Predictions are a funny thing.

Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they’re wrong. But, always, they’re guesses.

Sure, sometimes, they’re educated guesses. Like the ones from the so-called “experts” in every industry.

The bottom line is they’re guesses. We shouldn’t take them to heart.

Which brings us to the Chicago Bears.

Most experts have them pegged for third or fourth in division. And, quite frankly, who could argue with that?

The last few seasons, the Bears have jumped out of the gate, only to falter down the stretch.

They’ve had one of the worst offensive lines in the game, and the offense as a whole has been rocky at best.

And, rocky is probably being kind.

Now, the Bears have brought in Marc Trestman to take over for Lovie Smith as coach.

They’ve rebuilt the offensive line, but the skill players have on offense remains mostly the same.

In other words, we’re going to find out if the Bears’ problems started with the line or if they went deeper than that.

The ultimate unknown is Trestman. This is his first NFL head coaching job, and he hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2004, when he was with the Dolphins.

That’s nearly a decade. That’s an eternity in NFL years. The game has changed quite a bit since then.

But, he’s supposedly a quarterback genius, and the Bears are strong at that position with Jay Cutler.

Cutler has all the talent in the world, but hasn’t had a solid offensive coach since he came to Chicago.

Once again, we’re going to find out a lot about Cutler in the coming months.

But, for now, we have no idea what to expect.

In the past couple of days, stories have surfaced that the Bears have been messing with the read-option.

Say what?

I’m no football coach, but that sounds like a bad idea. Cutler is a mobile quarterback, but I thought the idea was to get him hit less, not more.

Trestman seems like a good offensive coach, so I don’t think we’re going to see Cutler doing his best Robert Griffin III impression anytime soon.

But, like I said, we have no idea.

That’s what makes me so interested in this team. Dare I say it, but I think this Bears team could surprise some folks this season.

They have the weapons in Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. And, I think the Bears are going to have one of the big breakout players in the league this year in receiver Alshon Jeffery.

The defense will miss Brain Urlacher’s leadership, there’s no doubt about that. But, as a unit, they’re going to be fine. I don’t worry about that side of the ball.

If the Bears can put up some points, and keep Cutler from running for his life, this team is going to be dangerous.

The Bears won 10 games last season, and just missed the playoffs. Remember that, folks.

This is isn’t a rebuilding project by any means.

The talent is there. We just have to find out if the right coach is in place.

It could make a world of difference.

TOM ENGLISH is sports copy editor for The Southern Illinoisan. He can be reached at tom.english@thesouthern.com or at 618-529-5454, ext. 5177.

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