The Chicago Bears historically have stayed away from experienced head coaches when making hires, but this time around they chose to do things differently as they brought in John Fox to run the team.
At his introductory press conference, Fox talked about the big picture at Halas Hall and the vision that he and G.M. Ryan Pace share for the organization.
“Our relationship is maybe the most important relationship in an NFL building,” he said of the coach/G.M. dynamic. “This is a “we”, not “me”, profession. That culture and that environment is paramount to be successful on the field. I’m looking forward to building that with Ryan and with the McCaskey’s moving forward.
Fox’s track record for turning things around and improving the culture in a locker room speaks for itself. He brought the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos some serious success while he was with the teams, and although a Super Bowl title eluded him there, he feels that he has what it takes to get things turned around in Chicago.
“In the past we’ve made some pretty good jumps. I just believe that we will,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this challenge.”
The challenge is a monumental one for the coach. Saddled with some hefty contracts and a lot of anger over a 5-11 record in 2014, the Bears are heading up a steep slope as they look to compete with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, but Fox feels that the turnarounds in Carolina and Denver give him an idea of what he’ll need to do in Chicago.
“Like most things, it’s not automatic, but the more you do it, the better you should get,” he said. “If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it does help. There’s no manual for being a head coach. It’s like holding Jell-O. It’s a tough job.”
As for which coaches will be along for the ride (Joe Decamillis has already been replaced by Jeff Rodgers as special teams coordinator, but Mel Tucker is still technically the team’s defensive coordinator), Fox was non-committal about his course of action.
“I don’t know that yet,” he said. “I met with all of them all day Saturday. There’s some good coaches on this staff. We’re going to try to locate the best talent there is and try to motivate them the best we can every day.”
As for the other elephant in the room, Fox said that he hasn’t talked to quarterback Jay Cutler yet, but that he will have a simple mantra for him.
“That’s a lot for a guy that’s not talked to him yet,” he said when asked about whether Cutler would be the team’s starting quarterback in 2015. “I feel good about whoever that is. I’m looking forward to getting to know Jay. He’s really excited that I’m coming here. I reminded him that this game is only fun when we win. I look forward to seeing Jay face-to-face.”