The 2017 version of the Chicago Bears reminds us a lot of the 2016 version regarding the errors made and the struggle to win games. Why does it seem that the Bears can’t get their coaching right? Why does head coach John Fox need to go?
(Image courtesey of the tenyardline.com)
We have all seen this song and dance before. The Bears hire a head coach; they do ok in their first year even though they didn’t win a lot of games and then start to decline. In John Fox’s first year with the Bears, they went 6-10. That was on the heels of a 5-11 season by his predecessor, Marc Trestman. We, as fans, thought the one game improvement felt like it was a ten-game improvement. We saw hope for the future.
As Bears’ fans, we were excited.
Then came 2016 and the three-win season. The Bears seemed to regress. The truth be told, injuries hampered the team’s development and made them struggle. The Bears went through three quarterbacks, their defense suffered a lot of injuries, and they just couldn’t seem to get things right.
But then came hope for 2017 in the form of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and a lot of health on defense. The start of the season saw the team almost beat the Atlanta Falcons then beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (after falling to the Buccaneers in Week Two). Then they had more trouble until they played the struggling Baltimore Ravens. Chock up another win the next week against Carolina and things appeared to be headed in the right direction. The loss to the Saints was a close one, and the Bears did better than predicted.
But they couldn’t beat a reeling Green Bay team that was without it’s best player and playing poorly. Chicago let them get ahead and beat them in a mistake-filled game. Even after a bye week, the Bears still played an ineffective game. Why was the game full of mistakes? Because the coaching staff did not put the Bears players in a position to win. They have not coached them well enough to avoid certain traps and on the field failures.
The coaching staff is not benefiting this team.
This is evident in several ways. The biggest way that the lack of reliability and worth in the coaching staff shows itself is in how many penalties the Bears have had. If you look at the number of penalties the Bears have had this season, through their game with the Green Bay, they have 6.7 per game. That leaves them ranked 15th in the league in total penalties (from best to worst). That’s not a great position to be in.
The coaching staffs of the Bears, or any other team for that matter, have a direct impact on how a team does with penalties. The coaching staff is supposed to provide coaching for the players when they make a mistake. They are supposed to correct the mistakes the players make, but they are not doing a good job of that. The Bears keep making the same mistakes repeatedly. That is a big reason why they aren’t winning games.
Another reason why the Bears are struggling is due to the play calling. I am sure that you have heard that offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is the worst play caller in the league (the story with Jeff Dickerson’s comments can be found HERE )
When you have the worst play caller in the league, you can’t do much to score points, and the Bears have struggled with that. And maybe it’s not Loggains who is the bad guy? Maybe Fox is holding him back. Who knows but one thing’s for sure, Chicago’s offense is anemic, and it’s not doing anyone any good especially quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. It may even be hindering his development and quite possibly even ruining him for the future.
If Chicago’s upper management wants to ensure that this team is going to go in the right direction, especially at quarterback, they will need to do something about the play calling. And of course, they need to make the adjustments to help save Trubisky from further “damage.” It’s important that a newly drafted quarterback get a good start and the Bears don’t want to damage their long-term investment.
Fox and company may be damaging Trubisky right now.
Finally, you must look at some of the smaller things that eventually add up when it comes to Fox as a game manager and coach. Look at his record coming out of a bye week since being with the Bears. He is 0-3 coming out of a bye with the Bears. He started out his Chicago coaching career with a 6-10 record then went downhill from there.
Now his second season was racked with injuries and some people have chosen to give him a pass for year two. But things looked promising this year. The Bears should have done better in Fox’s third year as head coach.
Things have not panned out this year as hoped.
Fox has one year left on his contract and appears to be on his way out. The Bears may be itching to let him go and won’t want to wait for this contract to end. And coaches in the final year of their contract who are underperforming don’t typically don’t make it to that final year. So, it all likelihood, Fox and his crew will be gone at the end of this season and the Bears will be in the hunt for yet another head coach and coaching staff.
What kind of coaching staff do they need? Who would be a good fit?
We will talk about that in future articles.