In Defense of John Fox

The easiest thing to do as the Bears wrap up what is currently a three win season is to call for a new head coach.  Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune has basically been making his living doing it for weeks.  Here’s the most recent example:

[John] Fox always says this is a production-based business, but his production is worse than Rex Ryan and Jeff Fisher, two coaches who have already been fired and still have more wins than Fox.”

It’s not Rosenbloom’s job to be a balanced observer and so its not a surprise that he would constantly write such things (over and over again).

Fox is dealing with a complete tear down of the Bears roster that lacked cohesion and was full of front runners when he arrived, something that could be said of neither Ryan nor Fisher.

To a segment of the population, I’m sure this is entertaining and, after all, that’s really what Rosenbloom is there for.

But when Mike Mulligan, also at the Tribune, starts to imply that maybe replacing Fox wouldn’t be a bad thing, you sit up and take more notice.

“Belief is not a permanent state. Without it, a program is lost. So you have to establish it, nurture it and nourish it. If anyone in town still believes in Fox, well, let’s just say they’re waiting for a thunderbolt to strike.

“If the emperor isn’t entirely unclothed, he’s certainly nearing an inappropriate state of undress.”

Perhaps this makes me a fool but I still believe.

It would be totally unfair to let him Fox before he had the chance to prove that he can help build the talent back up from scratch.  But life isn’t fair and I’m not suggesting that Fox should be retained simply because he’s should be allowed to be in a better position before the decision is made.  I’m suggesting that he should be retained because he’s simply a better head coach than anyone else the Bears would possibly hope to hire.

For years this franchise labored under head coach Lovie Smith.  Smith was a good head coach and he had a knack for getting the most out of his players.  But he lacked one thing and it was a fatal flaw – he wasn’t connected enough around the league to attract a top notch coaching staff.

In fact, there were times when you wondered if Smith passed up better candidates for those who wouldn’t threaten his job if they did well.  But more likely, he was like everyone else.  He wanted friendly people that he knew and trusted like Bob Babich rather then more talented coordinators like, for instance, Ron Rivera, who he let walk away rather than re-hire after the Bears last Super Bowl run.

This is the mark of a good head coach.  He manages players but, perhaps even more important, he coaches the coaches.  Fox is much better connected around the league and, as a result, has attracted a top notch coaching staff.

Adam Gase could have gone anywhere after he failed to get a head coaching position in 2015.  He stayed with Fox.  Fox attracated the best defensive coordinator on the market in Vic Fangio along with a wonderfully talented group of assistants.

Neither Smith nor a number of other current head coaches including Gase could have put together such a staff.

Fox evidently has to make a decision on offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.  Rather than look outside after Gase left, he chose to promote a young, promising coordinator from within in the same way that he hired Gase and Mike McCoy before him.  Whether Fox keeps Loggains or lets him go, I’m history tells me he’ll make the right decision.  And if he lets him go, history tells that he’ll be able to attract a good candidate to replace him.

How many other franchises can say that about their head coach?

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