(WSCR) If anything, Lovie Smith was a player’s coach.

It’s no secret his team loved playing for him, so when the Bears decided to fire Smith after last year’s 10-6 season, it was unclear how the players would respond to a new coach.

Bears president Ted Phillips joined The Mully and Hanley Show on Thursday and spoke of Trestman’s influence in the locker room.

“Anytime you’re making a change at your head coaching position, it’s a tough transition. I don’t care who the individuals are. It’s difficult to quickly get the club to coalesce on both sides of the ball and play at a high level right away. Coach Trestman came in here and has done a really great job of building a strong locker room, getting the guys to believe in him on both sides of the ball, which wasn’t easy, with Lovie (Smith’s) defensive success in particular over the years.

“That wasn’t easy to do. I think we’re at a point now where the team on both sides, they believe in each other. They’re playing really well as a team. The defense, even though the numbers aren’t there when compared to prior years, they’re making plays when they need to.”

Phillips also touch on Jay Cutler’s contract situation, but wouldn’t tip his hand as to what the Bears are thinking long-term.

“I think there’s going to be a time to talk about contracts, but it’s not now, for Jay or anyone else,” Phillips said. “We’re obviously aware of the number of players that we have who’s contracts are expiring. We’ll deal with that accordingly. When Jay was playing, he did a really good job, was improving every week. We were winning. We’re happy to have him and we’re happy to have Josh (McCown) as his backup. There aren’t a lot of teams in the league that can say they have a starting quarterback who they believe in and a backup who can win football games when needed.”

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