July 26th, 2013
After a disappointing 2013 year where the Bears just missed the postseason, Chicago will be back with a new head coach. Marc Trestman will now be calling the shots on the Bears' sideline. This quarterback specialist has a reputation for winning and will be able to help Jay Cutler.
Trestman has a large amount of NFL experience including being a quarterback coach with Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Detroit, Arizona, Oakland, and Miami. He was also offensive coordinator with San Francisco. However, all of his NFL participation was either in the early 2000's or before.
Since that time he has mostly coached the Montreal Alouettes. Does the team sound familiar? Probably not. That is because Montreal plays in the eight-team Canadian Football League (CFL).
There are a lot of rule differences between the NFL and the CFL. For example, instead of eleven players on the football field, teamsare allowed to have twelve. That causes a huge change in the offensive playbook. However, the same amount of players are required at the line of scrimmage. The extra player is in the backfield. If you turn on a CFL game you are probably not going to see an empty backfield.
Did you know that in the CFL, the game can end with a score "1-0"? In the NFL, a missed field goal would result in the other team taking possession of the ball at the place where the play was started. In the CFL a missed field goal can turn into a one-point drive if the football reaches the back of the end zone. For this reason, field-goal kick returns are practiced and are common in Canadian Football.
The biggest reason there is much more passing in the CFL is that instead of four downs, Canadian quarterbacks have only three downs to work with! That means these teams cannot afford many short running plays that do not gain a decent amount of yardage.
Another reason CFL teams pass more is the rules for motion at the snap. Wide receivers in the Canadian leagues can actually run toward the line of scrimmage before the snap. These receivers can get a convenient running head start on the defensive player covering them.
The Canadian end zone is also ten yards deeper giving teams much more route running flexibility in the red zone.
Trestman and his staff will have to adapt to the NFL rules. Fortunately, Trestman does have some past NFL experience, so the Bears should be ready to play hard and have a great season!