Coach John Fox thinks that his team is a house of cards or that Mike Glennon is incapable of processing the truth without doing himself physical harm or that Bears fans are idiots.
It’s a distinct possibility that he thinks all of the above.
Fox said Sunday that his team’s embarrassing loss to the Buccaneers was not due solely to Glennon’s poor performance. This is technically true. A fire is caused by the person who started it and the match he’s holding. So I guess the loss was the fault of Glennon and the football.
You didn’t need a trained eye to see that the quarterback was terrible in Tampa. You just needed an eye. But the coach whose standard answer is that he has to look at the tape before he can comment somehow knew immediately after the game that a few receivers had not run routes as precisely as they should have. In other words, two interceptions and a lost fumble are everybody’s sin, not Glennon’s. Fox had gotten his hands on an imbecile mailing list, and our names were on it.
On Monday, he tried to change direction by saying Glennon surely would like to have two or three plays back. Too late, Coach.
Most of us understand that any Fox criticism of Glennon will be viewed publicly as his paving the way for rookie Mitch Trubisky to take over at quarterback. So Fox wasn’t just protecting Glennon, he was trying to hold off a public uprising. One problem: We’re far beyond that. We’ve been on Trubisky watch since it became obvious in training camp that he was far superior to his competition. Fox is protecting a mirage.
Nobody is as stupid as Fox believes everyone to be. Not the fans and certainly not the players. It’s obvious that Trubisky will become the starter at some point this season, though not Sunday against the Steelers. If you gave Glennon some truth serum, he’d agree. He’d also say, “You drafted a quarterback with the second overall pick in the draft after signing me? You lying curs!’’
Fox is from the school that thinks public honesty is poisonous and that one blunt comment could cost a coach the trust of the locker room. It’s all about job preservation with him, about ass-saving. If he’s going to go down, it won’t be because of something as silly as truthfulness. This is Lovie Smith, but without the periodic playoff appearance.
Fox would prefer to be remembered as the guy who fell on his sword for his players rather than the guy who told it to you straight. But if he believes he’ll lose his team by honestly assessing something as obvious as Glennon’s performance against the Buccaneers, then his team is as fragile as a soap bubble.
Fox may not have lost his team, but he lost the city a long time ago. If there’s a coach who has had less of a profile in Chicago, I don’t know who it would be. At least Dick Jauron won 13 games one year.
From the outset, Fox viewed the Chicago media with mistrust, and it wasn’t long before he was hiding the truth about the extent of Kevin White’s first injury. And here we are today, believing very little of what he says. You can say that’s simply life in the NFL, that coaches lie about everything, on principle. But that same coach can’t expect the benefit of the doubt, nor should he be surprised when the viewing audience hurls virtual tomatoes at him for trying to sell something that’s so obviously untrue.
Fox has been hawking the idea of Mike the Trustworthy since the day Glennon signed with the team. But he has been anything but reliable. Even those of us who believed bringing Trubisky along slowly was the right approach abandoned that thinking when it became obvious who the better quarterback was.
I always come back to this: What’s the benefit of being dishonest or evasive? To what end? Is there any evidence that shows a player performs better after his coach lies about something so painfully apparent? Is there evidence that a coach’s honesty is demoralizing?
Somehow, Glennon would have survived Sunday if Fox had said, “That wasn’t Mike’s best effort. We need him to take care of the football, and he will.’’
Better to be called Captain Obvious than Coach Fiction.
Ask Fox the most innocent question about a player’s performance, positive or negative, and you’ll either hear, “We all need to play better’’ or “I thought everyone played well.’’ You get the feeling that if you asked Fox whether Player A existed, he’d tell you it’s proprietary information.
There’s tight-lipped and then there’s just dumb.
Follow me on Twitter @MorrisseyCST.