When the Chicago Bears gave Phil Emery his walking papers, they hired veteran NFL executive Ernie Accorsi to work his magic and help find them their next general manager-- someone who could take this team to the next level. Accorsi is one of the most connected people in the league, and he introduced the McCaskeys family and team president Ted Phillips with Ryan Pace from the New Orleans Saints front office.
Pace had never been a general manager before, but was widely respected around league circles as one of the up-and-coming executives to watch out for. And after he arrived in Chicago, the first thing he did was hire John Fox as head coach. Not bad for your first hire.
Of course, John Fox himself is immensely connected throughout the league, and was able to woo two coordinators that were in their own right interviewing for head coaching jobs, and convinced them to join him in Chicago.
Since Adam Gase took over the offense, he has brought a stability and rhythm to a unit that had been completely turned inside out by the previous regime. His play-calling is putting the Bears in positions to move the ball and score points, and you can see his game-plans changing from week to week based on the opponent. And he's doing all of those things with a depleted wide receiver corps and make-shift offensive line. Every team gets bitten by the injury bug, but few get bitten this badly, and with a lack of depth across the board to boot.
Gase is doing a great job, and has Jay Cutler playing the best football of his career. One could argue that his continued success this season could earn him another head coaching interview or two after the season is over. And while the thought of Gase leaving after one season is a scary thought, one would think that Fox has as wide of a net to cast as anyone in the league if it does happen.
On the other side of the ball, Vic Fangio has successfully transitioned the Chicago Bears defense from a base 4-3 to the 3-4 for the first time in team history, and has done so with finesse and success. He took a defensive unit that was the worst in the NFL last season, and turned them into a top-10 defense, depending on the stat you look at.
And like Gase, Fangio has done it all with very limited weapons to work with. Phil Emery left this roster in deplorable shape, but Ryan Pace is doing his best on a weekly basis just to field a team that can play a little football. That may be an exaggeration, but when you look at the lack of depth across the board, and inheriting a defense that was built for the 4-3, Fangio is impressing each and every week.
And also like Gase, Fangio's success is directly tied to his game-plan each week. He's setting his players up for success each week, and they are executing that game-plan as best as they can. From what we hear, the players love working for him.
As respected as Fangio is around the league, and as well as his players respond to him as a coach, there is not doubt that Fangio will likely be a head coach one day. Fangio has interviewed around the league previously, and could likely get another shot after this season is over.
If the Chicago Bears do lose either Pace or Fangio, John Fox shouldn't have too tough of a time replacing them. But that would mean another offensive system for Jay Cutler-- assuming he's back for one more year in 2016-- and a new defensive coordinator one year after transitioning to a 3-4.
Should the Bears be worried? It's still early in the season, but you have to think it's already on Ryan Pace and John Fox's radar.