The Bears needed a quarterback whisperer. Marc Trestman, your table was ready.
Or at least, your laboratory was.
Now was when Trestman had to show his unique ability to speak fluent backup, journeyman quarterback.
He had done it before with the likes of Rich Gannon, Jake Plummer and Scott Mitchell. He had to do it again in the second quarter of the Bears messy, miserable game in Washington on Sunday.
It’s not that McCown is terrible. He’s not great, certainly. But he’s not Caleb Hanie, or yeesh, Craig Jonathan Henry Krenzel Quinn Burris. He just couldn’t turn over the ball.
And Trestman doesn’t call plays for Cutler, he calls plays for every quarterback. He has called plays for better quarterbacks than Cutler and some who were worse. So, he knew the McCown drill.
Trestman adjusted to his new quarterback, and his quarterback adjusted to live ammunition.
Trestman called for short throws and committed to the running game. McCown helped his own cause with some timely scrambling on top of accurate throws.
He piled up 204 yards and a touchdown on 14-for-20 passing. He was better than Cutler by a lot. He just wasn’t better than his own defense.
The Bears lost a lot of players on defense, but no matter who was out there, the Bears were strafed and pounded by RG3’s offense. How does 499 yards strike you? How about 209 on the ground?
RG3 directed five TD drives, all 74 yards or longer. Geez, can you get off the field once in a while?
But there was McCown to answer. Stunningly, there was McCown to answer.
But nobody told McCown the season was done.
He ran the equal-opportunity offense for three TD drives covering 80, 89 and 67 yards. You can see why the Bears swear by the guy beyond seemingly rational thought. The Bears had one last chance in the final minute, but it wasn’t happening. It ended with a sack, the kind of timely defensive play the Bears refused to make.
McCown is not the ideal situation. It’s not what the Bears wanted. But unless they work a trade for someone believed to be more reliable, McCown is what they have until Cutler’s groin heals.
Maybe there’s a better quarterback out there -- Jordan Palmer was the best rumor available -- but it would be hard to imagine it after McCown’s performance Sunday. You might not have thought he was that good. I sure didn’t. But Trestman made him better on the fly. It's what Trestman does. It's what he will continue to do.
Now if only the Bears could find a defensive whisperer.