The QB Whisperer

The QB Whisperer

Canadian Football League coach Marc Trestman was hired on January 16th as the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

Trestman works in the offseason with many NFL quarterbacks, including Jay Cutler. It was Trestman’s connection with another NFL signal caller – the Browns Brandon Weeden — that was behind the Browns interest in Trestman before he accepted the head coaching position in Chicago.

Trestman led Montreal to back-back-Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010. This past offseason he worked directly with both Weeden and Seahawks rising star Russell Wilson. In past years he has worked with Cutler, who was very supportive of the Bears decision to hire Trestman. Developing young quarterbacks is certainly an ‘in-demand’ skill in today’s NFL.

“Marc is an extremely knowledgeable football mind and with his obvious success everywhere he has been proves that he knows how to develop and teach quarterbacks,” Weeden is quoted in a testimonial on Trestman’s website.

The 56-year-old Trestman was Cleveland’s offensive co-ordinator the last time the Browns played in the AFC title game (1989), and has worked as an assistant with eight different NFL teams (most recently Miami in 2004).

Akron Beacon Herald sportswriter Nate Ulrich reported the following on January 8, before Trestman was hired in Chicago (full story available at )

Trestman, an author, quarterback whisperer and head coach of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, also has intellectual horsepower that’s off the charts.

“He’s probably the smartest coach I’ve ever worked with,” Amato, a college football coach for more than 40 years, said Tuesday in a phone interview.

The Browns interviewed Trestman on Tuesday at their headquarters in Berea, a day after he met with the Chicago Bears, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns are not commenting on candidates or interviews until the search is complete. Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert on Dec. 31.

Trestman took control of the Alouettes in 2008 and led them to back-to-back Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He and Amato are good friends who worked together at North Carolina State University, where Amato was the head coach from 2000-06 and Trestman his offensive coordinator from 2005-06.

Trestman, 56, also has served as an assistant coach for several NFL teams, including the Browns. He became the Browns’ quarterbacks coach in 1988 and their offensive coordinator in 1989, when they advanced to the AFC Championship Game. Trestman coached quarterbacks at the University of Miami in 1983, when Bernie Kosar and the Hurricanes won a national championship. The two reunited in Cleveland.

Trestman also was an offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers (1995-96), Arizona Cardinals (1998-2000) and Oakland Raiders (2002-03). In Trestman’s West Coast offense, quarterback Rich Gannon won the league’s Most Valuable Player award during the 2002 season and led the Raiders to the Super Bowl.

“He knows a lot of people, he stays in contact with a lot of people and a lot of his friends are coaching in the NFL,” Amato said. “I think he could put together an outstanding staff that can teach and motivate players. He would obviously bring a very strong mind to the offense. He’s not afraid to stay with the times and [figure out] what works and doesn’t work. He’s proven he’s a winner on all levels.”

Trestman is also known for developing quarterbacks. Amato believes Trestman, who recruited Seattle Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson to N.C. State, could bring the best out of Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden. Trestman helped Weeden prepare for the draft before the Browns selected him 22nd overall last year.

“That’s his expertise, and he’s done that his whole life,” Amato said. “He mesmerized these young kids when he talked to them about every little thing that a quarterback’s got to do. He was very meticulous and very cerebral. Everything had to be perfect.”

Yahoo Canada football blogger Andrew Bucholtz also points out that Trestman’s resume is helped by the fact that he got the most out of veteran quarterback and pro football career passing leader Anthony Calvillo.

Bucholtz also reported in a recent blog that General Manager Jim Popp’s record in Montreal is leading to some NFL interest, particularly with the Carolina Panthers. Bucholtz points out that some of Popp’s players have gone on to NFL success, and that Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson is being advised by former Giants’ general manager Ernie Accorsi, a long time fan of Popp’s.

Bucholtz’s complete blog is available here