Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
I was a very angry Bears fan this season. I don’t know of many happy Bears fans after this disappointing mess also known as the Chicago Bears. I was adamant that the Bears needed to hit the reset button and start all over from the beginning. The season ended and POOF! They hit the reset button and fired both head coach Marc Trestman and General Manager Phil Emery. I couldn’t be happier. Then they hired the unknown young executive from the Saints named Ryan Pace to be the new General Manager. Not something the Bears Execs usually do. I thought they were for sure going to hire someone who had ties to the Chicago Bears organization. To put a cherry on top of my off-season, the Chicago Bears hire new head coach John Fox; an experienced, proven head coach who likes black and blue football. Win! The Chicago Bears are following the mold of the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks by hiring young, sport specific knowledgeable executives to run the sports side of the team. And now that wise young General Manager has hired the best, most logical candidate for the job. I’m loving it.
I was curious though. How did a coach who just signed a 3 year extension become available for the Bears to hire. I already knew what the media has reported about the relationship between John Elway and John Fox, but I wanted to find out what Broncos fans felt about John Fox and get some “insider” fan information. That is why I contacted Ian St. Clair from PredominantlyOrange.com the Bronco’s Fansided website and asked him a few questions. You may not like what you read, but remember, they just came off a disappointing loss to the Colts on Sunday. Remember how much that stings? Probably not. It’s been a few years since the Bears even made it to the playoffs, and most of us have drown our sad memories away with beer and other spirits.
Before we begin, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
"I realized at a young age that the way for me to make my life in sports was through writing. It combines my two passions. I’m a lifelong, third-generation Denver Broncos fan, but since I got to cover the Broncos it’s changed my fandom. I’m one of the most eclectic people you will find, enthralled by history and love to laugh."
Ian, I can imagine that it was a tough loss last weekend to cope with. Heck, I’m still trying to get over Super Bowl 41. Seriously, how do you start with the lead after the opening kickoff and then go and lose the game to a team who runs the exact defense that you do? Don’t answer that.
Did you as a fan feel that John Fox needed to go after the Broncos lost on Sunday?
"Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed kisses the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsI felt he needed to go after the Baltimore Ravens loss two years ago. That’s the loss that stings worse than the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seawhawks or the Indy loss. That team should have won the Super Bowl. There was no way ever, ever that John Elway takes a knee with two timeouts and the ball on the 30-yardline or so. Those three words will be how Fox is remembered in Denver: Take a knee. The loss to the Colts didn’t surprise me because it’s par for the course."
Let us go back to the beginning when you were happy with John Fox as the Broncos head coach. What did he do right when he came in his first year?
"I wrote when he was hired that Fox is the “safe” hire. You pretty much know what you will get with him. There’s nothing he will do that will surprise people – fans, his own players or opponents. He’s exactly what the Broncos needed after Josh McDaniels. He’s a stabilizing force within an organization. The Broncos were a mess when Fox and Elway came in. I also give him credit for going with Tim Tebow and adjusting his system to try to make it work."
That makes me as a Bears fan very happy. We need a new head coach that is going to fix this mess of a team that Marc Trestman and Phil Emery created. What can you tell us about John Fox’s coaching style?
"That’s where the happiness will end. Fox is great for turning a mess of a team into a good team. If you want to make the jump from good to great, he’s not your guy. He’s conservative – for both offense and defense. We will see how he does going from Peyton Manning to Jay Cutler but I doubt much will change, if at all. A lot of that will depend on who he brings in as coordinators. I’m one who likes coaches to take chances, who puts trust in their players, and Fox isn’t that guy (as highlighted by the fact he took a knee in the Ravens playoff game). I like coaches who can adapt if something doesn’t go to script. Again, that’s not Fox. Under Fox, the Broncos were 49-22. They were 37-6 vs. non-playoff teams and 12-16 against playoff qualifiers, including the postseason. He was 1-7 against the likes of Seattle and New England. That plays into the narrative that he doesn’t get teams ready for the big game."
When you say conservative, do you mean that he won’t take chances or he isn’t aggressive? Also do you feel that was all on John Fox, or did anything have to do with his coordinators as well?
"Nov 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsBoth. He’s neither the type of coach who takes chances nor is aggressive. This season when Fox ran a fake punt, Broncos Country about lost its mind because it’s so against the grain. If Bears fans picture Jeff Fisher or Chip Kelly, Fox is the antithesis to that. Fourth-and-four from the 42-yardline? Punt. Fox is predictable. It’s hard for me to say about the coordinators since I’m not at Dove Valley, but I’m sure it played a role. But how much of what the coordinators did was dictated by Fox?"
I wish you didn’t bring up Jeff Fisher. He was the coach that I wanted the Bears to hire as soon as he was available. Not only did he play for the Bears, but he is an awesome coach. I still don’t know why Tennessee got rid of him. Moving on. Being a Broncos fan, I know you have an opinion about Jay Cutler. What do you think John Fox should do with Jay considering he is stuck with him for at least a year or two more?
"I thought the same way. Some coaches are meant for certain cities and teams. Fisher is that for Chicago. I feel that way about Gary Kubiak and the Broncos. As for Cutler, don’t try to make him something he’s not. Cutler is who he is, and he’s not going to change. Let him play the game (since he thinks he knows better than anyone and everyone else) how he wants to play it. He’s gone through two coaches, so if it were me, I would just let him do what he wants to do and play how he wants to play. There’s no point in trying to “coach him up.” That would serve Fox much better. I would make him come to me. If he wants to get better or improve, it’s on him. Fox can’t force him."
There you have it. Broncos fans wanted to see John Fox leave, and Bears fans are excited to see him arrive. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. I’ll tell you what, after the mess Trestman created, John Fox is going to be a savior for the Bears. Can we just make it to the playoffs please? Please? Do you agree with Ian? Is Fox the safe hire? Tell me what you think in the comments section below.