When John Fox was hired by the Chicago Bears, he knew they weren’t an easy fix. However, I don’t think he had any idea just how big of a rebuilding job he’d have to go through. Considering how difficult it may be for the team to pick up wins early in the season, the veteran head coach might not even last until the season’s halfway mark.
The Bears, a 3-13 team last season with the options of rookie Mitch Trubisky and unimpressive Mike Glennon at quarterback to open the post-Jay Cutler era, start the season with games against NFC champions Atlanta Falcons, at improving Tampa Bay Buccaneers, home against the talented Pittsburgh Steelers and away against the Green Bay Packers, their big rivals who they’ve beaten just twice in the last 6 seasons.
That’s one hell of a starting month. The Bears do like how their younger players are looking, especially Jordan Howard and their receiver trio of Jordan Meredith, Kevin White and Victor Cruz. But there are a lot of unknowns on defense and the usual culprit, the team’s ever shaky offensive line, for anyone to feel confident about the Bears beginning to turn things around this season.
If the Bears do start the season at 0-4, don’t be surprised if the pressure mounts on Fox, even if the front office knows he’s coaching a team that’s not built to compete for a playoff spot this season. Missing out on the postseason since 2010 has made decision makers a lot less patient than a team in this situation needs to be. They’re playing in a city with a very tough crowd, that usually doesn’t give the Bears or any of its teams when they don’t do well the benefit of the doubt.
Lovie Smith only made the playoffs 3 times in 9 seasons, but considering everything that’s happened since he left, Bears fans are thinking about the days of him calling the shots on the sidelines. During his good years and of course under Ditka’s Bears, the team dominated when their defense was one of the best in the league. The Bears have struggled in rebuilding their D over the last few years after Brian Urlacher and the rest of the gang left or retired. Maybe when that end of the field is taken care of, we’ll finally see a winning Chicago NFL team.
Fox has 15 NFL coaching seasons behind him. He’s 128-112 overall and 9-23 since taking the Bears job. He has coached two losing sides at the Super Bowl: The Carolina Panthers after the 2003 season and the Denver Broncos after 2013. He has been to the playoffs 7 times as a coach.