Nam Y. Huh/AP
Nam Y. Huh/AP

Chicago Takes Charge

Bears coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler are taking the lead in establishing an ethical culture in Chicago's locker room. Plus, a new Dr. Z award, 10 things I think and my annual Father's Day book recommendations

SALISBURY, N.C. — Notes from the last pre-vacation MMQB—including Marc Trestman the people person, Jay Cutler the leader, and the first annual “Paul ‘Dr. Z’ Awards” by the Pro Football Writers of America—on the eve of tonight’s 55th annual National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Awards ceremony in this real-life Mayberry.

Good news, Bears

Lots of talk about locker-room culture these days, and lots of energy spent by teams trying to ensure there’s never another Dolphins/Incognito affair. But I give special points to Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler for their efforts. And I’m learning more and more about how wrong we were that Trestman was some X’s-and-O’s monk who couldn’t deal with players on a human scale. That’s one of the most misleading assumptions in recent NFL years. 

Another example: Trestman and Cutler recently flew to New York to meet with the league’s new values-meister, Dov Seidman, to exchange ideas about fostering a more ethical culture in the locker room. I’ve heard of players and coaches working on football in the off-season, and maybe even on better forms of leadership. But for a coach and his top lieutenant in the locker room—who has never been considered a classic locker-room leader—to get on a plane and spend a day working on new techniques and dialog … that goes beyond the call of duty. Trestman and Cutler should be congratulated for it. 

“I got a tremendous start in the way a locker room was run when I coached for five years in Canada,” said Trestman, whose first head-coaching job was with Montreal of the CFL. “In our locker room, everyone should feel safe. For some of the guys in Chicago, it was kind of new to them. There’d be no hazing. Lovie Smith had a great group of players—a great group—and he did a great job with them. There were some subtle things I wanted to add. I wanted to keep growing.”

Trestman didn’t want to be specific about what he, Cutler and Seidman discussed, other than to say he “wanted to find out what else we could do to keep growing.” Seidman wouldn’t confirm the meeting, but it’s clear from a pro football source that they bonded and had a discussion Trestman and Cutler will use as a building block in their locker room.

Seidman, CEO of the LRN Company, which works with businesses to stress principled performance, addressed club and league officials at the annual meeting in March, and has remained an adviser to the league. He’s bullish on the impact of the one-hour meetings for all 32 full squads this month (I wrote about this last Monday), to kick off discussion of culture change. “You don’t just flip a switch on something like this,” Seidman said. “It’s about a journey. It’s about progress. I think teams are figuring out there’s a new way to win, and that includes caring for the player as a person, a father and a husband. Creating a locker room full of people who can be themselves can help you win.”

* * *

One of the best gestures I’ve seen in a long time. 

A couple of times a year, a few us get together for lunch in New Jersey with Paul Zimmerman and his wife, Linda. Paul, as most of you know, was felled by a series of strokes in November 2008, and he remains unable to speak substantively or write. Last Wednesday we invited Ken Rodgers, who wrote and produced the tremendous Dr. Z tribute piece for NFL Films last fall, “Yours truly, Dr. Z,” to the meal. The piece won a Sports Emmy for “The Dick Schaap Outstanding Writing Award.”

Ken Rodgers, left, and Peter King, right, flank Paul Zimmerman as Dr. Z shows off his Emmy. (Courtesy of Linda Zimmerman)
Ken Rodgers and Peter King flank Paul Zimmerman as Dr. Z shows off his Emmy. (Courtesy of Linda Zimmerman)

Rodgers came to lunch and brought with him an Emmy—for Paul. The gold statuette sat on the table in front of Paul throughout the meal. He beamed. Rodgers choked up a couple of times talking about Zim and the experience of doing this wonderful story. “My favorite moment,” said Rodgers at one point, “was listening to an old interview of Paul with him in the room, and thinking how emotional it would probably make him, and I look at him, and he’s rolling his eyes as if to say, ‘Blah, blah, blah. Just shut up, will you?’ ”

A very good lunch, with good company, including Matt Millen and wife Pat—who are regulars at these affairs, with my wife Ann and me, and Linda’s friend Barbara. And the Flaming Redhead, of course. “Geez,’’ said Linda. “What to say about Ken … He certainly is carrying on the Steve Sabol tradition. We were heartbroken by the passing of Steve, but Ken certainly channels his spirit and intelligence. We’ve made a lifetime friend.”

Now, speaking of Dr. Z …

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216 comments
ShaneMac
ShaneMac

Peter:


Way to go with your self-congratulations.  At least you did it "humbly".

DerekSugimura
DerekSugimura

Christine Michael has Pro Bowl talent . . . if he can stay healthy, motivated, and focused.  He's never managed all three things at the same time.  He's had trouble managing two.  I hope he puts it together with Seattle, because if he does, he can be as good as anyone in the league.

Michael22
Michael22

Jurgen Klinsmann said to Sam Borden of the New York Times: “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet."

Betting Odds for USA to win World Cup 250/1, or 0.4% chance. People willing to wager actual money agree with Klinsmann, not Peter King.


