Time is ticking on the John Fox era in Chicago, but the Bears head coach isn’t worried about his job status. And why would he? Fox has nearly two decades of head coaching experience and another seven years or so as an assistant.
Odds are that Fox will be unemployed only for as long as he wants to be. In fact, he could be lined up to be a head coach sooner, rather than later:
John Fox (if fired) would be a comfortable hire for #Giants. Has been here before (think Fassel, Coughlin). Has a good relationship w/media. Has rebuilt teams and reached Super Bowls.
— Kevin Manahan (@KevinCManahan) December 27, 2017
To #Bears fans in my timeline: I'm not advocating for Fox if he's fired. I'm saying he would be a "comfortable" hire by #Giants — and I tweeted that BEFORE Giants made the comfortable hire of Dave Gettleman.
Happy New Year.
— Kevin Manahan (@KevinCManahan) December 28, 2017
The New York Giants recently hired former Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman to take over that same position. Gettleman worked with the Giants from 1998-2012 serving as a scout, pro personnel director, and senior pro personnel analyst before moving on to the Panthers in 2013. That means Gettleman and Fox crossed paths while Fox was the Giants defensive coordinator from 1997 until 2001.
Then there’s Ernie Accorsi, who was hired as a consultant to the Giants before hiring Gettleman. If you’ll recall, the Bears hired Accorsi in the same role when the team hired Fox in 2015. History has a weird way of repeating itself, so I wouldn’t totally rule it out here.
- One coaching job that won’t be open in 2018 is that of the New York Jets after the team extended the contracts of Todd Bowles, as well as GM Mike Maccagnan. Ian Rapoport reports the two-year extensions will keep the duo together through 2020. The Jets were one of those teams whose coaching future was in limbo before Friday’s news, but Bowles has done a commendable job leading a team many believed had a chance to go winless in 2016. His reward for avoiding futility is a few more years of trying to turn the Jets around.
- Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com lists Mitch Trubisky as one of the handful of quarterbacks who is most in need of a new coach. Rosenthal reminds us it was Doug Pederson who said Trubisky reminds him of Carson Wentz, but the Bears will need their own Pederson to unlock Trubisky’s upside. It sure looks like Trubisky will get that in one way or another with John Fox looking like he’s on his way out. The possibility of GM Ryan Pace receiving an extension that lines up with the new coach’s contract could only help things.
- New targets would help matters for Trubisky and the Bears offense, too. Over at the Chicago Sun-Times, Mark Potash writes about what went wrong regarding free agent receiver Markus Wheaton. Wheaton is something of a posterchild for what went wrong with the Bears’ receiving corps. Injuries held him out of training camp and early season practices when he could have been building a rapport with Mike Glennon and/or Mitch Trubisky, inconsistent play (and playing time) has also left a player who was believed to be a vertical threat as nothing more than a bit player in 2017. Wheaton signed a two-year deal that included $6 million in guarantees. He could be in the mix depending on what the Bears do at the position in the offseason, but he likely won’t be expected to be the player who talked a big game in his opening press conference upon his signing.
- In that vein, Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport runs through the best player each NFL team could add in the offseason. For the Bears, it’s Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The talented Crimson Tide wideout has been on our radar for quite some time, most recently as a player who was reportedly already on the Bears’ radar. SMU’s Courtland Sutton was also believed to be on the Bears’ radar, but Davenport sees him landing with the Baltimore Ravens – who are currently projected to pick 13 spots after the Bears.
- I’m not quite fond of playing the “what-if” game because it’s a rabbit hole that can get awfully deep. But I’m digging this John Mullin piece at NBC Sports Chicago that imagines a scenario where Trubisky starts from Day 1 after beating out Mike Glennon for the starting job. I’ve written several variations of a follow up sentence, but will settle for the following: I’m glad the Bears did what they did in their attempt to find a quarterback. We learned something about Pace’s risk calculus, where Glennon was in his growth process, how Trubisky handles adversity, development, and new challenges, and that Mark Sanchez does a KILLER Jon Gruden.
- Over at CBS Chicago, Greg Gabriel highlights the positives that have come from the 2017 season despite a 5-10 record going into the season finale. Beyond standout years from rookies like Trubisky and safety Eddie Jackson, some solid contributors have stepped up. We’ve talked a lot about Kyle Fuller (he’s soooo gonna get paid) a lot lately, but Nick Kwiatkoski has had a steady year in replacing inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman and tight end Adam Shaheen has flashed enough to make a positive impression on talent evaluators.
- We probably don’t talk enough about Charles Leno Jr. as a strength on the offensive side of the ball, but he has responded well since signing a rather hefty extension prior to the season. Over at the Sun-Times, Mark Potash writes about Leno being Mr. Dependable at left tackle. Leno has played 2,834 consecutive snaps and hasn’t missed a play since the 2015 season. He won’t be mistaken for an elite left tackle, but Leno has improved as a pass and run blocker, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades. PFF ranks Leno as the seventh-highest-graded run blocking tackle and the 19th-best pass blocker. Not bad for a player who netted a $21.5 million guarantee with his preseason extension.
- Dick Enberg passed away last week and I didn’t get a chance to give him a proper send-off as one of my favorite announcers who narrated some fun times for me as a fan of baseball, football, and college basketball. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Enberg. And thanks for this: