fist-pumping to screaming “Go, go, go” during cornerback Kyle Fuller’s interception return.
McCaskey undoubtedly wanted his team to win; and it’s his decision-making that will determine how much that happens in 2015 and beyond.
Team president Ted Phillips didn’t attend the game – “He simply wasn’t on the trip this week. Nothing more,” a spokesman said – but Emery joined McCaskey in the first row of the suite.
“All I know right now is that we’ve got a meeting [Monday] at 11 a.m. with the team and we’re moving forward from there,” Trestman said.
“My plan is to continue to finalize my notes now that the season is over and make sure [when] that opportunity arises, I’ll be able to explain how we fix the team.”