John Fox will lead the Bears one more time, tomorrow, in Minneapolis. These will be my final thoughts on the Fox tenure.
(1) People need to stop revisiting how and why Fox was hired. There was no conspiracy. Ownership did not inflict Fox upon Ryan Pace. It was a simple process.
- When the Bears hired Pace, Ernie Accorsi and ownership believed it would be wise to pair the young GM with a veteran head coach. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
- Accorsi had known John Fox for thirty years so the coach’s surprising availability was an ideal match.
- Accorsi and ownership asked Pace to meet Fox.
- Pace met him. For a long time.
- Pace decided to hire him. If Pace had called ownership and said no, Fox would not have been hired. Did ownership clearly want him to make this decision? Yes. Did Pace feel pressured to make it? I’ve been told by someone who really knows that Pace didn’t need pressure. He liked Fox a lot.
Everybody. Was. On. Board.
(2) Fox took over the worst defense in the history of the Chicago Bears. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact. And today that unit is ranked 8th in the NFL, even while suffering a series of debilitating injuries and playing half the season with no pass rushers. There are a lot of factors why but the John Fox is leaving the Bears in far better shape than he found them.
(3) I will forever go back to the decision to start Mike Glennon. John Fox should have acknowledged what was obvious to all on day one in Bourbonnais and said, “Listen, we’re going with Trubisky. There are going to be highs. There are going to be lows. But by the end of this season Bears fans are going to know we’re headed in the right direction because this kid is a franchise quarterback.” If he and the organization had made that decision this summer, I truly believe he’d be the head coach in 2018. But the Bears found themselves in an unwinnable situation by mid-season. If you don’t give a rookie QB first-team reps until Week 5 and need him to win games to save your job, that just ain’t gonna happen.
(4) It didn’t work out. It happens. But remember, Fox had only one season prior to coming to Chicago where he won less than seven games and that was his nightmare final year in Carolina. You can argue that Fox’s career numbers are overrated due to the Peyton Manning years but Fox’s floor was always mediocrity. He never even achieved that here.