In a season where losing was expected (rookie QB, offensive talent deficit, injuries, preseason projections) and even arguably desirable (better draft position), John Fox has found a way to make even our lowest expectations feel too lofty.
No, I don’t think anyone in their right mind expected the Bears (3-8) to beat the Eagles (10-1) yesterday, let alone in Philadelphia, but the way they lost that game certainly stuck out like a popcorn kernel ceaselessly poking into your gums.
The Bears showed absolutely no signs of life (0 first-half first downs (more on this a little later)), a complete lack of discipline (nine penalties), and some of the same old bad patterns (uninspired play calling, questionable personnel usage, another missed field goal) we’ve seen all season. On top of that, the beacon of light at the end of the tunnel, Mitch Trubisky, played his poorest game with just a 51.5% completion rate and two interceptions.
So, now, the calls for John Fox’s badge and gun have grown louder than ever before, and seemingly everyone is on board.
At WGN, Adam Hoge does a nice job of not only laying out the reasons to part with Head Coach John Fox, but also why it should be done right now. Among the more interesting bits, Hoge suggests that a change might help Trubisky gain some much-needed confidence down the stretch. Here’s the logic: by replacing Fox with Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio – in the interim – the Bears would enter the final leg of the season with absolutely nothing to lose. And with that in mind, Fangio and Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains could “let it loose” with Trubisky, allowing him to flash his raw talent against fairly beatable defenses. Even if the team winds up falling short in the won/loss column, the boost to Trubisky’s ego might prove a worthy cause.
On top of that, of course, firing Fox now would give the front office a head start to find his replacement. There’s only so much you can actively do mid-season, but creating and finalizing a short list of realistic targets can’t be done soon enough (don’t worry, Jim Harbaugh’s name can always be added after the fact). Hoge warns that firing a head coach should not just be about making a change for change’s sake – it needs to be constructive, but in this case it would be.
As you can probably imagine, Fox has heard the rumblings (he does have ears), he just isn’t interested in the rumors. When asked why he thinks he and his staff are best suited for Trubisky’s development, he responded questionably (via Chicago Sun Times): “You don’t come into this job, whether it’s as a player or as a coach, with questions about your job security. Frankly, I don’t give a rip. That’s not why I do this.”
Okay, sure. No one wants their head coach to be worried about his job security, because it might negatively influence his decisions on the field, but that’s really missing the point, isn’t it? Fox doesn’t seem to understand that we’d all be OK with the team’s record if there were signs of growth and development. In fact, that might even be preferred. Developing Trubisky in these games should be Fox’s number one priority, but as the reverse on second-and-10 from the Eagles’ 22 in the 3rd quarter metaphorically demonstrated, it is not. Fox is clearly still trying to *win* these games at any cost and his post-game explanations continue to ring wholly tone deaf.
— Mike Schaefer (@MikeSchaefer14) November 26, 2017
The Bears need a change at head coach. Everyone knows that, and it can’t come soon enough. The question now, of course, is when GM Ryan Pace will pull the trigger.