Notes from the North
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New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman pissed me off when he came to the CFL as the new head coach of the Montreal Alouettes prior to the 2008 season.

He had no head coaching experience and no experience with the CFL. I was convinced he was going to fall flat on his face, tripped up by his arrogance in thinking he could just walk into a completely different league and succeed.

Trestman not only failed to fail; he succeeded admirably and proved me completely wrong. In fact, his first three seasons with the Als were three of the best years in that storied franchise's long history.

In his first season, Trestman lead Montreal to an 11-7 regular season record and a Grey Cup appearance.

In his second season, the Als went an astounding 15-3 and won the championship game.

In Trestman's third year in the league, Montreal went 12-6 and won its second Grey Cup in a row.

Trestman clearly knows his football.

As importantly, Trestman proved that he knows quarterbacks. At Montreal, he inherited Utah State grad Anthony Calvillo, an excellent pivot with a great deal of experience and some CFL success.

And he made Calvillo even better. In the first three years of Trestman's tenure as Montreal head coach, Anthony Calvillo enjoyed the finest three-year period of his career as a quarterback.

During that time, Calvillo's quarterback rating score rose by more than 12 points from previous seasons to average 107.9 for the first three years under Trestman. His completion percentage was also impressive (69.2, 72.0 and 67.6). Further, Calvillo got better at limiting turnovers, posting a combined 101 - 26 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those three seasons.

And Marc Trestman's success in the CFL is not an aberration. Trestman was a successful quarterback coach and offensive coordinator in the NFL and major college football before coming to Canada. His stint in the CFL simply gave him the chance to learn the ropes as a head coach, something he's proven himself capable of mastering in his five years north of the border.

So Chicago has made a great choice for a new head coach, especially when it comes to maximizing quarterback potential (hello, Jay Cutler) and increasing offensive output. If Trestman can find/retain a strong set of defensive coaches to keep the Bears' defensive operating at the top of the league, Chicago fans can expect to see a lot of success in the coming years under Marc Trestman.

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