Bud Grant gave new Bears head coach Marc Trestman a job once upon a time. So Bud Grant knows all about Marc Trestman. And there’s no doubt in Grant’s mind that Trestman is qualified to be an NFL head coach. “I’m surprised he hasn’t got a head job before this. It’s about time,” Grant said upon news of Trestman’s hiring. “He’s certainly qualified. He’s been around the block. He’s had successful programs.”
The qualification issue comes up because, till now, Trestman had never been seriously considered as a head coach in the NFL. He had assistant jobs in the NFL and he coached the Montreal Alouettes to a pair of CFL Grey Cups. But NFL head coach Marc Trestman? This was a strange idea in some people’s minds.
Take Tim Brown. He played under offensive coordinator Trestman in Oakland. Apparently this was a bad experience for Brown and there may be some lingering animosity. Keep this in mind when considering Brown’s comments about Trestman. Brown said of Trestman’s NFL head coaching qualifications, “I just never saw Trestman as being a head coach.” He added, “There’s a lot more to coaching than just Xs and Os. You have to be able to deal with players and that’s the reason [former Raiders coach] Bill Callahan hasn’t succeeded as a head coach. Because he’s a smart guy, knows football like the back of his hand, but when it comes to leading [men], it’s a totally different intangible you have to have. It’s going to be very interesting to see how [Trestman] and Jay Cutler get along, that’s for sure.”
In short, Trestman is considered a great chalkboard guy but many continue to question whether he can be a head man in the NFL. It reminds me of when the Vikings hired Brad Childress. He was thought of the same way. Good guy with offensive scheme but does he have the personality to be a head coach? Can he handle players? There are some who believe he failed largely because of his handling of players, and maybe that same aspect of the game will vex Trestman.
Bud Grant for his part doesn’t seem to doubt that Trestman can be the man in Chicago. He isn’t worried about that jump from CFL to NFL either. “”Football is football,” Grant said. The legendary Grant then offered his formula for coaching success. “The secret is to get the best players. Most coaches can win with the best players. It’s up to the team to get the best players.”
That may be the most Bud Grant thing ever uttered by Bud Grant.