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Are Marc Trestman's Days Numbered?

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 17, 2014 5:10PM

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Blackhawks and Bulls have strong teams. The Cubs and White Sox have made solid offseason acquisitions to make their clubs competitive next summer. And yet the main story on both The Score and ESPN AM 1000 is about the Bears and their current dysfunctional state.

A losing record is not something most Bears fans want to digest but it would be more palatable than the seeming disconnect between Trestman and his coaching staff and the players. Every week, Trestman meets the media and talks about his “toolbox of concepts,” “growing the man,” and how great the team practices. And every week Trestman faces the media immediately after another double-digit loss and says things are OK in Whoville. Assured of their first losing record since 2009, speculation now turns to whether Trestman will return next season and if a report on WSCR-AM is true, GM Phil Emery is ready to push the reset button again.

Citing unnamed sources close to the team, Score afternoon host Dan Bernstein reported Trestman is a dead man walking. If true, then Trestman’s top lieutenants (offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis) are also out the door. Fans have been calling for Tucker’s head for most of the past two seasons, while DeCamillis has had to coach free agent pickups on a salary cap-hampered Bears squad. Kromer’s comments about quarterback Jay Cutler to’s Ian Rappoport have made him expendable. Emery spoke about the “military-style” Bears chain of command Tuesday in deflecting questions about why Kromer still has a job, saying it’s expressly written into Trestman’s contract that he alone has the authority to fire his coordinators.

Former CFL coach Trestman was an unconventional hire in 2013 and his 13-17 record since taking over for Lovie Smith indicates the experiment is a failure. Trestman’s disconnect with his players is amplified by the success of Bruce Arians, who won coach of the year honors in Indianapolis two years ago and was a finalist for the Bears job before signing with Arizona, where he only made the Cardinals a division leader.

Emery may not want to feel too comfortable if he winds up firing Trestman and cleaning house. He’s had some terrible drafts—the Shea McClellin pick is looking to be one of the Bears’ biggest draft blunders—and his decision to sign Cutler to a long-term deal last offseason hangs like an albatross around the team’s neck as the quarterback, and the offense, have regressed this season. Team chairman George McCaskey has long talked of his admiration for how the Blackhawks have transformed themselves under Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville. If he wishes to make a bold statement in the offseason (and keep the Bears as the main sports franchise in town) he could start with showing Emery out the door along with Trestman. Regardless, it will not be a quiet offseason at Halas Hall.