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Ex-Bears head coach John Fox: 'We inherited a mess'


John Fox finished dead last in the NFC North in each of his three seasons as the Chicago Bears head coach, earning just 14 wins to 34 losses.

Under Fox, the Bears were one of the worst teams in the NFL, compiling a .292 winning percentage (30th in the league since 2015), scoring 18.3 points per game (T-30th), allowing 23.3 points per game (T-21st), and owning a minus-24 turnover differential (31st).

Despite the losses and negative stats, Fox helped clean up the mess left behind by Marc Trestman. The veteran coach told NBC Sports Chicago he believes the Bears are close to a turnaround and wishes he could have stuck around to see it.

"It would've been nice to see it through," Fox said. "That's kind of a bitter pill but you sort things out and move forward.

"I do think it's closer than people think. We inherited a mess ... but I felt we were on the brink at the end. I think that [Halas Hall] building is definitely different; they feel it. I do think that it was a positive."

It's not difficult to argue that Bears are on a better trajectory than when Fox took over, yet the veteran coach never inspired the sense he could get them over the hump due to faulty decision making and conservative game planning.

Matt Nagy now inherits the opportunity to take Chicago to the next level.

The Bears own pieces that could help quickly turn around their years of losing. Young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky displayed flashes as a rookie and now has a tutor in Nagy to nurture him. The running game has potential to be among the best in the NFL. The defense has a solid foundation and kept coordinator Vic Fangio and most of the staff in place.

General manager Ryan Pace had plenty of swings and misses in free agency -- Mike Glennon, Markus Wheaton, Marcus Cooper, etc. -- a trend which he'll need to halt for Chicago to make a leap in 2018.

The core left behind by Fox will be the foundation Nagy uses to hopefully turn around the Bears, not that it's solace to the man without a job.

"You wish some things would've happened differently obviously," Fox said, "but there was a lot positive that happened."

Those positives are now Nagy's benefit.


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