On the NFL
7:53 PM EDT, June 5, 2013
JaMarcus Russell, Trent Edwards and Jordan Palmer aren't the only quarterbacks with recognizable names parading through Halas Hall these days.
CFL quarterback Anthony Calvillo recently worked with Jay Cutler and the other Bears quarterbacks.
And Rich Gannon, who had two outstanding seasons under Bears coach Marc Trestman while with the Raiders, is scheduled to come to Halas Hall next week during minicamp to impart his wisdom on Bears quarterbacks.
Calvillo and Gannon are among the passers Trestman has helped bring to a higher level, including Steve Young, Bernie Kosar, Scott Mitchell and Jake Plummer.
Trestman has had success with quarterbacks, but that doesn't mean he wants to be the only voice in Cutler's head.
Calvillo, whom Trestman coached for five seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, visited the Bears during one of their early organized team activity days. He is pro football's career passing yards leader and he had his best seasons under Trestman, winning two Grey Cups.
During his time with Cutler, Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard, Calvillo shared some of how he thrived under Trestman.
"It was good to listen to him tell his story, hear his approach to the game, his study habits, how he trains, how he prepares and how he sees things on different plays," McCown said. "He gave us a good idea of what to expect from Coach Trestman.
"How is he on game day? You've been there with him. Those things are invaluable when you are starting out something. Hopefully it speeds up the curve so you can get to where you want to be as an offense a little faster."
Gannon brings the benefit of NFL experience. Lots of it. He played 18 seasons in the NFL, was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was the most valuable player when Trestman was the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2002.
Gannon, now an analyst for Sirius XM radio and NFL Network, has praised Trestman for his ability to see the game through the eyes of a quarterback.
"He's a tremendous communicator and has an ability to develop a trust, which is really important," Gannon said in January after Trestman had been hired. "You look at the quarterback-play caller relationship. Like Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers, how close they are. I don't know that has been like that in Chicago."
Gannon said one of Trestman's strengths is his ability to listen and provide honest, direct feedback.
"Somebody needs to be honest with Jay Cutler," Gannon said in January. "He has to decide what his legacy is going to be. It's not a question of money for him. Does he want to be known as a first-round draft pick who had a lot of talent and went to a couple of Pro Bowls or a player who really caught fire the last third of his career, became a dominant player and won championships?"
Gannon always has been known for his straightforward style. He never was concerned about stepping on toes as a player, and he has no such qualms as a broadcaster either. He has been critical of Cutler for his mechanical breakdowns but has praised him for his ability, toughness and intelligence.
McCown is looking forward to the chance to learn from Gannon.
"You can gain a ton. He understands all those things that come with playing quarterback in this system." McCown said. "He understands Marc as a play caller. He can give you tidbits on certain plays, approaches on situations, the mindset. It may reinforce what we've been told, but it may be a fresh perspective on it. Maybe it's something we haven't heard.
"Anytime you can be around guys who have played at a high level in this league as Rich did, it's a positive thing. We certainly welcome it."
Any edge the Bears can get at the quarterback position should be a welcome one.
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