The Chicago Bears hired Marc Trestman as the team's head coach today with the hope he can improve the team's offense, which has floundered in mediocrity for more than a decade. Trestman's first move was to hire Aaron Kromer as his offensive coordinator/offensive line coach. Kromer has been the O-line coach the past three seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
This isn't the first time Trestman and Kromer have worked together as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach respectively. From 2001-2003 both men held those same titles for the Oakland Raiders.
In order to decipher what to expect from Chicago's offense under the new offensive regime, let's take a look at what the two were able to accomplish during those three seasons in Oakland. We'll start with the quarterbacks.
For Oakland's offensive rankings during that timeframe, as well as the rankings of every offense under Trestman as an OC, click here.
QBs: Rich Gannon (injured in Week 6), Rick Mirer, Marques Tuiasosopo, Tee Martin, Rob Johnson
Passing Totals: 278-521, 53.4 completion percentage, 2,988 yards, 9 TD, 14 INT, 65.0 rating
QB: Rich Gannon (named NFL MVP that season)
Totals: 418-618, 67.6 comp. percentage, 4,689 yards, 26 TD, 10 INT, 97.3 rating
QB: Rich Gannon, Marques Tuiasosopo (four attempts)
Totals: 361-549, 65.8 comp. percentage, 3,828 yards, 27 TD, 9 INT, 95.5 rating
352-562, 62.2 comp. percentage, 3,835 yards, 20 TD, 11 INT, 85. 9 rating
Lead rushers: Charlie Garner (211-839-1), Tyrone Wheatley (88-276-5)
Totals: 450 attempts, 1,654 yards, 3.7 average, 14 TD
Lead rushers: Charlie Garner (182-962-7), Tyrone Wheatley (108-419-2)
Totals: 414 attempts, 1,762 yards, 4.3 average, 21 TD
Lead rushers: Tyrone Wheatley (159-678-4), Charlie Garner (120-553-3)
Totals: 423 attempts, 1,822 yards, 4.3 average, 15 TD
429 attempts, 1,746 yards, 4.1 average, 17 TD
Garner served as the primary pass-catching running back for the Raiders between 2001-2003. Here are his per-season averages as a receiver during that three-year span.
Garner (2001-2003): 70 receptions, 635 receiving yards, 3 TD
Marc Trestman & Jerry Rice in 2001
The passing numbers over this three-year period are all better than the career averages of Bears QB Jay Cutler. Here are Cutler's per-season averages:
256-422, 60.8 comp. percentage, 3,045 yards, 19 TD, 14 INT, 84.0 rating
If Trestman can get out of Cutler what he got out of Gannon – who was nothing more than a middling quarterback before his time in Oakland – then we will see Cutler's numbers rise across the board.
In protection, the Raiders averaged 35 sacks allowed per campaign. In Cutler's three seasons in Chicago, he's been sacked an average of 49 times per year. That difference of 14 fewer sacks per season, or nearly one per game, will go a long way toward keeping Cutler upright and, subsequently, happy.
In the run game, we see a two-back approach each season, with carries split between Garner and Wheatley. That fits Chicago's personnel very well, with Matt Forte and Micheal Bush sharing carries last season. Forte will serve in Garners' role: a quicker back who can be a weapon as a pass receiver. While Bush will serve in Wheatley's role: a bruising back best used in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
What we also see are ridiculous receiving numbers for Garner. Averaging 70 receptions as a running back is almost unheard of. And that was on a team with two Hall of Famers at the wideout positions: Jerry Rice and Tim Brown.
This is great news for Forte, who was underutilized last season as a pass catcher (44 rec., 340 yds.).
"Matt was brought back, and I was excited about his signing because a big part of that is him as a pass receiver," Emery said after firing Lovie Smith. "For whatever reason whether it was protection or whether it was utilization or whether it was catching, we didn't utilize Matt or he didn't have the opportunity to be fully utilized."
Based on Garner's numbers under Trestman and Kromer, Forte will be more-than fully utilized as a receiver. There's no doubt he will see a spike in all-purpose numbers.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.