John Fox thinks Bears are “closer than people think”

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At a time when a two-year mark of 15-16 wasn’t good enough to get Rex Ryan a third year in Buffalo, John Fox presumes that 9-22 will provide him with a chance to show that the third time will be a charm in Chicago.

I think we’re closer than people think,” Fox said after the latest loss for the Bears, via the Chicago Tribune. “Sometimes when you come into a situation, you take some steps back before you step forward. I think we’re, in my opinion, in way better position to be in striking distance moving forward.”

With a record of 3-12, the Bears technically can be “closer than people think” but still too far away from contention to matter. The question becomes whether ownership will remain patient with Fox, whose reputation for a second-year bump (see Carolina in 2003 and Denver in 2012) was turned upside down in Chicago.

The Bears will enter the offseason farther away than they were a year ago, when a week or two of potential contention faded to a 6-10 finish. After 2015, the Bears believed that quarterback Jay Cutler had turned the corner. Now, the Bears will be turning over stones to determine who the quarterback will be in 2016. And if it’s Matt Barkley, well, come on. He has played better than expected. Then again, nothing was expected.

The Bears have a few bright spots, but no one will be predicting a Chicago return to relevance in 2017. It doesn’t mean they won’t surprise people if they stay the course. And it doesn’t mean they aren’t “closer than people think.” Primarily because people think the Bears are as far away as they’ve ever been.

22 responses to “John Fox thinks Bears are “closer than people think”

  1. Hmmm….They have been in a free fall for the past few years. The common denominator in all of this is Jay Cutler. Some moments of brilliance, but lacks leadership and consistency. He is Ryan Tannehill with more NFL experience. Can’t see him being resigned and with a new QB, the learning curve for the team starts all over again.

    John Fox is a good coach if the team is mediocre/good that he is inheriting. He built the Panthers into a solid team back in the day and won the Peyton Manning sweepstakes in Denver, but the Bears job is entirely different. Minus their rookie running back (Jordan Howard), the roster is not that good. Way too many square pegs in round holes in their defense and offensively, Alshon Jeffrey is not as elite a people think.

    John Fox’s assertion that the Bears are on the cusp of something great seems like a Hail Mary to ownership to say “Please don’t fire me!”

  2. Bleh. Whether or not Fox is replaced this offseason (my suspicion is he stays), I see a long slow slog ahead for the Bears. This is not a situation like the Cowboys where they are positioned to go from bad to really good in one season. The Cowboys had a lot of talent last year already but were just missing a catalyst (who came in the form of Dak Prescott). The Bears need a QB but also a whole new secondary, at least one more difference maker in the front 7 and a legit TE. They also have a potentially huge hole at WR if Alshon Jeffery moves on. That’s a tall order for one offseason. There is also clearly culture work yet to do as seen in the several games they could have won this year but found ways to lose.

    So when Fox says “close” what I think he really means is getting back to 6 or 7 wins next season and 9-7 with an outside chance at a wildcard in 2018. That’s a slower turnaround than I as a fan personally want to see but the McCaskeys have a lot more patience than the average fan and their perspective is ultimately the only one that matters.

  3. The sports media in Chicago haven’t come out and said he will be fired, but that doesn’t surprise me.
    They almost never break stories.
    Let me tell you that the Mccasky family doesn’t like to see 20,000 no shows for any game.
    Fox will be fired at the end of this football season.
    His record is worse than Trestman’s.
    Pace should be kept.

  4. you forgot the end of this sentence. It should be john fox thinks bears are “closer than people think to firing me”.

  5. Matt Barkley has been terrible. Just because there were no expectations for a 3rd stringer doesn’t mean more INTs than TDs and a completion % under 60 are even decent in 2016. He’s been better than Ryan Fitzpatrick and some guys who won’t be on rosters next year. That’s about it.

  6. While the team has clearly gone downhill across the board, two things are clear.

    One, the defense isn’t as bad as it was during the last administration. It has been better. But, it’s very thin on talent as the injuries have shown. In short, it’s not a solid group. Watching Tracy Porter Saturday finally get outed proves a big point as he was seen as a big improvement to the DBs. Yet, Washington beat him up and down and across because they ‘targeted’ him, which will now happen every week. Porter played so bad you could say he was the reason they lost, but I have to add the QB as a reason too. It’s very hard to win with very bad players starting. It’s bad for morale as well. With guys like #12 and then Porter starting you begin the game in the hole. The left OT is in there as well.