The Diamondbacks, 10 games under .500 and 15 games back in the division, are still a better bet at 200/1 to win the 2014 World Series. In the NFL, Jacksonville and Oakland are the longest shots at 100/1 each to win the next Super Bowl. Let the Jags know they are ready to win it all this year, since they are much better odds than the US team. 

dksherlock
dksherlock

So Bears will have a warm and fuzzy locker room.  Let's see Cutler get to the playoffs and we'll see how much it matters. 

opaque13
opaque13

Plenty of people have used motivational devices like Klimsmann has, but why quote him out of context?  In the interview I read, he ALSO said (to the effect) the U.S.A. would have to play "seven perfect games to win the World Cup." 


That's the kind of coach-speak you'd hear from an NFL coach in Klinsmann's position.  He'd codify his statement to let people know what they were already thinking: that his team has no realistic chance.  Or he'd make something up that made no sense whatsoever.

Klinsmann may speak English better than most NFL coaches, but he's still a German who spent his first 40 years in Europe.  Let's not go overboard dissecting cultural nuance.



kalmchaos1
kalmchaos1

Hi Peter, I know that you covered the games in South Africa four years ago and got a feel for the game but Klinsmann is right to say that the US cannot win this World Cup. I'm not sure if it's motivational but it is realistic. While it may not seem American to say that we have no chance to win, it will help keep us fans grounded and in support of the plan so that we can compete at a higher level in the future. I think of this stage of our development as the "breaking eggs" segment of the omelette making process. The comparison to Herb Brooks is simply ridiculous. The 80 US Hockey Team was a very good team maybe not as good as the Russian team but that team was expected to compete for a medal. That team won one very important game and eventually the championship against teams that we very close in talent. Klinsmann has a much larger challenge. The World Cup has several teams that are of equal stature as that Russian team from the 80 Olympics. For the US to win the final, they would need to have 4 monumental upsets in a row. The US squad has a statistical chance just as any other qualifier but more importantly, this World Cup must serve as preparation for 2018 and maybe even 2022.

JeffPozy
JeffPozy

Great comments about Sharapova! Also, looking forward to MMQB CFL coverage! Mr. King has still got it!

Marchoir
Marchoir

Can almost hear Trestman now. "OK guys, bring it in. Everybody bring it in closer. Everybody join hands, on three. Kum-ba-yah my lord, kum-ba-yah..... Yeah, baby that's it. Feel the power. This is how we do it in Canada. That's what I'm talking about. Hug it out now. Hug it out."

leoderosia1
leoderosia1

I am sure pete the lib will be preaching about what is acceptable and unacceptable in locker rooms. Pete is a huge mike sam fanboy...sam will be a career scrub

comments
comments

        Yes its June and I only read the 20% of the column that was football related but, as a longtime Chicago Bears fan, imagine my surprise when I clicked on SI tonight and saw that Peter had written something about my favorite team! Team I'm stuck following because my oldest friends back in Chicago do and its nice to be able to text with them as an at least moderately well informed individual is more accurate, but then I was born in '78 and fell in love at the tender age of seven with the cast of characters that was the '85 Bears. Its a love-hate thing. 


         Here's to the new regime, (Trestman/Emery) which seems to have a pretty good handle on how to build and keep up a roster in theory anyway, and here's to Jay finally growing up? Keeping my fingers crossed on that one, but he's thirty now and a father and he wouldn't be the first whiny, self important dude to grow up a little late. If he plays more than twelve games the results should be entertaining texts sent my way at the very least ( actually those are often better when they flat out stink). The NFC is awfully tough all of a sudden, but jump balls are difficult to defend without penalties, and we just might have a very dangerous third wideout ready to do some damage this year alongside Marshall and Jeffrey. Obviously the defense is a work in progress.


           I hope the forthcoming Trestman column indicates additional coverage of the team in much the same way that Peter's connections with the Rams have lent us some inside looks at that organization. I understand that Chicago pretty much has it's own media centers, and that it probably doesn't pay as much for national media to spend a lot of time covering the Bears, but that really should not translate to a site like this. 



Enjoy the vacation Peter.

Thanks for the entertainment and MMQB cast and crew.  

Jazzaloha
Jazzaloha

"I think teams are figuring out there’s a new way to win, and that includes caring for the player as a person, a father and a husband. Creating a locker room full of people who can be themselves can help you win.”


I'm sure this will annoy some, but this sounds like something Pete Carroll has gone far to establish in Seattle

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

Paul Zimmerman had something against Ken Stabler not sure if he was a Raider Hater like his mini me Peter King but when he could talk he never said anything good about Ken Stabler. 

Scramble
Scramble

How are the A's fun to watch Pete. They beat the O's because the umpires don't know what a balk is.

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

5 hard killers, roadside bomb makers, 911 planners back on the street for a deserter and PK don't have a think to say, scary times. 

KristinDiggins
KristinDiggins

I think every PK article should contain at least one reference to Mr. $am and every sporting event should be held in Jerry World.

