Sunday, September 7, 2014

6 comments Rick Morrissey Is Outraged at The Way Marc Trestman Runs His Chicago Bears Team

It gets to be a slow time in the few days before the NFL season opens. Sometimes in order to get a full quota of columns written for the week, a sportswriter has to stretch a little bit and get outraged over something that isn't even close to being worthy of being outraged by. Rick Morrissey is confused, outraged, hurt, violently offended, and head-scratchingly angry over Marc Trestman's decision to allow Lance Briggs to attend his restaurant opening rather than come to practice. It makes no sense to him why Trestman would do this. Doesn't Trestman care about the slippery slope involved with this situation? One minute he lets Briggs out of practice for the opening of his restaurant and the next minute Jay Cutler isn't showing up for games on Sunday because he wants to be there early and beat the church crowd to get his favorite booth at Applebee's .

I’ve heard of an excused ­absence for a pulled hamstring. But for pulled pork? No.

Brilliant beginning. Briggs is opening a BBQ restaurant and Morrissey leads off with a strong "pulled pork" joke. If only Morrissey believed this joke couldn't be topped and then just quit after this first sentence. Alas, it was not to be.

That’s what Bears coach Marc Trestman gave linebacker Lance Briggs, who missed practice Monday to be at the opening of his new barbecue restaurant.

How dare Marc Trestman exercise his authority as the head coach of the Bears in order to allow one of his veterans to have the day off from practice to begin a new business venture! Does Lance Briggs want to work in a restaurant? If so, he should put an apron on and start washing dishes. Otherwise, strap on a helmet and come to practice on-time, everyday. What kind of example is this? Can Matt Forte be excused from practice to stand in line for the iPhone 6?

Maybe I expect too much from the Bears. 

Maybe you are making a big deal out nothing. No, check that, definitely you are making a big deal out of nothing.

Maybe I put too high a price on things, such as the importance of NFL practice, especially the first practice of the week of the first regular-season game, particularly for a defense that looked ghastly at times in the preseason.

Or maybe you just have higher standards for your Chicago Bear defensive players. Maybe allowing Lance Briggs to skip practice the week of a game is a great reason why Marc Trestman will never cut it as an NFL head coach. If only the world could live up to the standard Rick Morrissey sets for other people to meet.

Maybe Trestman was absolutely right to allow Briggs to skip practice for the opening of Double Nickel Smokehouse in Elk Grove, Calif.

Is it too much to ask for Rick to set a standard for others to meet and then hold them accountable when they don't meet the standards he sets for others but doesn't have to meet himself? You already know the answer to that. No, it is not too much to ask.

The horror of the good people of Briggs’ hometown being deprived of their hero’s presence obviously trumps the needs of a professional football team playing the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and coming off one of the worst defensive seasons in its history.

It's his restaurant and he wanted to be there for the opening. It's not like Marc Trestman allowed Lance Briggs to go to his restaurant opening rather than playing in a regular season game or anything. Most of all, I can't tell if Rick Morrissey is being sarcastic? Is he being sarcastic?

Sarcasm? Oozing like the sauce at Briggs’ restaurant.

Smothered in sarcasm like the BBQ spare ribs that sell for $24.99 at Briggs' restaurant. Goodwill Trestman had with Rick wiped away like the sauce on a customer's mouth is wiped away with a napkin at Briggs' restaurant. Everything Rick believed was true about what is the right decision for a head coach to make the week of a game chopped up and shredded like the pulled pork sandwich featured on the menu at Briggs' restaurant. Belief in Trestman's leadership tossed aside like the bones of a rack of ribs served at Briggs' restaurant. Everything is broken and nothing can be fixed, except nothing at Briggs' restaurant should be broken because it just opened and nothing should be broken or requiring fixing. But if Lance Briggs needed something at his restaurant fixed, then Rick Morrissey has no doubt Marc Trestman would give Briggs the day off practice to ensure it got fixed.

