INDIANAPOLIS — Transitioning from the Canadian Football League to the NFL is going to create a learning curve. For new Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman, who spent the past five years with the Montreal Alouettes, his research will begin with a history lesson on his team’s rivalry with the Green Bay Packers.
“I’m not as familiar (with the rivalry) as I’m going to be down the road,” Trestman said Thursday in a media session at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Certainly I recognize there’s a rivalry in Chicago and that’s important. But we have to treat every team we’re playing with the utmost respect. There’s difference-makers on every team, as we all know, without going into names. We all know that. With every game, you try to neutralize the difference-makers first. Each team has that.
“It’s a highly competitive division and a highly competitive league, and everything starts in your division. You’re not going to play your division harder than you’re going to play teams outside your division. That would be disrespecting the game completely. We’ve got to go and treat every opponent on an individual basis, go in there with respecting them to the max and knowing that the most important game we’re going to play every week is that game. That’s not new. That’s the reality.”
Trestman spent some time in the NFC North earlier in his coaching career. He was the running backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 1985 and later was the team’s quarterbacks coach from 1990-91. Trestman also was the Detroit Lions quarterbacks coach in 1997.
Considering Trestman twice referred to playing in the NFL as being “south of the border,” the adjustment back to the big leagues likely won’t happen overnight. His approach, though, is markedly different from that of his predecessor, Lovie Smith, who, upon being hired in 2004, immediately said his team’s No. 1 goal would be to beat the Packers. Smith finished his nine seasons in Chicago with an 8-11 record against the Packers, including a loss in the NFC championship game after the 2010 season.
No deal for Vikings: Questions about disgruntled wide receiver Percy Harvin met Vikings general manager Rick Spielman at the Indianapolis city limits. As soon as Spielman took to the podium Thursday, the first question requested an update on Harvin’s status.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to get through this with without a Percy Harvin question or not in this process,” Spielman joked. “We have no intent to trade Percy Harvin. Anything related to his contract or any discussion will all be kept internally. I think everybody understands what type of player Percy Harvin is. He’s a dynamic playmaker, not only on offense but at different positions.”
Later, when pressed further about Harvin’s situation, Spielman strongly emphasized that the Vikings have no “intent” to make a trade. What a team intends to do and actually ends up doing often can differ.
Spielman, who became Minnesota’s general manager in January 2012, is trying to build the Vikings in a similar way to how Ted Thompson successfully operates in Green Bay.
“I’m not a real big believer in spending in free agency,” Spielman said. “We’re always going to try to build through the draft and continue to do that. Because I think that way you maintain a roster that can be competitive year in and year out. Not only on the field but also from a financial standpoint of staying within the cap and looking at the overall cash.
“I think you have a lot more success when you sign your own players as unrestricted free agents. Because you know them the best. And if you screw up signing one of of your own guys and he doesn’t pan out, then that’s a fault on you. I think it’s a little riskier when you go out and try to sign other team’s (unrestricted free agents).
“I don’t know if you looked at the statistical analysis of how many of those guys have actually had success coming into new programs. And sometimes, even those guys when they come in, I don’t want to call them rookies because they’re veterans, but they take time to adjust to their new teammates, take time to adjust to their new surroundings, take time to adjust to the new offense that they’re running.
“So it’s not always as smooth a transition as people would think it would be.”
That, of course, could rule out Packers unrestricted free-agent wide receiver Greg Jennings from signing with the Vikings this offseason. Minnesota has been mentioned as one of the leading possible destinations for Jennings.
Lions moving on from Young: Less than two years after the Lions drafted wide receiver Titus Young in the second round (20 spots before Green Bay’s Randall Cobb), Detroit coach Jim Schwartz was left to explain the mess that led to the team recently releasing the troubled 23-year-old.
“He’s no longer a member of our team,” Schwartz said. “Obviously, it didn’t work out for us. It’s very disappointing. He’s a guy that we drafted in the second round and was a guy that was physically very productive for us and looked like he was going to be a very important part of our offense.
“But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t all just physically what you could do on the field. As a result, he’s no longer with us and we’ve moved on.”
Packers picks set: Thompson and Packers coach Mike McCarthy will meet with the media Friday.
In the meantime, the NFL officially confirmed where Green Bay will be selecting in the first three rounds of April’s draft. The Packers have the No. 26 choice in the first round, the No. 55 overall pick in the second round and the No. 88 overall selection in the third round.
The exact spots of Green Bay’s picks in the fourth through seventh rounds won’t be determined until compensatory picks have been awarded.