The New York Giants became the first team this season to fire their head coach and general manager due to poor performance. The move increased mounting pressure for Bears general manager Ryan Pace to fire John Fox before the end of the season as a Fox firing is inevitable anyway.
The longer Pace sticks with Fox this season, the more in danger Pace’s job becomes as well.
When the Bears general manager was hired back in 2015 he was hired in tandem with Fox to restart the rebuild following the failed Phil Emery regime. The head coach and general manager have combined for just 12 wins over their year span. Many of the team’s losses have been very similar to one another as of their 32 losses, 19 have been by one score or less.Furthermore, of those 19 losses, the team either led or was tied late in eight of those games only to eventually lose.
Since their win over Carolina back in Week 7, the Bears have preceded to lose their last five games. Every loss has led to an increase in calls for Fox to be fire.
Many believe that Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains are not the right fit for grooming rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and are actually stunting his growth. The team has averaged just 12 points on offense in those five games and has only had one trip into the opponent’s red zone in the last two games.
With four games remaining, the team is at risk of finishing with another 13 loss season especially as more and more injuries pile up. When the Bears take the field in Cincinnati on Sunday, they could possibly be missing five of their 11 opening day starters on defense. Injuries have been a common occurrence for Pace’s team, and when depth is lacking on a roster, the general manager usually gets the blame.
A move to replace Fox and give an interim coach a chance to coach the last few games could shift the focus from Pace’s and a banged up roster. If the interim coach finds a win or two in the last three games and Trubisky has a few good games, the focus on Pace needing to be removed would decrease.
Furthermore, it would show that the Bears ownership full entrusts their young general manager to find a head coach of his choice and give him full power in getting the team winning again.
Allowing Fox to finish the season could put Pace in a really bad situation as after the Cincinnati game, the team will have one more nationally televised game, one more home game, and a finale against one of the NFC’s best teams.
Two of the three games could see the Bears getting blown out, one in front of the nation, and another against a successful division rival. In 2014, the Bears suffered similar losses which were just too much of an embarrassment for Bears ownership to tolerate as they fired both head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Emery.
Last season, the Bears loss to the Redskins on Christmas Eve had drawn attention for the massive lack fan attendance. Attendance was on a steep decline in the last four home games starting with the Titans game at the end of November.
The team will play on Christmas Eve again this year against a possible winless Cleveland Browns team which could be a loss. If the Bears were to give the Browns their first and only win of the season, with Fox still at the helm, it may be too much for Pace to survive.
Pace has shown an ability to find talent as he has found quality players in all three of his drafts he has overseen. His free agent decisions have been questionable at best as he’s sigedn good players such as Akiem Hicks and Prince Akumarua, but also has had failures in Jerrell Freeman and Markus Wheaton. Fox making the same mistakes with different players signed or drafted by Pace puts both in trouble as it shows them as bad talent evaluators.
The current Bears general manager could find a head coach this offseason that brings the team back to prominence, but the longer he stands idle on the current coach he could be out of a job on New Year’s day as well.