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

Peter King "Your" president traded 5 cold blooded killer's which turned them lose to go back to the battle field. This morning your non football liberal comments are about some actor playing LBJ, wow the silence says it all hear no evil see no evil. The guy deserted its the biggest trade of my life time you have nothing to say? Well a guess you approve you moon bat.

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

You ask if following the rules is cowardly? I would argue following BAD rules is the *definition* of cowardly. Mr. Rolle brings up a good point about Will Hill, that the players KNOW when they're going to be tested for weed, so clear out that time to not smoke. But for how long? Is there an accepted consensus when players should stop smoking weed? Or is it more logical (& yes, ethical) to wonder why we're abolishing a natural, pain-killing plant.

Imagine, Peter, if we start outlawing gluttonous food (don't be surprised)---what do YOU do, sir? What if you had a huge plate of lasagna around the time period you knew your employer (or the government) would test for such things. Boom, you get popped for gluttony, & bam, now you're suspended from writing. Would it make you wonder why the hell you're not allowed to do what you will, since imbibing what you wish hurts no one? It could be argued the sort of food you eat *hinders* your work, since it will retard the amount of time you potentially have in a lifetime to write. What if they started testing for exercise to insure a healthier employee? On that note, it's pretty clear smoking (or vapourizing) something natural is healthier than taking addictive synthetics...& it's healthier than the personal methods you seem to practice, Peter.

The REAL story in this column however is the theme of "no bullying"---yet we're treated to another "haha, look how much the rookies have to pay at dinner" bon mot. Gross, Peter. Search your soul, you know these things to be true. Unless of course a rule tells you it's not true, then you'd just obey that.

luvfoozball
luvfoozball

@dksherlock Yes, a locker room should be like a cesspit where people are often out to get each other and hate everyone else. 


That will make not getting to the playoffs so much enjoyable, amiright?!!1!!111!!!111

Mike26
Mike26

@Raiderforlife That's so far outside the realm of current or relevant I don't know what to say.

SkeeterSkier
SkeeterSkier

@Raiderforlife...I'm guessing English is a second language for you, so keep it up! I admire someone for their bravery in attempting to communicate when their skills are so elemental.

As for your ignorant, single-faceted political views, I'd like for you to address the fact that President Bush (the dumb one) released over 500 detainees during his term (presumably due to the fact that legal recourse was running thin.)

By the way...the 5 detainees traded for the American POW were rumored (by multiple high-ranking military adjudicators) to be next in line for release in pretty short-order, and President Obama was highly advised to make the deal by his military advisers. The GOP was clamoring - at the time - to bring home POWS; now, some are calling the move treasonous. REALLY?

Another question for you...is a moon bat related to a imbecile? If so, you two share bloodlines!

My advise to you - stick to watching sports, and leave higher order thinking skills to the adults.

Mike26
Mike26

LEAVE NOW TROLL!

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Raiderforlife You're seriously angry because a football columnist's political views don't reflect yours?  There are plenty of places you can read somebody who says what you're already thinking.  A little conflicting opinion is a good thing.

Mike26
Mike26

@liquidmuse3 You are WAY too serious about these issues, liquidmuse3 - IF that's even your real name!

Wombat
Wombat

@liquidmuse3 Dude you have reeeaaallly over-thought this. Light up and chill!

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

@TerrapinStation87 @Raiderforlife Its no my strong point but you might  get what i am trying to say or maybe not. Are you happy what your President has done to return cold Taliban killers loose that sits ok with you. Please correct my sentences give me some help make your self useful

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

@Go_Niners! @Raiderforlife The moon bats are killing the country I want to inform the many dumb people that read his bull and try to turn this country around. I am not angry i don't know where you get that. I think we need to have an investigation into why colleage is so expensive but produces non thinking idiots. Do you think its a good thing that your President returned the coldest of killers back to the battlefield where we have men stationed your ok with that?

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

@Wombat @liquidmuse3 ? Personal freedom, bud. And I don't even smoke, but I'm irked at sanctimonious, haughty gents like Peter wagging their finger about other people's personal behaviour, when their behaviour doesn't affect anyone except teammates in this case---& it's asinine that that system is in place to punish players like that. People like Peter just keep the status quo, & there is really no good reason to do so sometimes, other than non-thinking cowardice (a thought Peter brought up himself).


Imagine if cannabis could treat stroke victims, or if it even *prevented* strokes. Would Peter be into that because of his friend Dr. Z? But we don't know, because we're really not allowed to do research on it. If just find Peter's moralizing off-putting, especially when it's something he's willfully ignorant about. 

Mike26
Mike26

@Raiderforlife  You realize the Raiders would be embarrassed to know you're a fan of the organization, don't you?

blynder
blynder

@liquidmuse3 @Wombat

P.King doesn't work for the Government, he works for SI & NBC.  The players in the NFL don't work for the government, they work for the NFL and the teams they are being paid by. Companies have been regulating their employee's behavior for a very long time.  Go read up on some the crazy ish that Kellog used to do. "Personal Freedom" doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want whenever you want.

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