In March 2017, John Fox – then the Chicago Bears’ head coach – believed the team was within striking distance of being a competitive, winning team.
The Bears were certainly competitive at points throughout the season, but ultimately lost more than they won and led Fox to be fired at season’s end. So even though the Chicago Bears went 14-34 during John Fox’s time as head coach, Fox insists the team is in a better place now than when he arrived to replace and rebuild a team left in tatters after the Marc Trestman era.
But how close are they to winning?
“With about six or seven personnel decisions, I think that’s kind of where they are,” Fox said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Fox reflected on his time as Bears coach, offered up some thoughts on his future, and dished on Mitch Trubisky while at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The 63-year-old has spent the last 16 years as a head coach for the Bears, Broncos, and Panthers, but is in a transitional phase of his career.
All the head coaching and defensive coordinator positions are currently filled, but Fox doesn’t have to coach. Fox told reporters he has an interest in a front office role, which could make a ton of sense after seeing how Tom Coughlin slid into a front office position in Jacksonville. Coughlin’s addition to the Jaguars’ power structure has helped build credibility and respectability while pushing the team to the cusp of Super Bowl contention.
Fox is also entertaining the idea of jumping into the media world as a television analyst, which would be an interesting twist after watching three years of non-answers at press conferences in Chicago.
So where did it all go wrong for Fox, who engineered second-year turnarounds with the Panthers and Broncos? Surprisingly, Fox delivered a surprisingly candid answer.
“There was a guy in Philadelphia that said it best: ‘Coach, the [Eagles staff] here came in and they took Carson Wentz in their first year. You guys took Mitch Trubisky in your third year,'” Fox said. “I think that kind of defines it.”
So while Fox wishes he could have saw it through to the end, it’s almost as if he wishes Bears GM Ryan Pace’s decision to wait on drafting a quarterback would have come in Year 1 and not Year 3. Having to develop a rookie quarterback with Trubisky’s limited experience in an important year really put Fox behind the 8-ball. In the end, the inability to win while developing a rookie signal caller ultimately cost Fox his job.
Fox didn’t see himself as a bridge coach, but as it turns out that’s exactly what he was. To be fair, he did an admirable job at positioning the Bears to be better moving forward and there is some value in that, whether he would to be said about doing that in a short period of time.