Bears: John Fox has history with Andy Reid's West Coast offense


Bears: John Fox has history with Andy Reid's West Coast offense

How do you stay the same in the NFL — in life, for that matter — while at the same time changing? John Fox has seen Andy Reid do just that, and now has to deal with Reid on Sunday when the Bears face Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs.

Fox has coached against Reid many, many times, in various capacities, with a number of teams, beginning in earnest when Reid was named coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999 while Fox was serving as defensive coordinator for the NFC East rival New York Giants.

Fox’s Carolina Panthers stepped over Reid’s Eagles into the 2003 Super Bowl with a 14-3 win in the NFC Championship. Reid did defeat Fox’s Panthers the four times they played during regular seasons. But Fox defeated Reid all four times his Denver Broncos met the Chiefs since Reid was hired in 2013.

Over the years, myriad offensive and defensive schemes have come and gone around the NFL. Even Fox himself is in the process of going from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.

[MORE BEARS: Chiefs' Andy Reid trying to recover from second-worst career start]

But Reid has stayed with a form of the West Coast offense he learned as a player and later an assistant at BYU. And (until the start of this season) it still works, with interesting modifications.

“I think Andy’s stayed pretty consistent,” Fox said. “He’s evolved with football, like all of us have to. But I think the nuts and bolts of what he’s doing — moving the pocket, bootlegs, sprint passes — he has stayed pretty close to the West Coast passing game.

“They work the combinations, percentage passing, getting rid of it quick, do that instead of a run.”

It’s in the run game, though, that Fox has seen Reid’s West Coast change, yet remain true to the principles of LaVell Edwards from BYU, Bill Walsh, and Mike Holmgren in Green Bay. Overshadowed by McNabb at times was the fact that the Eagles were 10th in rushing average in 2004, for example, the year Reid got them to the Super Bowl, fifth in 2006, for example.

Reid was a graduate assistant at BYU in 1982 when Steve Young succeeded Jim McMahon as the starting quarterback. Reid was paying attention. He was again in the 1990’s when he was an assistant with Holmgren in Green Bay with Brett Favre.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

“Andy’s always had a mobile quarterback as part of his West Coast [offense],” Fox said. “They’ve had quarterbacks who can move, like to move the pocket. He had it with Donovan [McNabb]. In Kansas City they went right away to get Alex [Smith]. And Alex is a mobile guy, athletic and he can run.”

Smith is not yet what McNabb became under Reid, but Reid brought to Kansas City with him Brad Childress, Reid’s offensive coordinator their first six years in Philadelphia, the formative years for McNabb. Childress was brought to Kansas City as a spread-offense analyst, tasked with modifying the run game within the context of Reid’s overall philosophy.

“He brought ‘Chili’ back to look into the zone-read stuff,” Fox said. “With Jamaal [Charles] they’ve always had a fast, good back both as a receiver and a runner, going back all the way to the Philly days. Now, with the evolution of the zone-read, they’ve brought that to another level. That’s kind of grown into our game and they’ve incorporated that and it always helps to have a mobile quarterback to run that stuff.

“The run game’s definitely evolved; nobody runs split-backs anymore and some of the type the run game in the West Coast when Bill Walsh was getting rolling. It evolved into an ‘I’ and now the zone-read is part of it.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins


Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.