When the Chicago Bears inked a deal with John Fox to be their new head coach in 2015, a lot of optimism was in the air. During Fox’s two previous tenures as head coach with the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, he led both teams to the Super Bowl, and many thought that he would do the same for the Bears. Well, after Fox’s first year in the Windy City, Chicago finished the year with a 6-10 record. The following season, the Bears took several steps back, stumbling to a 3-13 record. As for 2017, it looks as if Chicago is facing another sub .500 year right in the face.
The lack of wins over a three-year span may be enough to hand Fox a pink slip at season’s end. But, if you think that isn’t a good enough reason, then maybe seeing the way he’s preparing his young players may persuade you that it is his time to go.
Earlier this week, ESPN Staff Writer Jeff Dickerson wrote on ESPN Chicago that the Bears explained just why rookies Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen were not on the field during Chicago’s final offensive drive in their Week 11 loss to the Detroit Lions. According to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, Cohen and Shaheen were not playing during that crucial point of the game simply because “they’re just not quite there yet.”
"“It was mainly so Adam could focus in on his role,” Loggains said. “And as he keeps growing that way, we’ll keep expanding that package for him. But that was the reason why. Same with Tarik. Like, you want these young players on the field because they’re really good players but they’re just not quite there yet. We’re going to keep expanding their role hopefully weekly. Each week is always a little bit different in how you’re going to match up. But Adam has done a really good job. You guys have asked me in the past about his production. He’s going to be a really good player. He is.”"
This may be a legitimate answer if this was very early in the season. However, Loggains said this in Week 11. Yes, Cohen and Shaheen are rookies, but shouldn’t they be just as prepared as anyone else going into a game at this point in the season? We’ve all heard of the “next-man-up” mentality when it comes to professional athletes. But how can you be that man when you’re not fully prepared? Whether if someone is a rookie, a 10-year veteran, a first-stringer, or the last man on the bench, they should be ready entering any game as if they are going to be the starter.
With Zach Miller and Dion Sims sidelined, Shaheen has been in the starting lineup for the past two weeks. During that time, the rookie’s production has improved. As for Cohen, he finally got more touches versus the Lions, and he had his best game in weeks as a result. But despite this, Fox and Loggains decided to put tight end Daniel Brown and running back Benny Cunningham in for that final drive.
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Now, if their reasoning for putting Brown and Cunningham in was strictly because they felt they were better pass protectors, or something of that nature, then this move makes since. However, Loggains said that “they’re just not quite there yet.” This give me the indication that the coaching staff is limiting some of their players who can make a major impact.
In saying all of this, there is no intention of putting Brown and Cunningham in a negative light. But, there is a reason why Cohen and Shaheen are ahead of both of them on the depth chart, which gives more of a reason why these two rookies should be up to speed of the entire offensive scheme and should be ready for any vital situation at any part of a game.
Coming into this season, Fox should have known that he was on the hot seat. So, one would think that he would have done everything possible in order to make sure that he keeps his job, which includes making sure that he had ALL of his players ready. His failure to keep his players on the same page just might be the straw that will break the camel’s back, and end his tenure in Chicago at season’s end.