There was a meme that was making the rounds on social media platforms two weeks ago. The meme illustrated a picture of former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and a picture of current Bears head coach Marc Trestman. In between the two pictures there was a question. The question asked “what did you have for breakfast?”. The caption under Smith’s picture simply said “cereal.” But the caption under Trestman’s picture was very detailed as it included several long sentences explaining Trestman’s breakfast and why he chose what he did to eat.
That was believed to be the biggest difference between Trestman and Smith. The expectation when Trestman was hired in January is that the new head coach would be transparent with the media and explain the decisions he made as the head coach of the football. For the first 12 weeks of the season, that is exactly what Trestman has did. The Bears head coach has explained his decisions made during games and that has been a breath of fresh air for Bears fans. Trestman’s explanations typically were based on advanced stats analysis.
Then there was this past Sunday. Despite the fact that every statistic, percentage and trend known to NFL lifers prove that there is no value in a team attempting a game-winning field goal on second down–especially when it was a 47-yard attempt–that is exactly what Trestman attempted to do. Instead of continuing to cut through a gassed Minnesota Vikings defense with running back Matt Forte, Trestman elected to send out kicker Robbie Gould in an attempt to win the game. The attempt was not successful and the Vikings went on to win the game.
After the game, the hope was that Trestman would offer up some form of statistical justification for his decision. Instead, Trestman admitted his decisions was not based on any trend, statistic or percentage.
“It’s very simple. Once we got inside the 30-yard line, we were going to kick it,” Trestman said. “We were well within Robbie’s range. We ran the ball on first down and got three [yards]. We were sitting there on second-and seven, and the ball is in the middle of the field. With all the things that had happened throughout the game, including Minnesota’s failure to make a field goal when they went back with penalties, we were in a great position right there to kick it and finish the game.” -Marc Trestman, ESPN Chicago
The reasoning for Trestman electing to attempt the field will be debated until the Bears next game.
But let this be a learning lesson for the first year head coach. Trestman needs to learn to be consistent with his strategies. Had Trestman followed his analytical background, chances are the Bears would have continued their offensive drive on second down and then proceeded to kick the field goal on third down. There is no question that Trestman is an intelligent individual. There is also no question that Trestman deserves the lashing that he is getting on the Chicago air-waves.
Trestman is learning that the devil is in the details; details that must be consistent throughout the season. After all, it was Trestman’s detailed nature that made him the head coach of the Bears.