Marc Trestman is tasked with turning quarterback Jay Cutler into a winner for the Chicago Bears. History shows that the longer they are together, the better.
Rich Gannon and Anthony Calvillo reflect the Marc Trestman touch
It’s very hard for a coach to get the most out of a player in just one season. That is why many experts believe that with more time Marc Trestman can truly get the most out of his Bears offense, particularly Cutler. So do the stats say? To figure that out it will be important to note the coaching jobs Trestman has held where he is in place for at least two seasons with the same quarterback. A good first example was when he was offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Rich Gannon was under center at that time. Their first season together, Gannon posted over 3,800 yards passing and 27 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Oakland went 10-6. A year later Gannon had over 4,600 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interception. He also upped his completion percentage from 65 to 67. The Raiders went 11-5 and reached the Super Bowl.
What about different venues. Another good example is the four years Trestman spent in Canada. There he overtook the career of quarterback Anthony Calvillo, a CFL legend. Their first season together in 2008 was quite prolific. Calvillo had over 5,600 yards passing and a career-high 43 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. The Montreal Alouettes finished the year losing the Grey Cup. The next year seemed like less of a success. Calvillo finished with 4,600 yards, and just 26 touchdowns. However, a closer look would reveal something different. That season Calvillo threw 132 fewer passes. He completed 72% of them, better than the 69% the season before and also cut his interceptions in half to six. The result? Montreal returned to the championship game and won the first of two-straight Grey Cups.
Jay Cutler also gets better as he masters a system
The stats don’t just favor from the coaching perspective either. History also shows that with more time in the same system, Jay Cutler gets significantly better as well. His first full season as a starter in 2007 for the Denver Broncos, Jay finished with over 3,400 yards and 20 touchdown passes to 14 interception. A year later he made the Pro Bowl while throwing for a career-high 4,500 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
However, it didn’t stop with Denver. A look into his early years with the Chicago Bears reflect the same thing. The only offensive coordinator he had for two seasons was Mike Martz. In their first year together Jay had over 3,200 yards and 23 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. By year two Cutler finished with 2,300 yards, 13 touchdown and seven interceptions. Here is it important to note that Jay only played ten games, which is why the numbers are lower. Looking deeper, he had a much lower interception percentage (2.2 compared to 3.7 the year before) and also averaged more yards per game. Over the last five games prior to his injury, he’d thrown seven touchdowns to just three interceptions.
There are of course no guarantees for the Chicago Bears regarding the Cutler-Trestman relationship in year two. Then again, if history teaches any lessons, good things can be expected.