Bears mailbag: On John Fox’s future, 2018 needs and popgun offense
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The Sun-Times’ experts can answer your Bears questions all week on Twitter. Here’s a sampling of queries sent to @PatrickFinley, who responds with more than (checks new Twitter rules) 280 characters:
As upset as John Fox’s bosses are after Sunday’s loss, I expect the Bears to give him the rest of the season to try to save his job. If they do make a change, I’d look for an offensive coordinator who has successfully developed a young quarterback before. Mitch Trubisky’s growth is the fastest way to making the franchise relevant. Looking at the roster, they’ll need to either draft or sign two wide receivers, a dynamic edge rusher to play opposite Leonard Floyd and a cornerback they’ll be able to count on for years. They’ll probably sign a veteran backup quarterback, too.
Neither? Harbaugh is making $7 million this year as Michigan’s coach. Two years ago, after Gruden signed an extension with ESPN through 2021, author Jim Miller estimated he was making around $6.5 million per year. To get either to jump to the Bears, the team would have to consider doubling Fox’s $4.5 million annual salary. And then there’s this not-so-small point: If Fox is fired, the Bears still will have to pay his salary next season. I guess Gruden is the more realistic pick because he doesn’t have a coaching job.
He went 9-23 in two years as the Browns’ coach and won his one game as the Eagles’ interim boss post-Chip Kelly in 2015. But has the Vikings’ offensive coordinator developed a young quarterback? He coached Sam Bradford as a rookie and Nick Foles in his standout second season. So … not really?
Teaming up with Harbaugh again, maybe? It’d be tricky. Were Fox fired, Fangio would want to be interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy. If the Bears talked to him and passed, would he be willing to return as coordinator? Fangio’s contract is up at the end of the year, so he’ll be free to look for other jobs, either way.
You’d rather the quarterback draw plays in the dirt? The next seven games have value — Trubisky needs to develop while running the same system he has worked to perfect since the day he was drafted. There’s plenty of blame to go around, from a front office that signed Markus Wheaton to coaches who have prioritized ball security over dynamism.
“Smoke” has played two offensive snaps all year — one against the Saints and one against the Panthers. The reason you don’t see the fourth-stringer more is simple: Tarik Cohen is a better pass catcher and Benny Cunningham is the superior pass blocker.