Chicago Bears: John Fox Era approaching Trestman levels of bad

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The situations weren’t entirely the same, but the dysfunction is starting to feel similar for the Chicago Bears.

After the disastrous 2014 season happened and Marc Trestman and Phil Emery were fired, everyone who cares about the Chicago Bears, from the supposedly livid Virginia McCaskey to the wrathful fanbase, had to be hoping that they’d never see anything near that level of awfulness and dysfunction again.

And when the Bears started anew with Ryan Pace and John Fox, I think everyone assumed those days were behind us.

Sure, it might take a few years for the Bears to become a legitimate playoff contender again. But at the very least, Fox would coach them well and could maybe, just maybe, slowly develop them into one.

Despite finishing just 6-10 in 2015, I think there was plenty of optimism about the direction of the Bears. One more solid draft should help them take another step forward, right? Maybe get them to 8-8 with an outside chance at a playoff berth?

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Wow. How funny that some, including myself, actually thought such things were a possibility back then.

Fast-forward to the present, and the Chicago Bears have won just six games with John Fox since the end of 2015.

And somehow, despite all the horror, dysfunction and bad football we witnessed under Trestman—including the back-to-back 50-burgers the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers hung on them—you want to know how which of the past five Chicago Bears head coaches has suffered the highest percentage of 20+-point losses?

If you guessed Trestman, you were wrong.

Is that partly because the Chicago Bears have suffered from injuries, a lack of depth and some questionable talent? Yes. Despite the fact that this defense has generally been decent, the offense still needs some playmakers, especially at receiver.

In no way does Ryan Pace deserve full absolution from this team’s struggles. And while he’s safe for now, two more seasons like this could potentially show him the door as well.

But at this point, the constant losing, as well as the poor preparation and discipline this team exhibits on a weekly basis, have taken the benefit of the doubt wholly away from Fox and his staff.

“What would you say…you do here?”

At this point, we all know what the Fox experience entails in terms of the conservative, bordering on scared, style of coaching. If you looked deeply at his track record before he came here, that shouldn’t surprise you.

What should surprise you is how badly he and his staff have failed, especially offensively, to put players in position to succeed.

Tre McBride has a 92-yard receiving game one week and gets effectively benched in favor of Josh Bellamy two weeks in a row.

Adam Shaheen posts more than 70 yards receiving and a touchdown his last two games, then gets outsnapped by DANIEL BROWN the next week.

Somehow, Fox and Dowell Loggains still can’t figure out how they want to deploy Tarik Cohen from week to week. Watching them try to figure out how to get him the ball/utilize him as a decoy is strangely like watching someone debating whether or not to throw a live grenade.

Then, to top it all off, Mitch Trubisky, while he certainly can use all these reps to get ready for next year, doesn’t really look like he’s progressing right now.

His pocket presence is starting to deteriorate as he trusts his weapons and protection less. As such, his mechanics have appeared to break down of late, resulting in some less-than-Mitch-like accuracy.

And oh yeah, the defensive improvement everyone was raving about this season (and rightly so earlier on)? That hasn’t been holding up.

The Bears have had a few takeaways in these losses, including twice yesterday, but don’t bite. Offenses are starting to push them around in ways that just didn’t happen earlier this season.

Losing Leonard Floyd hurts, but this has been brewing for a while now. Akiem Hicks can’t be the only guy consistently making plays for this team.

And for goodness’ sake, if the secondary cannot come up with a single interception, even on tipped balls that hang in the air for an eternity, opposing teams will keep getting extra chances to score.

Is that lack of skill? Lack of concentration? Bad coaching? All of the above? All I know is that I’m tired of seeing things like this.

The damage done

Bottom line: any good feelings Fox’s tenure accrued two years ago in leading the Chicago Bears to a 6-10 season (haha) have evaporated. The experience has grown increasingly stale, and Fox seems to have checked out, knowing his time is coming.

And the players are getting closer and closer to losing their minds at the monotony of losing.

You thought you’d never see anything nearly as bad as the Trestman years again? Well, this might not actually be as bad, but it feels like it’s creeping there with each passing week.

In terms of the win-loss column, it’s arguably been there for a year.

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Don’t be afraid of losing out on “continuity” by firing John Fox. There’s not a single thing about these past three years you should want to see continue if you’re a fan. The Los Angeles Rams weren’t afraid to change and get Jared Goff a new coach. Now, they’re the second-best team in the NFC behind the Philadelphia Eagles.

If I were you, I’d be scared of what happens if the Chicago Bears allow this to continue any longer.