With little fanfare Wednesday, Bears coach John Fox confirmed that he was retaining his top deputies — “Our coordinators are intact,” he said — after a season filled with rumors portending otherwise.
That means Dowell Loggains will get a chance to form the Bears’ next quarterback and Vic Fangio will return despite in-season reports he and Fox had a strained relationship.
GM Ryan Pace painted any conflict between Fox and Fangio as healthy — particularly in a 3-13 season.
“John’s a former defensive coordinator so there’s constant communication there — their offices are side by side … ” he said. “When you’re going through a tough season, of course there are going to be ‘debates’ that happen. It should happen. It happens in the draft room, it happens with coaches. But it’s a healthy, productive relationship.”
Pace called the rumors A price the team paid for a bad season. The Bears denied a national report from earlier in the season that said they were considering hiring a front-office consultant.
“There were rumors of this or that,” Pace said. “You know what? I look at myself: ‘Hey, when we win three games, rumors come.’ That’s part of it, and until we start winning more games around here, those rumors will go away.
“I think if you’re tight internally, which we are, and sometimes those things make you tighter, then, hey, you just let it roll off your back. I think the mistake is to get consumed by it or caught up in it.”
Loggains, Fox said, performed admirably in his first season as the Bears’ offensive coordinator, given he had to play four different quarterbacks and had a revolving door at receiver.
“Are we there yet? No,” Fox said. “But I don’t think it’s play-calling or design that are issues.”
Special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers figures to return, too, though the Bears’ staff won’t return in its entirety. Running backs coach Stan Drayton left to become the Texas Longhorns’ associate head coach Tuesday, a move Fox called a promotion.
Offensive line coach Dave Magazu won’t return, either, despite spending eight seasons in Carolina and four in Denver with Fox before joining the Bears two seasons ago. More changes could come, too, even as the coordinators remain the same; Fox vaguely referenced “a lot of changes” when asked about his staff.