Around the NFL  

 

Mr. Fix It, John Fox, brings defense, discipline to Bears

Print

After a two-year venture with an offensive guru crashed and burned in a flourish only surpassed by the Hindenburg, the Chicago Bears are getting back to defense and discipline.

John Fox will be brought in to clean up the mess left behind by Marc Trestman and company: A pathetic defense, a maligned, puzzling quarterback and a dysfunctional locker room that can't stay out of its own way even in the offseason.

Some might pan the choice as conservative and uninspiring, but right now the broken Bears desperately needed a recalibration by a veteran voice.

And Fox is nothing if not a fixer.

In 2002 he took over a one-win Carolina Panthers squad and had them in the Super Bowl in two years. In Denver he was given Josh McDaniels' four-win mess -- rife with dysfunction not completely unlike what he is walking into in Chicago. Fox went 8-8 and won a playoff game with Tim Tebow in Year 1.

He's had the luxury of Peyton Manning the past three years, but Fox has also won with Jake Delhomme and Tebow. However, Jay Cutler is a new beast and a known coach killer -- if they keep him. Fox will have to hire the right coordinator to work with the signal-caller.

The defensive-minded coach has lost more than seven games just once during his 13-year career. Fox's history of quickly turning around programs should be a positive for Bears fans. This is a team with Fantasy Football talent in need of a drill sergeant who can get them moving together in the right direction.

The 59-year-old coach's hiring is also a continuation of a go-defense approach by front offenses this offseason. All five coaching positions filled thus far have been by defensive-oriented leaders.

In part that trend could be due to a philosophical belief that if a team doesn't have a franchise quarterback, focusing on defense is a quicker path to winning in the NFL.

Chicago needs Fox to help revamp a defensive unit that produced the two worst statistical seasons in franchise history. A punchless pass rush exacerbated a soft passing defense and a cornucopia of missed tackles underscored a mistake-filled unit.

If Fox can solidify the defense and bring it up to even a mid-level of respectability, the Bears possess the offensive talent to win, soon.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Championship Sunday and makes our picks for each game. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

Print