Like Bears general manager Phil Emery apparently was during the course of his coaching search, Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp was very impressed when he first interviewed Marc Trestman five years ago to be his head coach.
"When you interview Marc, he's outstanding," Popp told the Sun-Times on Wednesday. "He's just got everything laid out. It's very simple to follow. I think that has a lot to with his background and getting a law degree. He prepares as though he's going into a courtroom, where he's going to leave nothing unturned.
"He has a plan. And then he stays after it. That's how he approaches it with his coaches. He coaches his coaches, and they better be able to coach his players when it gets to game time and they're ready to go. He's very impressive that way.
"I'm ecstatic for him. He's worked hard for years. Just look at his body of work. I'm very happy I was able to get to give him a chance to get back onto the field, especially being a head coach. He took it and ran with it and has done a great job just to prove he was head coaching material for the NFL. It was just matter of someone else giving him an opportunity which Phil did."
It's Trestman's very detailed and meticulous approach and his innovative offensive game plans -- which are predicated on motion, various formations, getting matchups and quick, right reads by the quarterback -- that made him very appealing to Bears and other NFL teams.
Popp said a week ago that he believed Trestman would be intrigued by the idea of working with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. He said again Wednesday that he feels Trestman, who a long history of working with top QBs, could be the one that finally gets the most out of Cutler.
"Look at Rich Gannon. Look at Steve Young. [His track record] speaks for itself," Popp said. "He doesn't have to say anything. He's tutored many quarterbacks. The guys that he has worked with will stand on a table for him. He has this way of working with quarterbacks where he gains their trust. Those quarterbacks know that they're his guy, that he's going to battle with them, he's going to stand on a table for him. They're going to be so prepared that when it gets to game time, it's going to be easy.
"Even the guy that he's worked with the last five years, Anthony Calvillo, would do that for him. He just has a unique way, and you're talking about about a guy who has played the position. He was a quarterback at the University of Minnesota. He backed up Tony Dungy. He's got that relationship with Tony. He's got deep, deep roots with a lot people. He understands what it takes to play that position."
There are concerns that Trestman might not be able win over an NFL locker room, especially one that saw a beloved coach in Lovie Smith get fired after nine seasons.
But Popp said Trestman can do it.
"He always made it a point to [connect to his players]," Popp said. "He was very cognizant of that, especially of veteran players. He's very close to the quarterbacks. He's one of those guys who is when it's time to get to work and business, it's work, and when it's outside that time frame of when they're teaching them in the classroom or practicing, he makes a real effort during the season and in the offseason to have that relationship with them so there's trust built."