The rush to judgment around Chicago about this Bears team, this head coach, this offense and this quarterback is epidemic. It seems almost every fan you talk to is already convinced it’s a new day and a Super Bowl appearance is a real possibility.
Perhaps they are right.
Or perhaps they’ve already forgotten the 2012 Bears were 7-1 at the midpoint of the season and then went 3-5 down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs.
The Arizona Cardinals were actually 4-0 in 2012 before dropping 11 of their last 12 games to finish 5-11. On the other hand, the Denver Broncos were 1-2 and 2-3 last year before winning their last 11 games to finish 13-3 and grab the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
It’s early folks. Let’s all take a pill and see if we can’t gather just a little more intelligence before we try to plan for the postseason, re-sign Jay Cutler to a $100 million deal and anoint Marc Trestman as the Messiah.
This much we can say for sure. A number of Trestman’s players are clearly buying what he’s selling.
Matt Forte’s a disciple.
“Like I say all the time, Coach Trestman’s a genius in this offense,” Forte said. “We have a lot of different plays that isolate a lot of different people. But it depends on what the defense is running on when to call them. He’s doing a great job of calling them in the right situation so that we can make a play.”
Chalk up one for Trestman the playcaller.
When it was pointed out to Forte that Martellus Bennett had also called Trestman a genius and compared him to Willy Wonka, he refused to back down, explaining “Wonka was a genius, too. Look what he did with his chocolate factory.”
But Forte can’t believe how much Trestman still has to offer.
“We haven’t even shown a whole lot yet two games into the season,” Forte said. “This is a hefty playbook, we have a lot of games left, and we have a lot of stuff saved for teams that play certain coverages or certain fronts on the shelf until it’s the opportune time to be called and then it’ll be called.”
Forte sees differences in the offense, the coach and the quarterback.
“Jay’s confident in this offense,” he said. “There are a lot of calls that, in the past, I don’t think he would have been as confident with seven-step drops and things like that. But with upgrades on the offensive line and big tight ends who can block, you can do seven-step drops and allow Brandon and the other receivers to get down the field and stretch the field on the defense. So I think now he’s confident that way.”
Forte also marvels at the change in Devin Hester.
“I think he’s playing faster now because he doesn’t have to worry about being tired from being on offense and worrying about plays and stuff and where to line up,” Forte said. “When he’s out there on special teams he’s kind of in his zone. He knows what to do and he knows he can just focus on catching the ball and doing what he does best.”
While Forte was at the microphone this week to speak for his offensive mates, the confidence and excitement he expressed about this new day/new offense under Trestman is a common theme that seems to run throughout the Bears lockerroom.
How far it can take them remains an open question. This week they’ll see a desperate Steelers team, the Bears will be on the road for the first time and it will be their first look at a 3-4 defense. There is still so much to learn about this team, but it is safe to say already we are witnessing a new dawn on offense.
• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Shaw Media and HubArkush.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.