    Finally, Fox must be consulting a wordsmith or something. Over the season, it seems at every post game presser, he comes up with a nice, safe, euphuism to describe the Bears lackluster or bad play. He ran with ‘key injuries’ for awhile, then switched over to ‘new players starting to blend in’ then the classic ones when losing has taken over such as ‘we displayed a fighting spirit, we never quit, I’m proud to coach these guys’ to the more resigned of late ‘we’re almost there, we’re better than we were and or people expect us to be’ as if saying that ‘if you give me another season, I’ll give you guys another one like this’. Fox has to be able to point to positives, to major changes, he’s made. Things that show, or prove really, that he has actually set the Bears in the right direction. Maybe the problem is the combination of him and the GM not being able to set goals and then identify players to round out the team to reach them. As noted, if their idea of a good addition is Porter, who was so bad the Skins basically ran him out of town before he was signed here, and who is over the hill then you have to wonder if they can be trusted with the keys to the team. Porter has a history with the GM. And so on. The last coach, and the GM, were run out of town with a better record than Pace/Fox have. Then, the team was clearly dysfunctional and had broken down. Pace/Fox aren’t at that level, but have traded team peace for quality it seems. The question is, do they stay on if this is the best they can do?.

  7. Here is one Packers fan who agrees with him. I think the bears are playing pretty good football for a 3-12 team.

    The D plays hard. The O can move the ball.

    The need pieces added to the roster but Fox has done a good job IMO. If they can get a decent QB, ever, that could change the fortunes of the team. Maybe they try to get Romo so he can go to his childhood favorite team?

    Not many good QBs coming out this year so hard to think they’ll land a good one in the draft, but you never know.

    Fox is the 2nd best coach in the division. That’s a good place to start.

  8. the big issue is the no-shows. The family runs this as a business (rather than a billionaire’s hobby) and no shows buy no beer and don’t pay to park. He will get one more year but the label is “dead man walking.”

    The worst issue is all the good players have been run off the team. The payroll is way down but so are the wins.

  9. Not many good QBs coming out this year so hard to think they’ll land a good one in the draft, but you never know.
    Buzz is starting to build that Jimmy Garappolo might be had from the Patriots for a high 2nd-rounder and another lower round pick. Teams who trade with the Patriots usually come up on the short end but there some interesting tie-ins with Ryan Pace that make me think a deal like that isn’t the most unlikely thing that could happen.

  10. He’s not wrong…
    They’ve got a decent front seven, could use some DBs thou.
    They’ve got a great interior Oline (Josh, Cody and Kyle), they just need some tackles.

    They also need a QB and some WRs, along w/a TE that isn’t 50 years old.

  11. Bears need more than anything else a strength and conditioning coach. Way too many injuries to just be bad luck. After that they definitely have some young pieces in place to build on. Regardless of which of the replacement level QBs they keep. No reason they can’t be 8-8 or 9-7 next season.

  12. to bears5683

    What team were you watching this year? DBs, safeties and LBs all need to be much better and no one on the team can catch a ball, regardless of who throws it.

    You don’t win even half your games in the NFL with that many issues.

  13. All the Bears need is 3 players.

    A 21 year old Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Joe Montana. (with their complete knowledge of the game when they retired)

    A 21 year old Jerry Rice (with a knowledge of the game that he had at 35)

    A 21 year old Lawrence Taylor (minus the drugs, and with the knowledge of the game he had at 32)

  14. I’m no fan of Fox. Never have been. There was a reason Elway sent him packing and they won a Superbowl a season after he left. Wish he would be sent shipping but I suspect he will be staying another season at least.

    Bears need a QB for sure but that position should not be sought after at the expense of other deficiencies they have on the team. Meaning don’t give away draft picks to get a QB. Take time to develop one. I know this will piss off the Cutler haters. but smart thing would be to keep a cheap Cutler around for at least another season while trying to develop someone else. I don’t think Barkley is the answer. Seems too similar to Cutler in decision making without the arm Cutler has. Hoyer might become too expensive to keep but maybe keeping him over Cutler might be an option. I keep hoping Cutler would string a few good games together to make him valuable enough to some other team ala Vikings/Bradford this past year.

    Bears need a couple of OTs, DBs and a real playmaker in the front 7. Maybe Floyd develops into an answer there. Worried about all his concussions.

  15. Can’t forget WR either, as others have said, if Jeffrey goes, this is a sorry team for WRs. And TE, jeez, there no end to the talent that is missing from this team.

  16. Lets see:
    -no QB,
    -no WR’s, Jeffrey will not be back, White is a bust, Royal is always injured, the rest are are #4 receivers at best.
    -no TE,
    -1 RB
    – DL, the rest are good backups
    -Decent LB’s
    -no DB’s
    and to top it off—da Bears fail in most drafts….
    Yep closer to the Cleveland than NE.

  17. This from the coach and staff who did their level best to keep Jordan Howard on the bench, but had to play him because of injuries.

    Gimme a break. Fox has shown nothing except that he can’t properly manage penalties or the clock. Bears are going exactly nowhere, get this guy outta here. We can’t fall off the floor.

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