Unless there’s something more to his absence than another ­athlete opening another eatery, this is just bizarre.

There probably is something more to this story. Something more illicit and has nothing to do with BBQ, restaurants or sauce. I'm sure there's more to the story than Trestman decided to give a loyal veteran player a day off.

Three weeks ago, Showtime announced that Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall would be a regular on “Inside the NFL,’’ its weekly show. He will have to fly to New York on Tuesdays during the season for the program. Trestman said he didn’t have a problem with it, noting it was usually the team’s day off and that he trusted Marshall. Three weeks later, it still sounds like a distraction the team doesn’t need.

Much like the situation surrounding Michael Sam, Brandon Marshall's absence will be a distraction the Bears team doesn't need because the media will constantly bring up the fact Brandon Marshall is in New York on Tuesdays doing "Inside the NFL." They will keep talking about it until it is a distraction.

Would I want my favorite team's best receiver doing a television show during the season? Probably not. The Bears are Marc Trestman's team and he is entitled to run this team as he and Phil Emery see fit to the run team. If the team doesn't play well then the ones who will pay for this are Marc Trestman and Phil Emery. So if Marshall going to New York is a distraction the team doesn't need, and it results in the Bears losing games, then Trestman will be fired. It's his team to coach, he bears (no pun intended) the burden of his decisions.

Together, the two situations raise a simple question: What could Trestman possibly be thinking?

He's thinking these players asked if they could take time to do these extra activities and he said "yes."

We’re seeing where Trestman’s noble philosophy of treating players with respect and humility clashes with the reality of pro football, with all its demands and rules. There’s a reason football gets compared to the military: It’s incredibly structured, with practice drills scheduled right down to the minute.

It's not like Marc Trestman has never been a head coach before. He's only been a head coach in the NFL for one year, but he was a head coach in the CFL from 2008-2012. I'm sure he has an idea of what he is doing. Maybe Canadian football players are just nicer and his philosophy won't work in the NFL. If not, Trestman gets fired. He's running the Bears his way, which is what they hired him to do by the way.

In the same way you’re not likely to see a commanding officer let a soldier out of war-games exercises to attend his niece’s birthday party, you won’t often see an NFL coach allow one of his defensive leaders to skip practice for a restaurant opening.

Comparisons of sports to the military when coming from a sportswriter always feels clumsy to me. Practice isn't a war-game exercise. Sports are entertainment, while war is not entertainment. They are two different types of things. Comparing them seems a bit clumsy and heavy-handed to me.

“I had communication with him three weeks ago about it,” the coach said. “We talked about it. And I excused him for personal reasons.

This was very clearly a decision made with much forethought and discussion about what excusing Briggs from practice would mean for the team, as well as expectations for Briggs' performance after missing a day of practice. I don't see the big deal. Of all the defensive players on the Bears roster, Lance Briggs isn't one of those whose performance I would question.

We’re at the point at which it’s worth asking what would make Trestman question a player’s commitment to the team.

We're also at the point where a veteran getting an excused day off to open a restaurant in his hometown shouldn't cause anyone to question that player's commitment to the team if the head coach is fine with it.

Jay Cutler joining the cast of “Deadliest Catch”?

Charles Tillman, flask in hand, tailgating before games?

Robbie Gould taking up competitive wall-kicking?

Alshon Jeffery declaring, “I have zero commitment to the team’’?

Not that Rick Morrissey is being over-dramatic like another more famous Morrissey is known for being. Allowing Lance Briggs to miss one practice is the exact same thing as another player drinking before a game or stating he has no commitment to the team. Great comparison. Very on-point. 

But this isn’t just about him. It’s about 11 starting defenders learning to play together. There could be six new defensive starters Sunday at Soldier Field. Fellow linebackers Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic are raw and can use Briggs’ help at all times.

