On the NFL
10:00 PM CDT, March 20, 2013
PHOENIX — Even though Bears players are scattered across the country, their new offense has begun to take shape.
Coach Marc Trestman provided a snapshot of what that offense might look like during a media breakfast Wednesday at the NFL meetings.
Trestman talked of an ambitious offense that can do many things. Even, perhaps, the read option.
"We'll have that in our packages," said Trestman, who ran the offense with the Montreal Alouettes. "It won't be new to us. We have coaches on the staff who know how to coach it, and they know how to coach it very well."
Later, however, when asked about the read option, he said: "We'll look into it. I don't know that we're going to establish it. It's worth spending time on. I think every team is looking at it right now."
Trestman said his offensive playbook is nearly complete and ready for distribution to players.
"Building this offense has been a very slow and detailed process," he said.
While Trestman said he still has much to learn about his personnel, he has come to some early conclusions.
Among them are these: Devin Hester is now strictly a return man, not a wide receiver. Second-year wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is ready to step into the starting lineup. And running back Matt Forte could be featured even more than he has been.
Asked if Hester is strictly a specialist, Trestman said: "Right now, yes. And we'll see how that evolves. He's going to spend more time with (special teams coach Joe DeCamillis) and make sure we're paying attention to that. He'll come in and compete for that (returner) job."
Trestman said he will decide next week if Hester even will go through drills with wide receivers during offseason practices.
The player who could get most of the throws that went to Hester last season is Jeffery. Trestman pointed out Jeffery is working with fellow receiver Brandon Marshall in Florida, and he thinks that will help him mature.
It also sounds as if Forte could be playing an even bigger role in 2013.
"He has a skill set that goes the whole spectrum of what you want in a running back," Trestman said. "He can run inside. He can run outside. He can catch the ball extremely well. I saw him as a very good route runner. I saw him on slants. I saw him run rail routes, sideline routes. He's extremely versatile. ... He can do everything. ... And he's a willing blocker, which is critically important."
Evan Rodriguez will be lining up next to Forte in the backfield at times. But Trestman indicated he is open to expanding Rodriguez's role, possibly using him as a tight end and H-back.
"He can run well," Trestman said. "I'm excited to see more of him … and see how far we can go with his flexibility. But he certainly can play the fullback position."
The offensive line remains a work in progress. Trestman said he has not seen enough of James Brown to determine if he can start at guard, and he would not even commit to a position for Roberto Garza.
But he did say he was excited about seeing J'Marcus Webb move to right tackle from left.
"I've seen him do a lot of good things," Trestman said. "We just have to get him to do a lot of good things a lot more of the time. I've seen him do enough good things on tape to think that it's certainly worthwhile putting him over there right now and giving him the opportunity to work over the course of the camps and see where he is. ... It will be a great challenge for (offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer) to develop him. If anybody can do it, Aaron can."
The Bears offense won't run smoothly if quarterback Jay Cutler does not perform well. Trestman was effusive in his praise of Cutler. He said Cutler's throwing ability is as good as any player he has coached. He also praised Cutler for his mobility and toughness.
But Trestman acknowledged Cutler can improve his mechanics.
"I know he has the ability to have precision mechanics, high-level mechanics," Trestman said. "At times he has them, at times he doesn't. But that would be for anybody in the league. There are times when you do it the way you want to do it. There are times when you want to get the ball up a little more. Your footwork can be cleaner."
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