Chicago Bears head coach John Fox is a proven winner.
I already know what some of you are thinking, 'But he has yet to win the big one!' Sure, but winning a championship in any sport is a pretty exclusive club. Fox has lead two different teams to the Super Bowl, which is another pretty exclusive club. In seven of his 14 years as a head coach, he's had his team in the playoffs, that's not too shabby. Jake Delhomme, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning have been his offensive trigger-men on his playoff teams.
Fox is knocked at times because of his conservative approach, but he's a defensive guy, and many defensive guys coach with that philosophy because it's simply in their coaching DNA. Bears' fans know all too well how a defensive minded coach coaches because we recently went through the Lovie Smith years. Not to mention the Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron years.
Fox isn't going to change who he is as a coach, but if he has the talent to open things up on offense, he'll allow it. In all but his Manning years, Fox's teams have won because of their defense, but his last three years in Denver, Fox had about as complete a team as you'll ever see in the NFL. His offense and defense were both among the leagues best.
Odds are that his 2016 Bears team won't be near the top in the offensive rankings, but his defense should be much improved.
The USA Today, which has a recent history of trolling Bears fans, has ranked John Fox in the top half of all NFL coaches.
Here's what they had to say;
12. John Fox, Bears
Yes, he’s conservative, but Fox always gets the most out of his teams. He took both the Panthers and the Broncos to the Super Bowl, and he’s got the Bears on track to make a run at the playoffs in 2016.
You can't really argue with his placement, and until he breaks through and wins a title, he'll remain just outside the top 10.
But in regards to that last statement in the blockquote above, in a USA Today article from earlier this month, they actually have the Bears as one of four sleeper teams to make the playoffs in 2016.
Here's why they think the Bears have a shot at the postseason;
Give John Fox two years, and he’ll produce a playoff team. That’s how it gone down for him in past coaching stops when Fox pushed the Panthers to the Super Bowl and the Broncos to the best record in the AFC in Year 2. Both teams were built on a strong defense, and Chicago has enough talent on that side of the ball to produce a playoff push. The front-seven is looking awfully good after the additions of linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman grew into a destructive force over the course of a productive rookie season. And with Lamarr Houston, Pernell McPhee and rookie Leonard Floyd coming off the edge, the pass rush should be much improved. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has more than enough pieces to put together a top-10 unit.
This USA Today writer obviously disagrees with the one that ranked Chicago's offseason as the 11th worst.
Chicago was another team that had poor luck in close games a season ago. The Bears lost both of their overtime games and three others by a field goal or less. In an alternate universe, last year’s Bears are one of those teams that wins every close game and crashes the playoff party. And the roster has only gotten better in the meantime.
Yeah, close games can go either way, some of their 6 wins could just have easily been losses.
Here's the flip side to the sleeper team argument, and why they think the Bears won't make the playoffs.
Chicago will have a good-to-great defense — I have no doubt about that. But who knows what to expect from the offense after play-caller Adam Gase, who rejuvenated Jay Cutler in 2015, left to take the head job in Miami. If the Bears miss out on the postseason, the offense will be the reason.
That's fair. New offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is an unknown, but early reports on him have been very positive. Both defensive coordinator Fangio and Fox have the track record on D so that we should expect a jump in play on that side of the ball.
What are your thoughts of the John Fox ranking and on the Bears' postseason chances?