Spent all day Monday reaching out to every single contact I have in the NFL. All four of ’em. Why? Because I was angry, frustrated, tired of writing about a losing team…etc. I figured I could only spend so much time yelling at my cats about the Bears’ misuse of Tarik Cohen so I might as well use the energy for good. Here’s what I know.
(None of this is based on guesswork. This is stuff I was actually told.)
(1) There is a roughly .01% chance of John Fox being the coach on January 2nd 2018. Ryan Pace will hire his replacement.
(2) There was consideration given to firing John Fox after the Green Bay game but ownership/Pace don’t believe there’s a good interim option on the staff. This includes Vic Fangio who, I’m told, would not be super keen on the assignment and has turned down extension offers from the team to stay on as defensive coordinator.
(3) George McCaskey idolizes how the Giants and Steelers are run and has decided to emulate their approach. He does not want to fire a coach in-season. This does not mean he would never do it. But, honestly, emulating the Giants and Steelers is never a bad thing, folks.
(4) If Fox loses this week to the 49ers, don’t be surprised if his tenure ends Monday morning. If he loses to the Browns on Christmas Eve, he won’t coach the finale. I don’t know why so much emphasis is being put on two meaningless games against awful opponents, other than their being at home, but that’s what I was told.
(5) I asked two bigwig personnel men (and friends) to rank the following prospective openings: Browns, Bears, Giants, Bengals, Colts, Bucs. Both…both…put the Bears at the top of the list. It should be noted that they are Trubisky fans and both expressed concern about Andrew Luck returning to previous form. Any coach that believes in Trubisky is going to see the Bears as a team ripe for a quick turnaround.
(6) Quote from a source: “Ownership does not blame Ryan for the Fox hire. It made sense to everyone in the building at the time. They were all enthusiastically on board.” This confirmed to me what I’ve always been told: ownership never thrust Fox onto Pace. He wanted a coach he wouldn’t need to keep tabs on as he went through this process for the first time. It turned out to be a mistake.