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Tuesday, August 9

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Bears Wed Dec 04 2013

Marc Trestman & Game Management Weakness

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngBack in another life (high school and college), I was a competitive Madden player. Most sports-loving guys my age can probably make that claim as well. Its popularity was at an all-time high just a few years ago when the additions they made year over year added incredible realism to the experience. It's plateaued the last few seasons, but still sells quite well.

I never went on the road to play in tournaments, but when it came to playing against friends and online, I lost nine times in over 200 games. I finished second in a campus-wide tournament at a school of more than 13,000 undergrads -- and I would've won it all if I had five more minutes of game time (my opponent found a game glitch he could use to get Tommie Harris into the QB's face in less than two seconds on every play, and it took me three quarters to figure out how to neutralize it). I'm not bitter about that game or anything...

Why is this all important? Because mastering game management skills is imperative to play Madden at the highest level. Five minute quarters and fast game play makes every decision involving points and the clock magnified to the nth degree. It's also the one ability trait that actually translates from video game-play to the real life game.

In the last three weeks, it's also becoming a worry in regards to Marc Trestman. If only he had a person my age with more than 1,000 hours of game experience to help him with it.

There's no question the man can coordinate an offense. Though the team has struggled in third down situations the past few weeks, you can chalk a lot of those up to physical mistakes made by players. Should he scale back some of the third-and-short running plays that have been consistently stuffed? Sure. But if that's his worst mistake, you'd take that in a heartbeat.

It's not. Kicking a 47-yard field goal on second down was not the right decision. Trestman tried his best to defend his stance, saying they couldn't have asked for a better spot in terms of being centered between the hashes and that he was worried about a penalty pushing them back, but those concerns don't outweigh the gains of shortening a Robbie Gould attempt by five yards. Especially if one considers how easily the team was moving the ball on that drive.

The high percentage swing pass the week before to Matt Forte at the end of the first half against the Rams when the Bears were trying to run out the clock: unacceptable. You know what's an even higher percentage in that situation? Dialing up a run play. It also doesn't risk the ball accidentally going backward, a jumpy corner looking for a pick-six, or the pigskin eventually falling to the turf and stopping the clock like it did. That decision ended up not burning the team, but it certainly could have.

Trestman was correct in his end-game scenario against the Ravens, explaining his position beautifully, using analytics to back up his claims. He abandoned those against Minnesota, and it may be the nail in the coffin on the season.

The loss wasn't all Trestman's fault. The Bears should've lost or won the game much sooner, and Gould could've missed a shorter kick as well. But the frequent clock and plan mismanagement in the last few weeks is becoming a scary trend. He can't admit he was wrong in a press conference, but hopefully behind closed doors, he realizes it wasn't the right decision.

If he doesn't, we may have another Andy Reid on our hands. Sure, he made five NFC Championship games while in Philadelphia, but he's never won a Super Bowl, mostly because he gets out-coached when it comes to game management. That's almost more maddening than the team's crappy defense.

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