Bears

John Fox won't commit to or deny a quarterback change: 'We're looking at everything'

John Fox won't commit to or deny a quarterback change: 'We're looking at everything'

John Fox, on Friday, wouldn’t rule out changing quarterbacks and starting Mitchell Trubisky Oct. 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. But the third-year Bears coach didn’t announce anything, either. 

“I’m not really trying to be clear,” Fox quipped. “Actually quite the opposite. But we’re evaluating every day.”

The Bears are 1-3, though, and with an opportunity to self-scout in this break between Thursday and Monday night games, everything is being evaluated. But there isn’t a go-to wide receiver walking through that door who can alter the complexion of this offense. The Bears aren’t going to find an impact guy stashed on a practice squad or in free agency. Whatever work there is to do will have to come from within, and most likely, the guys who are already starting.

“It’s 11 people executing and doing their job,” Fox said. “I think as I’ve referenced, the quarterback gets a lot more credit and a lot more blame than they deserve. We’re looking at everything and we’re not in big rush to do anything about it because we don’t have a game until next Monday night.”

There’s one position, though, where a change to the depth chart could make a difference. And it’s the one played by Mike Glennon, Trubisky and Mark Sanchez. 

Fox almost certainly knows this, even if he’s not publicly saying it. Back in 2011, Fox dropped Kyle Orton after five ineffective games in which the Denver Broncos were 1-4 and Orton had seven interceptions and eight touchdowns. Tim Tebow replaced him and took care of the ball better (12 TDs, 6 INTs), and the Broncos won seven of their final 11 games and reached the playoffs. 

If the Bears are going to make a quarterback change, there’s no reason for Fox to announce it now with over a week until the team’s next game. The Bears may have already come to a decision that Trubisky will start, or they’ll come to that decision over the weekend or into next week. Or maybe they’ll decide to stick with Glennon (or, alternatively, play Sanchez). At this point, everything is on the table. 

“We watch these guys practice every day,” Fox said. “That’s the unique thing we get to evaluate. I’ve seen steady growth (from Trubisky). It’s altogether different I think. Most quarterbacks would tell you that. All of a sudden your experiences in college, your experiences in the preseason and then you get to the regular season. People talk about this as well. You get to a playoff game. It ramps off. So you don’t really know that until you put somebody out there. You’d like to have them as ready to take the test as possible and typically the more you study the better you get.”

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents. 

That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?

The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room). 

So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure. 

Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return. 

“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”

If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length. 

Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game? 

Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: