The Chicago Bears are at an organizational crossroads.
Head Coach John Fox is 12-29 since arriving in Chicago and has failed to live up to the reputation of being the leader of a team’s on-the-field turnaround. Fox is winding down the third year of a four-year deal and it’s questionable whether or not that switch will be flipped and the Bears will escape the NFC North cellar, let alone contend for anything of significance. And after three years in charge, it’s fair to ask if change is necessary to get this team beyond this level of its rebuilding stage.
Even though Pace was ultimately responsible for hiring Fox, he didn’t have complete command of the process. If you’ll recall, the Bears hired Ernie Accorsi as an adviser to aid their head coach and GM search, then interviewed a handful of coaching candidates before hiring Fox. Chicago began the process of finding Marc Trestman’s replacement in late December 2014 when they asked the Denver Broncos for an opportunity to interview Adam Gase. And on the same day Pace’s hiring was announced, he interviewed Todd Bowles.
Process matters in the NFL and cluttered processes can sometimes lead to undesired results. If Pace decided to move on from Fox, he would have full control of the process, timeline, and ultimately, the final decision for what he wants for the future of potential franchise quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
As it turns out, recent history offers up some examples of a second coaching hire being exactly what the doctor ordered.
Sean McVay is the second coach of the Les Snead regime with the Rams. McVay is technically Snead’s first hire because Jeff Fisher was hired in St. Louis one month before the team hired Snead to be its GM, but he technically still falls into this category. The No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft Jared Goff has seen his career revitalized working with McVay and the Rams are off to a 7-2 start. Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons is GM Thomas Dimitroff’s second coach during his run as the lead executive. That both of Dimitroff’s coaches have made the playoffs says a lot about the GM’s ability to scout, draft, and develop winning talent. Jack Del Rio is the second coach hired by Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, whose first hire (Dennis Allen) lasted just three seasons.
This isn’t to say Pace isn’t without fault in the Bears’ .293 winning percentage since the start of 2015, but if the Bears organization decides to cut their losses and let go of Fox, they shouldn’t go far to find the person in charge of unearthing his replacement.