And he will be there every other day in practice and during games to help them out. The idea Lance Briggs can't miss practice because he has to pick up his fellow defensive players is sort of weak to me. If Bostic and McClellin can't live one day of practice without Briggs then this would concern me for their future as NFL players. Besides, it may be good for them to go a practice without Briggs helping them. It could help them grow as players and leaders.

If you saw the Bears’ first-team defense give up 31 first-half points against the Seahawks in the preseason, I share your cluster headaches. But from that experience, you know the Bears can use all the cohesion time they can get their hands on.

Cohesion, like how the BBQ at Lance Briggs' new restaurant will stick to every customer's stomach lining.

I don’t care what players do with their free time, as long as it doesn’t affect the team. That’s my beef brisket with Marshall, who says taking two flights on Tuesdays won’t have any effect on him or the team. But it could, potentially.

I thought this article was supposed to be about Lance Briggs and the horrid decision Marc Trestman has made in allowing Briggs to take a day off practice? It seems Rick Morrissey has a variety of issues with how Marc Trestman runs his team.

Travel issues, fatigue, stress — all of it could be a part of Marshall’s Tuesdays.

It is Marshall's day off, so while Rick Morrissey claims he doesn't care what players do with their free time, he clearly does care what a player does with his day off. Also, Marshall will be traveling from Chicago (presumably) to New York every Tuesday. It's not like he is traveling from Chicago to London every Tuesday. If Marshall can't handle stress and fatigue then I don't know how he has made it this far as an NFL player if he can't manage his time and stress. After all, isn't an NFL practice incredibly structured and detailed down to the minute?

As for Briggs, there wasn’t another day to have a grand opening? Nobody on his restaurant team looked at the Bears’ schedule and saw that maybe there was a better time for it?

Let's see, Rick Morrissey is bitching that Brandon Marshall is using his day off on Tuesday to do "Inside the NFL," but he suggests there could be a better time for Lance Briggs to open his restaurant. When would that time be then? January or February?

Like on an off day for the football team?

Like Tuesdays when Brandon Marshall is going to New York? But that won't work because Rick Morrissey says that's a distraction the Bears team doesn't need. So again, when is the best time to open the restaurant? Morrissey has essentially ruled out every day until the end of the season or the Bears' bye week.

As I said earlier, maybe it’s me.

It is. It's one practice that Briggs will be missing.

Maybe I’m too demanding with other people’s time.

Yes, perhaps you do have too high of standards for what others should be doing with their time and their football team. It's easy and fun to tell others what they should be doing.

I always thought practice makes perfect. Now I see it’s the perfect time to start a side business.

Lance Briggs will be missing one practice. One. Practice does make perfect, which is why those defenders who are not veterans and need the practice reps attended practice on the day Lance Briggs went to the opening of his restaurant. It's not the end of the world or the Bears' season. 


Chris said...

In regards to Brandon Marshall being on Inside the NFL would he really have to always fly out to New York? I mean couldn't he be a regular out in Chicago and join them from there? I mean Showtime is a TV network so I'm pretty sure they have that ability. Wilbon can do PTI from Phoenix or any other part of the country so I don't really see the big deal of Marshall doing Inside the NFL from Chicago.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I didn't think about that. I guess they want him at the roundtable thingie they will have? Even if he flies, if Trestman is fine with it then it's his team. His ass if the team fails.

Chris said...

And of course now look at the reaction this morning to the Bears loss yesterday. The season is apparently over. And all because Lance Briggs was focused more on his restaurant and Brandon Marshall was more concerned being a big shot TV star than focusing on the game.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, which player do the Bears have their eye on at #1 overall?

Chris said...

Well it better be quarterback cuz Jay Cutler is a 54 million dollar sack of crap who punches children in the face and hates cancer patients. And why weren't Trestman and Emory fired before the game for negligent running of a franchise?

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, they will be fired tomorrow, I'm sure of it. The Bears should have kept McCown over Cutler!