Marc Trestman: Gabe Carimi is a guard for BearsContinue reading.
Top 11: What Trestman sees for Bears’ offense
Let’s be clear about this: The Bears’ decision to part ways with Urlacher is another major sign that the Bears are shifting from a defensive-minded team into a more offensive one.
Trestman spoke for more than an hour at the Arizona Biltmore during the NFC coaches media breakfast on Wednesday morning. What he thought of Urlacher took up a good chunk of the conversation, but the main topic was what the offensive guru plans to do with a team that’s been offensively challenged for years.
Here are some of the highlights from his lengthy chat:
1. Trestman absolutely loves running back Matt Forte and all that he can do.
Of all his players, Trestman felt the most comfortable talking about Forte than others. Why? Because he’s watched more tape on Forte than any other player.
“I think over his career, they’ve used him a lot of different ways,” Trestman said. “I just got done looking at all his catches from 2010. He was on the line scrimmage, he was running out of the backfield [and] he is great in space. He has a skill set that goes full spectrum of what you want out of a running back. He can run inside. He can run outside. He can catch the ball extremely well. I saw him as a very good route runner for a wide receiver. I saw him in slants in 2010. I saw him run rail routes, sideline routes.
“He’s extremely versatile from what I’ve seen over the stretch of plays that I’ve watched. That’s something I know more about because I’ve watched so much tape on him to try and establish what we need to get done with him in training camp. He can do everything.”
And Trestman kept going …
“Matt has the entire scope and ability to be able to run all different kinds of runs with him, and you can make all the different kinds of throws to him,” he said. “And he’s a willing blocker, which is critically important. He’s a want-to, willing blocker, which all great running backs want to be. They want to be known as good blockers who set the tone for the physicality of the offense.”
In other words, expect a big year for Forte.
2. Devin Hester is a kick returner. And, that’s it.
Trestman said that Hester, first and foremost, will work on returning to form as the best kick returner in the NFL. Trestman stressed that right now he’s looking at Hester as strictly a specialist and doesn’t even know if he’ll practice with the receivers.
What did Trestman see during his evaluations from Hester on film?
“Not enough,” he said. “There’s some quality plays, but there’s not enough. We had this long discussion of just starting with him, making sure that he would be the returner that we need to have. That’s the No. 1 thing. That’s hopefully what he’ll go to the Hall of Fame as. It’s making sure we get the most out of him and then see where he goes from there.”
3. Quarterback Jay Cutler has room to improve his mechanics.
One of the knocks on Cutler is that his mechanics are poor and inconsistent — that he throws too much off his back foot and so forth. Trestman has watched tape on Cutler going back to 2007.
“He has the ability to have precision mechanics, high-level mechanics,” Trestman said. “At times, he has them. And at times, he doesn’t. But that would be for anybody in the league.
“You go through it and you see times that this is the way you want to do it, and there’s times where you want to get the ball up a little bit more or your footwork can be cleaner. I don’t care whether a quarterback is 18, 28 or 38. I’ve coached guys at all those levels. Every quarterback wants to start … and learn mechanics from the ground up.
“It doesn’t matter who they are. Jay has the ability and the skill set to be very, very good at the mechanics all the time. And that’s what you strive for.”
4. Second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery will be a starter.
When asked what excites him most about the Bears’ offense after going over numerous tapes, Trestman pointed to the “potential” of Jeffery, who had good moments during an injury-plagued rookie campaign in 2012. Trestman envisions him being a starter opposite star Brandon Marshall.
“He’s with Brandon now [in Florida], working out and training,” Trestman said. “I think that will help him grow and mature.”
Trestman said he’d like to see more of Jeffery on film and at minicamp, but “I’ve seen him do some very, very good things.”
5. Trestman’s playbook is not complete and has not been distributed.
He said he’s got enough done to get through mini-camps as he and his staff piece the offense together “play by play” and go over counts, packages, formations and so on. The additions of tight end Martellus Bennett and left tackle Jermon Bushrod also are good reasons for more adjustments
“I just want to make sure it’s clean,” Trestman said. “And it’s pretty clean now.”
6. Trestman believes Cutler has a rare arm.
In Trestman’s eyes, Cutler has one of the strongest arms that he’ll ever coach. He said he’s able to make all the throws from “sideline to sideline.”
But there’s more.
“As strong an arm that he has, he’s got the inherent ability to change speeds on the throws,” Trestman said. “He can make awkward throws. He can stand in there and make throws off his back foot and make the throw.
“It’s not just that he’s got a strong arm. He has the power basis to make all throws. He’s got an inventory of passes. He can do it all. He can drop it in. He can drive it in. He can slide it in. He can slow it down.”
7. The Bears will experiment with the read option.
The success that the Redskins, Seahawks and 49ers had with the read option in 2012 has started a new trend. Trestman ran the read option with the Montreal Alouettes and has assistants on his staff from Canada who are familiar with it.
“We have that in our packages,” Trestman said. “It won’t be new to us. We have coaches on our staff who know how to coach it and know how to coach it very well.”
That said, it will have to be tested first.
“We’ll look into it. I don’t know if we’ll establish it,” Trestman said. “I think it’s worth spending time on. … I think every team is looking at it right now. I don’t think we’d be alone in saying that.”
8. Trestman wants to see what tackle J’Marcus Webb can do in person.
With Bushrod now on the roster, Webb will moving to the right side after starting all 16 games last season at left tackle. Webb, who has played right tackle before, is expected to compete against Gabe Carimi.
“I’ve seen [Webb] do a lot of good things,” Trestman said. “We just have to get him to a lot of good things a lot more of the time. I’ve seen him do enough good things on tape to think that it’s certainly worthwhile to put him over there right now with Jermon [on the left].
“I can see a good player [in Webb]. We’ve seen him do that. It’s a young guy, and why can’t he do it more often? I think it will be a great challenge for [offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer] to develop him. If anybody can do it, Aaron can.”
9. Fullback Evan Rodriguez’s role may expand.
Rodriguez never got a chance to show that he can be the pass catcher he thinks he is last season. He spent most of his snaps blocking for Forte.
But his duties may turn out to be different under Trestman.
“I certainly see him as a fullback because I’ve seen enough of that,” Trestman said. “But I think after we get through the OTAs, moving him around and getting him on or near the line scrimmage, I think he’s got a upside. He can run well. … I’m excited to see more of him … and see how far we can go with his flexibility, but he can certainly play the fullback position.”
10. The jury is still out on Carimi and guard James Brown.
Like Webb, Trestman said he wants to see more of Carimi and Brown in person before he makes a judgement. The Bears are high on Brown, who started the final three games, and Trestman said he’s “excited” to see him.
As far as Carimi, they have to find out if the former first-round pick is best suited for guard or right tackle.
“I don’t know enough yet,” Trestman said when asked about Carimi. “We don’t have enough information. I think that when we get through the camps, we’ll have a much better idea.”
11. Trestman, of course, sees a big-time weapon in Marshall.
Here’s what Trestman said: “I watched Brandon at Denver and then I watched him here. He has the uncanny ability to catch the ball in the crowd and make plays, and the chemistry that Jay and Brandon have together, I was excited about that “