I love what Marc Trestman has done to the Bears offense in only nine months. He has turned one of the worst units in the sport into one of the best units in the sport with a combination of creative play-calling and gusto. But Sunday, at Soldier Field, against the Detroit Lions, Trestman delivered the kind of head coaching performance reserved for rookie head coaches. And the Bears lost because of it.
Don’t agree? Of course you don’t! You probably think Jay Cutler was healthy for the duration of Sunday’s contest, despite his inability to walk and complete unwillingness to drift from the pocket for any reason. You probably think the strange decision to take underneath, no-chance-at-first-down throws was just Jay’s ways of throwing off the Lions secondary.
Jay Cutler should not have played a single snap Sunday. Jay Cutler should have spent Sunday in those dopey jumpsuits reserved for inactives. And if his head coach had more guts, the quarterback would have. Yes, Trestman may have the balls to go for it on fourth-and-anything from any place on the field, at any point in the game but he clearly lacks the resolve to tell his star quarterback, “Enough. Sit down. You’re not going today.”
And Cutler is not without blame. If he was not 100% – and he wasn’t – he should never have positioned himself to play this game. I understand Cutler’s contractual circumstances. I understand the questions of toughness that have surrounded his career over the last few years. But Cutler needs to understand that leading an organization can often mean turning to the coaching staff and saying, “Nope, I’m not ready.” Today’s performance proved he is not ready to embrace that element of leadership yet.
Yes, Alshon Jeffery dropped two touchdown passes. Yes, Major Wright dropped an interception that Bears safeties haven’t dropped in the past. Yes, Cutler threw a tipped pick in the end zone and yes Trestman went on a fourth down he didn’t need with the game knotted at seven. But this game between the Bears and Lions was decided by the fact that Cutler played. At all. At no more than sixty or seventy percent. Cutler played a game he shouldn’t have and the whole world knew it.
Trestman can call plays. But can he lead an organization? Cutler can throw every pass on the field. But can he lead an offense? The actions of both men Sunday might lead one to question their futures in Chicago.