When discussing head coaches in the NFL who excel at keeping things on an even keel, one often will say he’s exactly the same in victory as he is in defeat. It’s meant to be a compliment.
I started out to pay Marc Trestman that compliment before I realized I can’t.
He’s undefeated as an NFL head coach, and after witnessing the first weekend of regular-season action around the NFL, he might be staying that way for a little while.
But as we await his reaction to his first NFL loss, which will arrive as certainly as death and taxes, the early report on Trestman is he is about as even in temperament and unflappable in every situation as any coach we’ve seen in a long, long time.
At his first victory Monday news conference, Trestman delivered a 4 1/2-minute opening statement in as monotone a fashion as possible. He complimented his troops on almost every facet and detail of the Bengals game for more than 3 minutes, and then talked about exactly where and how they need to get better.
“But yet our guys know, as we talked today, our feet are on the ground. We’ve got to improve defensively, as you saw we’ve got to get off the field. We didn’t do a god job of getting off the field yesterday on the defensive side.
“We’ve got to get our pads down on both sides of the ball. And we’ve got to get more pressure with the four-man rush."
In less than 2 minutes before a question even has been asked, Trestman gave us a more factual and honest evaluation of his team than Lovie Smith gave us in 9 years.
I am neither a Lovie basher nor detractor. I believe his winning record, three NFC North titles and one conference crown speak for themselves. When it came to communicating with Bear Nation, his monotone delivery and obvious disdain for that part of his job made him his own worst enemy.
Trestman carries himself almost exactly the same way, but he treats his fans’ need and right to know what’s going on with respect rather than disdain and actually tells us, for the most part, what we want to know. He doesn’t make us feel like we’re the worst part of the job.
And he does it with no emotion, no drama, just the facts Jack.
One disturbing event in the Bengals game was the proof Major Wright offered that he still doesn’t get his responsibility in the Cover two. When asked if Tim Jennings was expecting and should have had help on the A.J. Green 45-yard touchdown pass, Trestman answered quite simply, “Yes.”
Trestman didn’t call out Wright or get angry or defensive, he just answered the question in exactly the same tone he’d been handing out compliments for the previous 10 minutes. You could tell he thought it was a teaching moment.
Our visit ran more than 25 minutes and, honestly, if I hadn’t known the Bears won going in, I couldn’t have guessed as he spoke. I think he’s going to do fine.
Of course there’s a large segment of Bear Nation that longs for a yeller and a screamer, “Da Coach” if you will. How he will play with them when the losses some will be fascinating to see.