Transcript of Chicago Bears Coach Marc Trestman's conference call with New Orleans media on Wednesday:
Can you tell us about the job that Jermon Bushrod and Aaron Kromer are doing either together or independently of one another?
“Well, you know them well and Bush has come in here and has been steady as he could possibly be since the day he walked in. You know his personality; he’s very even-keeled. He loves the game; he works hard at it every day. He’s all business and he’s just added to what already was a great locker room. He’s just brought more character to it and obviously he understands what it takes to win a championship. We’re very very lucky to have him. We feel great about having him here. I’ve known Aaron a long time, even before he was with the Saints. Again, Aaron knows, he comes well-schooled since I knew him in Oakland with Jon (Gruden) and with Sean (Payton) and the guys there in New Orleans. He’s got a very skilled background. He’s a great teacher, and you guys know that. He has certainly added to the substance of our coaching staff and of our locker room as well.”
Three of the past five Super Bowl champions have had a run game that have ranked 23rd or below. Are we seeing that the run game just isn’t that important right now in the game as it used to be?
“That’s an over-encompassing statement and I don’t have the very background and experience or ability to relate to that because I’ve just gotten back into it. I’ve never thought that balance was a necessity. You think it is because you have to play in bad weather at times, and when you get into December you always want to run the ball. I can say this, that even when I was in Oakland and we didn’t run it a lot, we were always prepared to run it. I think that’s the most important thing is that defensively if teams know you have the ability to run the football, they have to spend every week defending it. I think New Orleans does a great job of that. They are a throwing football team, but you always have to respect their run game. I think when New Orleans won the Super Bowl I had talked to Aaron about what a terrific job they did formatting and using their run game to complement the passes.”
How have you seen the tight end position evolve and change since the last time you were in the NFL?
“I think it’s kind of cyclical. When I got to the 49ers back in 1995, we had Brent Jones. He was a more athletic, 6-2ish basketball player. I coached Ozzie (Newsome) in Cleveland and, again, they weren’t big guys. They were more of thicker, pass receiving guys. Now you’ve got the Jimmy Grahams and we’ve got the Martellus Bennetts and the (Tony) Gonzalez type of guys. There’s not just Gonzalez anymore; there’s other tight ends like that and they’re everywhere now throughout the league. They are more basketball players, but they’re thicker. They are larger versions of the guys who played from maybe the Kellen Winslows to the Ozzie Newsomes to Brent Joneses to the (Shannon) Sharpes. Those guys were shorter, fast guys but now they’re the big long guys with long arms and they can go outside and make plays, where the guys back in the day were more inside route-running guys. I think that’s where we’ve seen the change: bigger, taller, thicker guys who are just as athletic as the 6-2 guys or 6-3 guys were back 20 years ago.”
What kind of problems do they then pose for the defensive coordinators?
“I think the problem is what are you playing defensively? Are you playing nickel back? Because they can run. It’s tough to match them up against a linebacker because linebackers are mostly in the 6-1-6-2 (height range) and can’t elevate like a defensive back who might be six foot can elevate to go up and make plays. They are very difficult match up problems. You see it every week with Jimmy (Graham). Sean’s got him outside there and he’s catching the ball down the outside lanes every way possible and slants. People are doing that throughout the league. They are matching up size, and what happens is you’ve got to be able to defend the run game with those guys in there, but you also have to defend the three receiver passing package.”
What makes Sean Payton’s offenses so special?
“I think that’s a long answer to a question that starts basically with No. 1, the quarterback who has been a gym rat since the day he got there who studies and works and won’t take anything but perfection. You balance that out with Sean and the consistency of Sean and having Pete (Carmichael) there. They’ve gone the distance with Drew. Putting together an offensive line with what Doug Marrone did and what Aaron did over the last six years with the consistency of coaching up front and the ability to develop players. They’re not all first round draft choices that have played for New Orleans over the last five or six years. They are guys that both Doug and Aaron developed, which is a big part of it. And then the consistency of the program, the consistency of the passing game, running these plays over and over again, and then the demand by each and every player that they’re going to be at their best because Drew is giving it his best. It’s a combination of a lot of things, but I know Drew would probably say that having Sean there and having Pete there for the last six years is really part of it because they’ve given them an environment and a system of football that enables him to be at his best.”
Were you in consideration for Jim Haslett’s offensive coordinator job in New Orleans back in the day?
