By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) The Chicago Bears fell woefully short of expectations in 2014, and the team’s leaders have suffered the consequences for the dismal season.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Trial: Defense Attorney Calls For Mistrial And Accuses Judge Of Lunging At Her; Judge Denies Claims And Motion
As expected, coach Marc Trestman was fired on Monday morning, a source confirmed to 670 The Score, on the same day that general manager Phil Emery received the axe. The Bears sent out a release confirming the changes. Trestman completed his second season in Chicago with a 5-11 mark, concluding a two-year run in which he went 13-19 overall, 3-9 in the division and 8-16 in the NFC.
Marc Trestman released a statement saying, “I want to thank Virginia, George and the McCaskey family, Phil Emery and Ted Phillips for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach of the Chicago Bears. I also want to thank all the coaches and players who gave us everything we asked over the past two years. I have tremendous respect for this organization. Chicago is a special city with great fans. I appreciate the warm support my family and I received.”
Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer has been fired, and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh’s contract expired. The other Bears assistants remain under contract, but they’ve been told to start looking for new work, a source told 670 The Score.
When Trestman was hired in January 2013 by Emery, the stated goal of the organization was to win championships.
“To win championships, we must be in contention on a consistent basis, and to be in contention we have to be in the playoffs on a consistent basis,” Emery said shortly after firing Lovie Smith. “Five of the last six years we have not been there. We have fallen short.”
Trestman never led the Bears to a playoff berth and turned a double-digit win team into a double-digit loss team in two years’ time.
Under Emery’s three-year reign, the Bears never made the playoffs, and their record declined from 10-6 to 8-8 and most recently 5-11.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Disturbance Brings Chance Of Rain-Snow Mix To Our North Overnight
The rapid reversal sent shockwaves through the organization. Just last season, the Bears controlled their own playoff destiny heading into the final week, yet suffered a bitter ending, losing 33-28 at home to their rival Green Bay Packers to finish 8-8.
Two main downfalls could be traced back to the offensive-minded Trestman. After finishing second in scoring in 2013, the Bears scored below league average in 2014, ending in the bottom third in total points. A big reason why was because Trestman, by his own admission, failed to develop big-money quarterback Jay Cutler.
“It’s evident I haven’t up to this point,” Trestman said on Dec. 17. “Am I working at it? Yes. We’ve seen moments, but we haven’t done it on a consistent basis, and that’s clear. I can’t hide from that. I haven’t been able — and we haven’t been able — to do the things we want to get done.
“We’re working towards that, but the answer to that is obvious, and I’m trying to give you the most truthful answer — and that is we’ve seen moments of it, but certainly it’s not where we need to go. It’s not where we need to be.”
The off-field dysfunction also metastasized under the watch of Emery and Trestman. From Lance Briggs ditching an early season practice to open a restaurant in California to Brandon Marshall’s locker room tirade to Marshall challenging a fan to fight on Twitter to offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer criticizing Cutler to a national reporter, drama surrounded Chicago all season.
Since losing to the Colts in Super Bowl XLI, the Bears have now missed the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. Meanwhile, the NFC North has sent two teams to the playoffs five times over that same span.
There aren’t any clear preliminary front-runners for the Bears’ opening, but it’s certain to be one of the premier jobs on the market.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.