Last week Aaron Kromer admitted to an act that would have led to his excommunication from 31 of the 32 NFL coaching staffs. But Marc Trestman, ever the genteel humanitarian, wrapped his arms around a buddy and said, “People make mistakes. How about some cocoa over at my place?”
After that decision GM Phil Emery made clear in pre-Saints game comments the actions of Kromer (a) infuriated him and (b) would have been handled differently were he to have the power to handle them. Disciplining coaches does not come under the purview of the GM, Emery told us. That’s the head coach’s responsibility.
Now comes Wednesday night and the LEAK HEARD ROUND THE LEAGUE. Jay Cutler, the handsome man paid handsomely by Emery to be his franchise quarterback, was benched by the head coach in favor of Jimmy Clausen, a wretched quarterback with only one more win than me in the NFL. No word from coaches or front office alike led to a night and morning worth of speculation about last gasps from drowning coaches, $16M in injury settlements, Ken Whisenhunt trades…etc.
From the Twitter feed of Adam Hoge:
So Kromer doesn’t get fired, but Cutler gets benched? Trestman: “That’s a completely … That’s a question that I’m not going to answer.”
Of course that is a question Trestman is not going to answer. How can he answer it? What he was going to say is these issues are completely separate and he’s right. One individual admitted to publicly stabbing a player in the back. The other individual didn’t play well. He chose to fire the one who will have no impact on his future coaching career.
But all this is just fodder for folks like me to use for paragraph creation. Marc Trestman will no longer be head coach of the Chicago Bears as the ball drops in midtown Manhattan so what point is there in dwelling on his incompetence. There is a far larger issue at play, illuminated like an escaping prisoner on the prison yard by the events of the last week.
Who is in charge of the Chicago Bears?
Does anybody know? Can anybody concretely say where the buck stops within the Bears organization? One needs only look around at the league’s successful organization to understand these questions are never asked in those locations. Either ownership rules the roost (Giants, Steelers, Cowboys), there is a distinct management structure of accountability (Packers, Ravens), a coach and personnel man co-rule the roost (Seahawks, Saints) or the coach is the final authority on matters (Patriots, Chiefs). Even most unsuccessful organizations don’t have question marks at the top of their leadership pyramid.
The Bears do. Outside of Halas Hall no one knows for sure how involved George McCaskey is with football operations. No one knows how much power Ted Phillips wields. No one knew Phil Emery could not 86 a coach for treason or prevent his quarterback from being benched.
Emery has spoken so often about synergy but that word, when applied to an NFL organization, means everyone at every leadership level operating in the best interest of that organization’s future. Does Trestman starting Clausen have anything to do with the Bears future? Does Emery keeping Trestman in the wake of that decision make the team more competitive next year? Does complete radio silence from ownership do anyone any good?
This has been the most embarrassing season in the proud history of the Chicago Bears. It is rock bottom. The Bears must look at themselves in the mirror, admit they have a problem and empower the correct individuals to lead in the recovery. If these two weeks don’t inspire a drastic response, nothing ever will.