John Fox has officially been named the new head coach of the Chicago Bears, according to team officials on Friday.
He is now the 15th head coach in Bears franchise history following Marc Trestman, who was fired after just two seasons in charge. Fox becomes the first head coach since George Halas stepped down in 1967 to come to the team with previous head coaching experience.
Fox’s deal is a four-year contract, per Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer. He will be introduced to the media in a press conference on Monday at 11 AM CT at Halas Hall.
A salary of $5-5.5 million per season doesn’t seem out of the question for Fox, who has served as a head coach the past 13 seasons, compiling an 119-89 record.
General manager Ryan Pace has been in Denver meeting with Fox since Thursday night working out a deal as the two sides were in “deep negotiations.”
Fox was at Halas Hall on Wednesday just two days after being “relieved of his duties” by the Broncos. He was the head coach of the Panthers from 2002-2010 and of the Broncos from 2011-2014 appearing in two Super Bowls in that span.
Fox led the Panthers to an NFC Conference title in 2003, his second season there and an AFC Conference title the Broncos in 2013. He also won six division titles along the way. Outside a 2-14 finish in 2010, Fox’s team’s have never lost more than nine games in a season.
The Bears have been out of the postseason the past four seasons while Fox led his former Denver team to a 46-18 record and four AFC West division titles.
Fox is only the second head coach in the history of the NFL to win four straight division titles since joining a new team.
One thing is for sure Fox will bring a hard-nosed running attack and solid defensive production on top of his fiery coaching style
Prior to joining the head coaching ranks Fox was a defensive coordinator for seven years, with the Raiders from 1994-1995 and with the Giants from 1997-2001.
As a head coach, his defenses ranked in the top 10 in passing yards allowed seven times, including two of three last seasons finishing No. 2 in that category.
In terms of points allowed, his teams ended up in the top 10 six times, most previously ranked No. 4 in 2012. Also, eight times in the top 15 in takeaways.
His run defenses have been just as solid. Fox guided them to five top 10 finishes in attempts and yards allowed including a No. 1 ranking in attempts in 2014. Also, seven top 10 finishes in passing yards allowed.
Fox didn’t rank worse than 18th outside of 2013, when the Broncos ranked 27th with a very bad defense.
His coaching style should suit the Bears well as he isn’t afraid to give his players advice when things are going good or bad. He also isn’t scared to give the referees his two cents something that has been absent with Trestman the last two seasons and Lovie Smith the previous nine.
Fox has challenged 115 plays winning 42 of them in his time as head coach while Smith won 31 of 80 in his tenure in Chicago. Trestman threw the red flag just seven times winning four in his short time.
“He’s a passionate guy. He wasn’t afraid to praise you and he wasn’t afraid to rip you if he needed to,” former Panther Jordan Gross said via the Chicago Tribune. “I always appreciated both sides of that equation out of him, because I think a good coach can be your buddy at times but he needs to tell you when you’re being an idiot. And he was happy to do both of those things.”
That passion should find its way throughout the entire organization that lacked any sense of leadership throughout last season. Fox holds his players accountable and that should bode well for the Bears moving forward.
The John Fox-Bears pairing makes a lot of sense despite his most recent departure from Denver. He will bring the Bears back to playing tough defense and running the ball early and often.
Pace said in his introduction press conference last Friday something that certainly sounds a lot like Fox’s coaching style.
“To win in (Chicago), you’ve got to be able to run the ball. You’ve got to play tough defense. We’re going to get back to that.”
Fox is the best option for the Bears and it’s a move that could pay off in many ways for this disappointing team that finished 5-11 this season.
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