Under head coach John Fox, the Bears never made the playoffs once.
However, the season’s felt longer than ever because of the struggles and lack of consistency. Watching Fox’s Bears was like tuning into a re-run of a bad soap opera.
On Monday morning, the team announced that Fox had been fired after three seasons at the helm. The veteran NFL head coach finished with a 14-34 record with the Bears, the second-worst mark in franchise history behind only Abe Gibron.
This move was inevitable with one season left on a four-year pact that Fox signed in 2015 alongside general manager Ryan Pace.
A young and gifted rookie general manager in Pace paired with a longtime coach in Fox made sense from management’s eyes. But it was fishy to me when Fox was hired. He was fresh off a 12-4 season in Denver and two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. The Broncos disposed of a “winning” head coach.
Here’s the problem. The Bears thought Fox was the guy to lead a revamped group of players. It didn’t work out well. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains struggled to put together a successful playbook and injuries and personnel changes piled up.
One of the few coaches that made an impression on everyone was defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. It remains to be seen what happens with him, but if I’m the Bears, I’m doing everything in my power to keep him and secondary coach Ed Donatell. The Bears’ defense kept them in a lot of games over the last three seasons.
I’m sure this message resonates all around the Bears’ locker room.
Leonard Floyd on Vic Fangio:
“He’s just an overall great coach and great person.”
Would he want him to come back?
“Oh yeah, most definitely. But that’s just me. I don’t really run nothing much in the building. But that’s a great guy. I love him to death.”
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) January 1, 2018
This tweet below from Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer is one of many ugly stats that sum up Fox’s tenure.
Bears go an entire season without a win in their division for the first time since 1969.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) December 31, 2017
In every press conference when a team hires a new head coach or general manager, the main goal and objective declared is about winning divisional games. Fox won just three games against the NFC North while losing 15 in total. That is abysmal.
The Bears were not an organized team under Marc Trestman either from 2013-14, but with Fox, you knew things weren’t going to go well. He was predictable, bad at challenging plays and beyond conservative.
In the 98-year history of the Bears, this is the first time they’ve gone through 2 coaches in only 5 seasons.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) January 1, 2018
Offense is the direction this team needs to focus on. Mitch Trubisky is the future alongside running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. It remains to be seen what changes are made along the offensive line or if second round tight end Adam Shaheen gets it all together.
Finding an offensive-minded coach to bring the best out of Trubisky is the key to Pace and the Bears’ success. Wide receivers need to be added as Cameron Meredith, Kevin White, Dontrelle Inman, Kendall Wright and Joshua Bellamy can’t be counted upon as field stretchers.
The Bears are better off today without Fox as the head coach. Pace can finally get his guy, perhaps a young and upcoming coach who can lead the team for quite some time.
Quick turnarounds can happen in the NFL with proper aggressiveness and changes, just look at the Los Angeles Rams.
Fox is gone and the Bears players are sad to see him go. He is a good guy, but he is not a disciplinary coach. He doesn’t hold his players accountable and he isn’t a person to lead a rebuild.
The Bears have some time to find that guy. I know Pace has been working hard over the last few months behind the scenes to pinpoint a few candidates he likes.
Here’s one possibility already. Wilks was the Bears defensive backs coach from 2006-2008.
News— busy morning for Panthers DC Steve Wilks. The @ChicagoBears @Colts and @Lions have all requested to interview him for their vacant HC jobs. Wilks can’t interview until after Wildcard game is over Sunday evening. @gmfb @NFLonFOX @nflnetwork
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) January 1, 2018
Pace will speak later at Halas Hall around 4 p.m. CT. I’m sure he will get hit with a lot of hard questions and say nothing but nice things about Fox.
The reality is that Fox knew that his fate was sealed this past week. Reports from both NFL Network and ESPN said that Fox would be fired after the finale in Minnesota. After Fox walked out following two questions regarding his job in Sunday’s press conference, he basically answered the looming question for us.
Fans want success and the Bears can’t afford losing anymore. Ticket sales are way down and management has to put a winning product together to compete with the likes of the Cubs and Blackhawks.
The future is brighter right now with a new leader set to take over the sidelines in Chicago.