The following John Fox quotes are all taken from the NFL Combine press conference transcripts of NFLDraftscout.com.
John Fox was asked specifically if he had a chance to meet with Jay Cutler.
"Met with quite a few of our players, can't say every one but the majority of them."
When asked what was important to know about Cutler moving forward Fox said,
Well I think just getting to know him, you know everybody's got perceptions. But I think that getting to know the guy, this is a relationship business, and that takes time. So I don't want to stand up here and give you a final evaluation when I'm maybe [partly] through the test.
Earlier this morning the Chicago Bears met with free agent quarterback Josh McCown.
"There's obviously interest, or we probably wouldn't have met with him. but he's, again, a guy that's had opportunities as a starter in this league. He's served as a backup. He's the right kinda guy, I know from my perspective, that you want on your football team. so we'll see where it goes. He's got relationships with a lot of people in this league - you know they have high opinions of him. We'll see where that goes."
Bears' fans have varying opinions on McCown, but I think he'd be a great guy to bring in. He's certainly not as good as his 8 game stretch under Marc Trestman's tutelage in 2013, but he's also not as bad as his 2014 season in Tampa Bay. That Buccaneers team was bad top to bottom, and there was only so much McCown could do.
The Bears need another option at quarterback and the free agent market isn't exactly brimming with talent. McCown might be the best guy available.
Speaking of exploring all options at QB.
We're gonna look at all avenues, whether it's free agency, whether it's evaluating and aligning our roster correctly. Obviously the draft, because that's where you get young players that you can build in your system that can be core guys. All those avenues are going to be things that you look at to get better. We're in that process now.
John Fox was asked his approach in developing leadership.
It's part of the game, as I think I mentioned before, you're evaluating and trying to acquire the best human talent you can find, and then motivating them on a daily basis to be the best they can be. I think sometimes that's the edge that you have with a league built for parity. Leadership is real important. I think you can develop it just like you can blocking and tackling techniques. And that starts upstairs too, as far as that talent, putting together coaching staffs and big pieces. It's definitely not a one-man show. It never has been. It never will be. So you're dealing with people, and it helps to have good people.
He was asked what type of defense the Bears would use (3-4, 4-3, hybrid) and I think his wording is very important to note, so I will embolden it.
"It's a little hard to say right now. We're going to be a 3-4 terminology wise. We haven't had our players on the grass yet so until we evaluate that... We've looked at a whole lot of tape, not as much as we need to continue to do. That'll help us define what we're going to be and how we're going to use the pieces."
Fox answered the follow up question about if he felt the Bears had the personnel to run a 3-4.
"Until we look at the tape I'm confident we'll piece together a good defense. It's still too early in the process. We've not had a practice and been on the grass yet and in my experience, players define that when you get to that point."
He was again asked a bit later if he felt the roster had the right guys to run a 3-4 defense.
Umh, yeah I think sometimes a lot is made, particularly on the outside about the 3-4 and the 4-3, I mean generally the spacings are very similar, like all coaching of any defense you now it's really (about) putting your players in the best positions to have them have success. Again, without being on the grass it's really hard for me to stand up here and say much more than that.
So yes, for the first time ever, the Chicago Bears will not have a 4-3 defense as their base, but don't assume the Bears will come out week 1 running what you think of as a traditional 3-4 D. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can use various looks up front, plus his 3-4 defense in San Francisco wasn't what some of you think of when thinking of a 3-4 D. It's not necessarily 3 big space eating defensive linemen in front of 4 linebackers. He has a some of his d-linemen playing 1 gap with others playing 2 gap.
The bottom line is, the Bears will play to their strengths and will probably give multiple looks up front, but yes, the base will be a 3-4 and that's the terminology the players will need to learn.
John Fox did touch on defensive ends Willie Young and Jared Allen and their transition to 3-4 outside linebackers. Young is coming off a career year as a 4-3 DE and Allen is one of the most productive 4-3 DEs to play the game.
We'll line them both up there, what they become is up to them. In Willie's case he's coming off an Achilles surgery, you know same thing with Lamarr Houston, he's coming off an ACL, you know I had two guys a year ago, Chris Harris and Von Miller were coming off ACL's and they both had Pro Bowl seasons. So again that's all part of the process you know getting guys healthy, medically and getting them ready to play. We're working on that as we speak daily.
But what about Jared Allen, can he rush from a 2-point stance?
Well again I mean I haven't seen that so it'd be hard for me to evaluate until we get him out there but he's a good football player, he's got good instincts, so my experience has been that works in a two point or a three point stance.
I'll tell you this, if Allen is on this football team he'll be rushing the passer in which ever way he feels most comfortable. Just because the Bears will have a 3-4 base, that doesn't mean they'll never run a 4 man line. That's something Fox touched on when answering a question about nickel defense.
You do get more into that and in most cases everybody turns into a 4-3 so, it is increasing as we speak, there is definitely way more nickel or sub defenses involved you know in games today.
When asked about the value of bring back a veteran like Charles Tillman Fox had this to say,
Oh I think any time you come to an organization and there's been guys like a Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, they've been great Bears and they've accomplished a lot, you know they've done a lot for our organization, our football team, as well as our city and so gong forward I think you know sometimes you just evaluate but I would like to preface it by saying they've been great Bears and they've got our ownership's and our organization's deepest respect.
Since the combine is under way, Fox took a question on evaluating collegiate safety play in this era of so many spread offenses.
I think evaluation is evaluation. There's all kinds of leaps of faith you take, whether it's the 3-4 two-point guy or the 4-3 three-point guy. I think safety is a unique position because it does require really good disciplined eyes, how they evaluate run and pass. I don't think that has changed that much over the years. I came into this league as a DB coach, so I've been doing it for a minute. That's all part of the competition this thing is evaluating young talent, and most of your successful teams have done a good job with that.
And about the value of working with a new GM.
This game's about relationships. It's hard enough when you're arm-in-arm on all this stuff. It's not always the case, but I know in my experience with Ryan thus far, he's very, very smart. He's tremendously organized. He's tremendously humble. I'm excited about getting this going. It's been a fun month, and I look for many more to come.
What were your thoughts on John Fox's presser?
You can head over to ChicagoBears.com for the full press conference.