Ryan Pace and John Fox met with the media on Wednesday and also determined that two assistant coaches will not be returning to the Chicago Bears in 2017.
It’s no secret the Chicago Bears 2016 season was lousy. As the Bears spiraled into the cellar, speculation started to swirl regarding John Fox’s job security as head coach. As the season drew to a close, it seemed more certain that Fox’s job was safe, but it seemed clear that some changes would have to be made to the coaching staff.
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Many speculated that offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains would be the head to roll. But Fox announced that both Loggains and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would return next season. Some changes would indeed come, however, and those changes would be with offensive line coach Dave Magazu and secondary coach Sam Garnes.
While it is no surprise changes were made, it might be surprising that Magazu and Garnes were shown the door. Both coaches were some of Fox’s longest tenured assistants. Both had been with Fox since his Carolina Panthers’ days.
Magazu might also be a surprise considering that the Bears offensive line hardly seemed to be a problem. Cody Whitehair’s development at center was astonishing. Josh SItton and Kyle Long helped form one of the best interior guard duos in the league and even Bobby Massie showed remarkable improvement after a horrendous start to the season.
However, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, Magazu was not a popular coach amongst the players and it appears that was the main reason for his termination.
The performance of the Bears’ secondary was severely lacking at times. Was that Garnes’ fault? The secondary had plenty of injury issues and the bigger issue seemed to be a lack of talent, not a lack of coaching. However, in a 3-13 season there need to be scapegoats and Garnes makes a lot of sense in that regard.
While Fox said Loggains and Fangio were locked in, he certainly didn’t guarantee that every other assistant coach remaining would return. This offseason is a critical one for Fox and for Pace and changes to the coaching staff are only the tip of the iceberg. The Bears will be an interesting team to watch all offseason. Fox and Pace will begin the 2017 season on the hotseat and this offseason will help determine if they can get this disappointing franchise turned around.