The only answers that really matter wont start coming until sometime in September. But there is nothing premature in musing about exactly what might expected of the 2013 Marc Trestman Bears and the 2013 Marc Trestman-Aaron Kromer offense in particular.
Not all of the expectations are necessarily good.
Chances are that the 13 Bears wont be as successful as the 12 ones. No coach in franchise history has ever won as many as 10 games in his first season; for that matter only one (Paddy Driscoll, 9-2-1, 1956) has even won nine.
The organizations tradition is that incoming coaches win no more, and usually fewer, games than the ones they replace. Since the end of the George Halas era 45 years ago, only Dick Jauron and Dave Wannstedt posted first seasons better than the coaches they succeeded:
Lovie Smith: 2004 - 5
Dick Jauron: 2003 - 7
Jauron: 1999 - 6
Dave Wannstedt: 1998 - 4
Wannstedt: 1993 - 7
Mike Ditka: 1992 - 5
Ditka: 1982 - 3 (nine-game season)
Neill Armstrong: 1981 - 6
Armstrong: 1978 - 7
Jack Pardee: 1977 - 9
Pardee: 1975 - 4
Abe Gibron: 1974 - 4
Gibron: 1972 - 4
Jim Dooley: 1971 - 6
Dooley: 1968 - 7
George Halas: 1967 - 7
Trestman will be challenged to top Smiths 10 wins in 2012. Then again, just about every year some new kid gets that done and more.
The Indianapolis Colts went to the 2012 playoffs with first-timer Chuck Pagano in first year and with first-timer Bruce Arians stepping in for 12 games when Pagano was ill. Jim Harbaugh went 13-3 and to the 2011 playoffs in his first NFL coaching season.
Then-novice Rex Ryan rallied the N.Y. Jets to the 2009 playoffs. John Harbaugh had the Baltimore Ravens at 11-5 in 2008, his first season as a head coach at any level.
Best guess: If the Bears do not equal or top Smiths 2012 win total or make the playoffs, Trestman will be back for 2013 but Jay Cutler will not, unless the failure is entirely the fault of the defense.
Trestman meets the media
Be careful not to over-analyze, over-value or even underrate whatever Trestman has to say at his first meeting with the public via media on Thursday. His performance as a head coach will turn on what he does on a sideline, not at a podium.
Remember the fawning over Phil Emery for his apparent candor and utterances in his Jan. 1 press conference? Some of those praising that and his extended interview process were doubting Emerys judgment after Trestman was the choice.
Judging Emery by a press conference session was as useful as evaluating a Presidency by the inaugural address.
Forte has the most to gain?
Trestman was hired for his abilities to structure an offense, which says quarterbacks. But far from just that position.
The early guess on the Bears who will prosper most under Trestman isnt Cutler. The latter may finally become a franchise quarterback (which is far from the same thing as the franchises best quarterback).
It will be Matt Forte, and not so much as a runner but rather as the true all-around back he was before last season (no fewer than 51 catches from 2008-2011) and as envisioned by the Bears when they gave him 17 million guaranteed in his new deal last offseason.
Through Trestmans 14 main NFL seasons, backs (one RB, one FB as the model) in Trestmans NFL offenses consistently caught upwards of 70 passes. Three times, backfield tandems caught more than 100. Three others they topped 80.
Brandon Marshall may not completely buy into that. But if he wants to play in the postseason for the first time in his career, he should.