“I don’t want to go back that far; that’s a long time ago. I got a chance to be in training camp in the 2007 season. Sean and Mickey (Loomis) were kind enough to, when I was out of work, to give me an opportunity to spend some time with them and that’s something I’ve always been really appreciative of: the fact that they allowed me to be around the team and spend some time there in 2007. That’s always meant a lot to me.”
Are we going to get some decent weather up there this weekend?
“It’s 75 degrees and we might be in Napa today it’s so nice out here. I think you’ll have some nice weather when you get in for the weekend.”
Chicago left tackle Jermon Bushrod:
Is this a bittersweet week for you?
“It is and isn’t. I’m just very blessed to have the opportunity that I have to play here. I cherished my time in New Orleans and I am very appreciative of their organization and the opportunity they gave me to grow and all that stuff. It’s a good thing. It’s a good position to be in.”
Does it help having Aaron Kromer up there with you?
“Yeah, absolutely, especially because I am familiar with our offense and it wasn’t a whole new learning process for me. So, yes.”
How much has Kromer done with the other guys on the offense that haven’t been there?
“We are fighting to get it done. We are fighting to get better week in and week out. We are just trying to put the work in so we can have some success, just keep hammering away every single day trying to get better. It is not going to be pretty all the time. We are going to have ups and downs, but we have a good group of guys here.”
Do you recognize the Saints defensive line right now?
“They have a lot of guys that are playing really well. A lot of guys that I was playing against last year that I was going up against in practice for the most part are getting some opportunities and their shot at it. They are playing well, (Akiem) Hicks, (Tyrunn) Walker, a couple of rookies they have and the guys off the edge.”
Are you surprised they are able to do what they are doing?
“I knew the type of players that they had there. I knew the type of motors they had and the type of fight that they had. If they were just given the opportunity, they were going to do alright and obviously that is what they are fighting to do.”
What do you guys need to do as a whole to improve?
“We just have to continue to keep grinding, keep fighting to be consistent as possible. In most of our games this year we have started fast and finished pretty good, but if we could continue to be consistent and keep fighting like the way we are and playing team football then we will have a shot at every game in the fourth quarter. But if the other team has the momentum for too long and we can’t stay on the field as an offense and all that good stuff, it makes it hard on ourselves.”
Having Chicago bring you in, did that put a lot of responsibility on you to fix the pass protection problem?
“It was kind of more like outside added pressure that I really fight not to put on myself. I come into work every single day and I fight to have the same mindset and that’s just find a way to get it done day in and day out, and that is the pressure I put on myself. I try to come into work and we try to get better as a unit. We try to get better individually so we got out here as a team we can do so many things that we have had success on in practice.”
Can you talk about your personal transition leaving the Saints and going to the Bears?
“I was actually talking to my wife last night, this past six or seven months have been pretty busy for us. (On the) Personal side, I got married (last year), I just had my second child, new house, moving from New Orleans to Chicago and just trying to get adjusted to everything. It’s coming along well. We have a good support staff here, great family support thank God and the organization has done a good job of helping us get settled in. Whatever questions we needed or whatever help we needed they were there.”
Did the Saints try and keep you?
“I felt like they were going in another direction and that’s all good and I understand that. Sometimes you just have to take the feelings out of it a little bit. It was tough because New Orleans meant a lot to me, still does being that my wife is from there and I won a Super Bowl there. But this is just another opportunity, another opportunity for my family, another opportunity for us and it is a special situation. It is a blessing to even be in this situation.”
Do you see any comparisons to this defense to the one you faced in practice?
“You can definitely tell a lot of similarities. They are making a lot of plays. They are keeping the opponents points down. They are fighting to get turnovers and they are going to give you a lot of different looks on defense and that is something that we need to continue to stress and continue to identify and communicate to the best of our ability because they are playing some good ball.”
Do you think the difference between the 2009 defense and 2013 defense is that they aren’t as blitz happy now?
“Yeah, exactly, like kind of going back to what I was just saying, they give you a lot of different things, a lot of different looks and that is what is catching a lot of people off guard. You have to do whatever works and they are hammering it home right now. As offenses are going to face them they have to just try to identify their looks and keep the ball rolling and identifying and communicating like I was saying and just fighting to be on the same page because I can see how they can confuse a lot of teams with some of their things.”
You said no hard feelings about leaving, but does it add any motivation?
“Like I said, I just go back to what I said before, no hard feelings. It ended on good terms and even if it didn’t end on good terms, I’m still appreciative of the opportunity. I am just going out here focusing on this team and doing whatever I can do to get this team a W.”