Five years ago the Chicago Bears fired a head coach because they deemed 10 wins in 16 games that season were not enough. Through 30 games of his Bears tenure, John Fox has 12 wins.
On October 16th 2016 this space advocated for the firing of Fox for many valid reasons. But primary among them was the Bears seemed ready to move into a new era – with a new, young quarterback – and Fox was clearly not the man to usher the organization through that era. It wasn’t so much an indictment of Fox’s job performance as a recognition that he’d done his part to bring the Bears back to respectability post-Argonaut and the time had now come to transition from respectable to competitive.
That was 2016. This is 2017. And now it’s ENTIRELY about job performance. Because the Bears are a terrible football team.
Is it worth going through the litany of things wrong with John Fox’s approach to game day football? No. We’ve been talking about the lack of preparedness and penalties and awful mismanagement every day over the three years he’s run the show in Chicago. But the deal breaker for the organization has to be that for the first time Fox has young offensive talent to work with and develop and he, as well as offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, are squandering that opportunity on a weekly basis.
Mitch Trubisky is being relegated to an old school, drop deep and survey the field offense that neither fits his skill set nor helps him adjust to the NFL. Twelve games through the season, the Bears have relegated their most explosive offensive player, Tarik Cohen, to a gimmick back. Adam Shaheen. One target. One. One.
Sunday night I received a text from a friend, a high ranking pro personnel guy with a different NFC team. Sunday, he was in Philadelphia. He texted me this: “This Bears offense is the easiest to defend in the league. And there’s no close second.”
Fox must go. Today. Otherwise the Bears and their fans will have to wall in the mud-laden slop that has become the 2017 campaign for the next five weeks as any hope for the 2018 turnaround drifts further and further away. Firing Fox won’t fill Soldier Field against the Niners or the Browns. Giving away $100 bills at the gate wouldn’t do that. But despite the belief that firing a coach in-season achieves nothing, firing Fox would achieve three important goals.
- It would allow the Bears to effectively turn the page on 2017. Fans will be more willing to accept the coming results if they know a new coach and philosophy are ’round the bend.
- It would send a message to the fan base that ownership will not tolerate performances like the Bears have given two of the last three weeks. Yes, it’s common knowledge George McCaskey does not want to fire a coach in-season. That’s why doing so today could have such a remarkable impact.
- It allows the Bears to take the lead in finding his replacement and they should start that process by flying to Stanford and gauging David Shaw’s interest in returning to the NFL.
Fans would love to get angry about the 2017 Bears but, unfortunately, they don’t care enough to express that level of emotion. And as long as John Fox remains the head coach the fan base will remain apathetic to his team’s results. If Fox isn’t removed before the Bears face the 49ers Sunday, it’s an insult to everyone following this team.