- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune reports this nugget:
“[New Bears head coach John] Fox asserted Monday that one of his biggest attractions to the Bears job was to work for a storied franchise in a city that oozes football passion. And in that vein, he made it clear he intends to soon connect with several Bears icons, singling out Brian Urlacher and Mike Ditka.”
“Said team President Ted Phillips: ‘It says that he understands our history and the tradition and making sure the great players that we’ve had in our past are still important today.'”
Yeah. What it says is that he’s smart enough to know what ownership wants to hear.
“Fox also took note of the franchise’s lone Lombardi Trophy, displayed in the Halas Hall lobby to commemorate the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl triumph.
“‘That trophy,’ Fox said, ‘is kind of lonely out there.'”
Its notable that George McCaskey actually uses that very phrase to describe the trophy when he takes people on personal tours of the facility.
The McCaskeys take the history of the franchise very seriously and they were pretty close to Urlacher. They probably weren’t happy that Emery managed to anger Urlacher in the way the franchise parted company with him.
- Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune comments on another thing that Fox said that caught my ear:
“‘Football is a combative, physical game,’ new Bears coach John Fox offered in his plain-spoken manner. ‘It takes combative, physical people.’
“Party’s over. Get tough or get out.”
That fits with what we’ve heard. Looks like the Bears are going to be a lot more physical if Fox has anything to say about it.
- With the hiring of Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator, the media has begun speculating about what personnel changes will be needed to run a 3-4 defense. This article from Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune is typical. The Bears don’t’ have much in the way of personnel that match up with a 3-4 scheme. But, as Biggs points out, they needed a lot of defensive personnel anyway. Nevertheless, they’ll be throwing away a number of good defensive linemen like Jared Allen that don’t fit the scheme well. This could lengthen the rebuilding process quite a bit. It will be interesting to hear what the players have to say about the change.Having said that, Fangio has shown himself to be versatile and virtually everyone agrees that even under the best of conditions he’d run a hybrid defense which shows its fair share of 40 fronts. They cold simply run a lot more of those looks the first couple years as they make the necessary personnel changes. That would be my guess as to what we’re in store for.
- Via Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times the Bears have hired Josh Lucas as Director of Player Personnel. Lucas spent the last 10 seasons with the Saints, scouting the South region for the last two seasons.I hate to once again be the voice of pessimism here but Pace is going to have to look outside the New Orleans organization at some point to get the best people. He’s worked for one organization his whole career. I’d sure feel better about him if I thought he was better connected.
My understanding is that consultant Ernie Accorsi‘s job was over when Fox was hired. I’d feel better if he was still around advising Pace.
- The Bears new special teams coordinator is Jeff Rogers. Which probably means nothing to you at this point other than his name isn’t Joe DeCamillis. Via Mullin.
- The Colts can only block the Bears from interviewing Rob Chudzinski for one more week. Via Darin Gantt at profootballtalk.com
- Those of you who are considering betting on the Super Bowl should think about this tidbit from Kevin Seifert at ESPN:
“There is one initial tidbit to consider in advance of a Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl, which will be refereed by Bill Vinovich. (That’s according to multiple reports, including one from ESPN rules analyst Jim Daopoulos.) Since Vinovich returned to the referee role in 2012 after recovering from heart problems, he has been assigned five Seahawks games. Seattle is 5-0 in those games, including three victories by at least 20 points. “
- I felt really bad for the Packers defense after their overtime playoff loss to the Seahawks. The Packers flat out outplayed Seattle for 56 minutes of regulation time and the Packer defense in particular played testicles out. They were all in, playing cover-0 for a good part of the game.I actually had the Packers picked to win. I’d heard that the Seahawks were “loose” last week to the point where you wouldn’t even have known they had a conference championship game coming up. They took the Packers lightly and, even though they lost, the Packers gave them all they could handle. The game was a joy to watch.
- Michael David Smith at profootballtalk.com passes on the news that Tony Verna, inventor of instant replay, has died:
“It wasn’t easy. Verna told the Pacific Standard in 2013 that prior to that 1963 Army-Navy Game, networks needed about 15 minutes to cue up a film and show a play for a second time. To do it in 15 seconds required an innovative approach that featured some fits and starts and setbacks including vacuum tubes burning out and a replay having to be scrapped because the film they used had previously been used to record an I Love Lucy episode and Lucille Ball’s face could still be seen superimposed over the football field.
Needless to say it wasn’t posted to the Internet.
One Final Thought
Wiederer quotes Fox:
“I’ve always been of the (mindset) of understate, overproduce. I’ve never predicted records. If I could do that I’d be at a race track somewhere.”
I’d say that’s the smart play. You could argue that high expectations – those of the fans, media and, especially, the players, were the biggest thing that killed the 2014 Bears. Remember “Cutler for MVP?”. It was a joke.
I think expecting to win is a good thing. But there are too many factors that can derail a team that isn’t as good as it thinks it is to allow such things to get out of hand. The Bears had a Super Bowl or bust mentality last year that was, in retrospect, only appropriate for the Super Bowl runner up. They hadn’t done anything, yet.