2015 Chicago Bears Grades
One of the strengths of the Bears in 2015 was the coaching staff assembled by John Fox. The coaching staff minimized mistakes through their game plan, got players to believe and kept games close. It was a huge turnaround from a season ago when former coach Marc Trestman lost the locker room.
While Fox didn’t take the team to the playoffs, it’s still a step in the right direction for the team.
John Fox — As the leader of this staff, coach Fox set the tone from day one, ridding the team of distractions, namely Brandon Marshall and any player that refused to commit to his message of “Super Bowlers, not Pro Bowlers.”
He was willing to adjust his philosophy on defense going to more of an aggressive 3-4 defense with the hiring of 3-4 defensive coordinator Vic Fangio from the 49ers. Fox provided stability, competence and positivity to a coaching staff which desperately needed all three after the disastrous tenure of Trestman. While his clock management and his conservative tendencies may have cost the Bears a few games on the season, those are tendencies that Bears fans should have been aware of that ultimately cost him his job in Denver. Overall, Fox changed the culture Monday-Saturdays and provided the Bears a chance to win games in 2015.
Adam Gase — As someone who worked with Fox previously, Gase provided stability and increased the efficiency of Jay Cutler despite the quarterback never working with a full cast of wide receivers and tight ends during the year. He limited shots down the field and allowed Jay to make the safe play or else use Cutler’s athleticism running the football for a first down. Despite having a conservative game plan most weeks, he minimized mistakes and kept the Bears in the game, which after last year’s disaster of a season was a welcomed sight for not only fans but also players.
Gase parlayed his success into a head coaching job in Miami where he earned control of the 53 man roster and will maintain play calling responsibilities.
Vic Fangio — After being exiled out of San Francisco, Fangio landed a position with the Chicago Bears. He managed to turn miscast players into productive players, most notably Willie Young. Lamarr Houston had a nice year after recovering from a torn ACL, and the defense again kept the Bears competitive in nearly every game.
Fangio didn’t receive any interviews for head coaching jobs this offseason, so it will benefit the Bears to have continuity on the defensive coaching staff. Players are complementary on Fangio’s teaching style and ability to make players of all skill levels feel comfortable in the defense.
Overall between continuity with Dowell Loggains hired as Gase’s replacement for offensive coordinator and the continuity on the defensive side of the ball, the Bears should make gains between continuity and increasing the talent level, the Bears should compete for a playoff spot. The Bears coaching staff earned an A-, with the only issue being the handling of the Jeramiah Ratliff situation.