One season after creating an offense that ranked second in points and eighth in yards, Marc Trestman was fired along with his general manager, Phil Emery. This came as no surprise as the Bears finished 5-11 and the offense dropped from second in points to 23rd, without a drop in overall talent at most positions.
The bigger issue was actually the side of the ball that Trestman was not in charge of, the defense. This was driven by a push to purge defensive personnel, but the defense dropped from third in the league in points allowed to 30th…dead last, in one off-season. This is as much an issue of the personnel, prepared by Emery, as it is the system, prepared by Mel Tucker and picked by Emery and Trestman.
The Bears, traditionally a powerhouse defensive team, couldn’t find a way to stop other teams from scoring over the past two seasons, which was accepted when the offense was clicking. Without an elite level defense though, it is unacceptable to have such a bad defense.
The biggest thing leading to Trestman being fired is surely his locker room issues. It seemed that player after player publicly disagreed with all of his decisions. Robbie Gould publicly disagreed with benching Jay Cutler. Lance Briggs was an issue all season with his public comments and lack of motivation. They signed known locker room toxin, Santonio Holmes. The player that dealt with the adversity the best was the player at the center of it, Cutler.
Combine all of the on-field issues with all of the off-field issues and it is clear that Trestman had no chance to get another season in Chicago. Emery was a slight surprise, but his signings and drafting has been an issue and Bears management clearly wants to hit the reset button. Kyle Fuller, the 2014 first round pick of Chicago, looks to be on his way to being a solid player. But, Emery also took Kyle Long and Shea McClellin in the first round in previous years.
Long is an excellent lineman, but if he doesn’t move out to a tackle position, it is tough to agree with taking a guard with the 20th overall pick. The success of the player is almost irrelevant for this analysis. The position of guard and center is similar to running back. Yes, there are players that are good enough to be picked in the first round. But, there is so much depth and the ability to create that quality player later in the draft or through moving former tackles inside to guard that it is tough to justify such a high pick on a guard. Premium positions are harder to fill with value drafting, guard is not one of those positions.
Chicago will have to find a staff that can work with Cutler in the short-term at the very least. They’ll have two more years with the mercurial QB unless they find a trading partner for the gunslinger. Mike Shanahan is popular name being mentioned mostly because of the obvious connection and less-so for any actual interest shown by the Bears. Rex Ryan would fit in as a recommitment to the defensive side of the ball.
Let the search begin.