John Fox’s dismissal as Chicago Bears head coach kicked off the day for us, but the moving and shaking around the league isn’t limited to the Windy City.
Around the division, the Detroit Lions have parted ways with head coach Jim Caldwell and have already lined up defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur for interviews as they start a coaching search of their own.
Elsewhere, defensive coordinator Dom Capers has been let go in Green Bay, Bruce Arians retired from coaching the Arizona Cardinals (who also have requested an interview with Shurmur), while Dean Pees has left his post as Ravens defensive coordinator and joined Arians in retirement. Woof. That’s a lot.
- This is a tough way to remember the John Fox era, but it’s definitely the most memorable moment of his time in Chicago:
The “highlight” of the John Fox era in Chicago was that initial breath of fresh, professional air when he came in and helped re-establish a sense of professionalism. His best quality was that he was not Marc Trestman. That’s a sad peak to a forgettable Bears era.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune figures the Bears will seek an offensive-minded head coach to replace Fox, which is a logical step to take after three years of defense-first. This is generally how it goes in the NFL’s coaching waters (Hopefully, the Bears aren’t trying to land some defensive wizard in three years, then …).
- If you’re curious, Dan Cahill (Chicago Sun-Times) has a complete round-up of players who used their social media presence to show support for Fox in the wake of the news of his firing, including Trubisky.
- And over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma writes about the players praising Fox while taking responsibility for what would eventually be his demise. Wide receiver Josh Bellamy called Fox one of the best coaches he has been around and defensive end Akiem Hicks described him as “relatable,” because of how he spoke in a way that motivated players while holding them accountable.
- It’s clear the players liked Fox from a personal standpoint. And there’s no doubt he had a father figure kind of presence in that locker room. However, there was only so much Fox could do and it wasn’t enough to save his job.
- Colleen Kane (Tribune) writes that there’s plenty of work for Mitch Trubisky to tackle in his first offseason as an NFL quarterback. Trubisky wrapped up the season with a not-so-nifty 69.0 quarterback rating in a very blah game against the Minnesota Vikings. Overall, he finished the year with a 77.5 passer rating after throwing for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 59.4 completion percentage.
- As for the game, what a mess. The Bears couldn’t get out of their own way, and racked up 116 yards of penalties while mustering up just 201 yards of total offense.
- The rushing attack was lifeless against a stout Vikings front seven. It was so bad at one point, the Bears’ leading rusher at halftime was Michael Burton – who had one carry that gained no yards. According to Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic, Chicago had -1 (yes, negative-1!) rushing yards, which was their fewest in a first half since 1991. The Bears finished with 30 total rushing yards, led by Tarik Cohen’s 13-yard effort.
- Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes about the Bears landing a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive season and notes the team will retain the conditional seventh-round pick they offered to the Los Angeles Chargers in their trade for wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. As it stands, the Bears currently own the eighth, 39th, 101st, 111th, 136th, 167th, and 198th selections. According to Tankathon.com’s calculations based on Jimmy Johnson’s pick value system, Chicago has the ninth most valuable set of picks.
- While the Bears aren’t lined up to take a quarterback in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Ben Cohen and Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal dive into why football struggles to identify players at the game’s most important position. Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield breaks the mold as a two-time walk-on and is viewed as an example of college football’s problem in identifying talent.