Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune goes over some positives for the Bears at the midpoint of the season, starting with the nice job offensive coordinator Adam Gase has done:
“The 37-year-old offensive coordinator has been as good as advertised and will remain a hot name in head coaching searches when January rolls around. To measure Gase’s biggest impact, look first at the performance and poise of quarterback Jay Cutler.”
It’s far too early to talk about losing coaches. But like most of Chicago, I recognize that he’s certainly been doing well and may deserve his shot.
But count me as one guy who is happy with one of the coaches that Wiederer didn’t mention: defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Case’s unit has helped Fangio a lot with a wonderful, ball control offense that I, for one, never thought they had the discipline or the offensive run blocking to pull off. Nevertheless, what Fangio has done with almost no talent on the defensive side of the ball is nothing less than a miracle. The Bears are currently eighth in the league in total defense and fifth in passing defense. All this with a patchwork defensive line that wasn’t very good even when healthy, one very good linebacker in Pernell McPhee, and one average corner and average safety in Kyle Fuller and Adrian Amos, respectively. It’s one of the most unbelievable things I’ve seen since I’ve been a Bears fan.
To his credit, Wiederer does point out the major force behind all of this:
“[Bears head coach John] Fox vowed from his first day on the job to build a smart and tough football team and is clearly succeeding. His skills as a motivator have been lauded across the locker room. His penchant for utilizing bright and experienced assistants has also elevated the Bears’ preparation.”
Fox has shown himself capable of attracting some of the best assistants in football, something that Lovie Smith was only marginally successful at. Smith hired people he’d worked with before whenever possible and that severely limited his choices, particularly on the offensive side. He also didn’t like coaches who disagreed with him like Ron Rivera. “Creative tension” wasn’t in his vocabulary and he ended up with a lot of “yes men” on his staffs.
Fox doesn’t have any of that. He’s gotten the best available and let them do their jobs. And the Bears have benefited and will continue to benefit. Yes, when you hire good coaches you are bound to eventually lose them. But Adam Gase or not, the Bears are set up for a bright future as long as Fox is the head coach.