BOURBONNAIS – It would be easy to miss in the clutter of all that is insignificant, tedious and distracting about NFL opening preseason games, but to ignore the personal accomplishment for Marc Trestman would be grossly unfair.
Since Trestman first started coaching as a volunteer assistant at the University of Miami more than 30 years ago, his goal and his dream have been to be a head coach in the National Football League.
While the game itself will be quickly forgotten, when the referee raises his arm and blows his whistle to signify the opening kickoff of the Bears preseason tilt at Carolina, it also will signal the fulfillment of a lifetime of hopes and dreams for Trestman. It is a moment worth noting.
We have much to learn about Marc Trestman as an NFL head coach, but the early indications are that he is ready for the challenge and will approach it somewhat differently than most have before him. Concerns about his cerebral nature and almost professorial approach to the job have been put to rest early in training camp by how clearly and completely he seems to have his players' attention.
Asked to describe his new head coach, backup quarterback Josh McCown answered: "Marc is very humble, very patient and highly intelligent. He does a great job with us, especially the quarterbacks, just in how he explains things, how he explains reads. The nature of his disposition is different and he understands that. He's a really great communicator."
McCown added: "Marc talks about it being so important for us to build a solid relationship going forward because the head coach and the quarterback have to be on the same page, and he's done a great job of keeping us there and building trust."
Jay Cutler has echoed McCown's sentiments since arriving in Bourbonnais. And as we've learned from past experience, it is Cutler's relationship with Trestman and the rest of his staff that will go a long way toward determining the success of this ballclub.
General Manager Phil Emery also has said how impressed he is with Trestman so far, particularly in his approach to his players, teaching and trying to build a team first, family-type atmosphere. Trestman has spoken often in his first couple weeks about "how much we all love football."
The five minutes or so surrounding the opening kickoff in Carolina will be a huge moment for Trestman, and I'm sure a thousand emotions will well up and run through him. But then he will quickly be returned to the enormity of the task at hand. Even though it will be Trestman's first game as an NFL head coach, don't expect him to treat it any differently than any other coaches we've known.
The coach announced after the club's final practice prior to Friday's game that not all the starters will play and those who do will see extremely limited action. Trestman said Cutler will play but it might be for no more than three-to-six plays. The best guess here is that Cutler will get just one series unless the Bears go three and out, in which case he might come out for a second possession.
Trestman also explained that his focus in the game will be working with his second, third and fourth teamers to see how well they've absorbed his system' how they perform in a full contact, live game situation; how they handle special teams; and, for the majority of them who also will be seeing their first NFL action, how they respond to the bright lights and big stage.
Perhaps the best news for Trestman in Carolina will be that, unlike the majority of his players, his job will absolutely not be at stake for the first time in a very, very long time. His job will be to get this one under his belt, take just a moment to enjoy it, and then get on with the business of seeing how long he can keep it.