Bears: John Fox's four core values will decide who stays, who goes


Bears: John Fox's four core values will decide who stays, who goes

John Fox has worked at rooting out some of the negative culture left over from the two years under Marc Trestman pretty much since he arrived from Denver to succeed Trestman. That involved winning football games as well as personnel changes within the locker room and above.

Some of that has worked, a lot hasn’t, all summarized in a 5-9 record.

Fox sent a decidedly pointed message in his remarks following the loss at Minnesota. It’s been a message amply evident before that embarrassing performance but became more pointed in the waning days of a formative season.

“We are going to be marching forward,” Fox said, “and we will find guys that will be part of our core.”

Meaning that the core is far from in place and also in formative stages.

[MORE BEARS: Another leg issue casts cloud over Bears WR Alshon Jeffery]

Fox and staff together with the personnel staff of general manager Ryan Pace have their templates for what they want. But as much as any physical traits, Fox’s template stands on what he considers core values:

“Focus, Intensity, Preparation and then really the Mental Toughness to create all those things on a consistent basis,” Fox said, acknowledging, “so we’re not there yet.”

Fox has had favorite axioms framed and hung on Halas Hall walls, things like, “Ability is good but dependability is critical.”

The message has been sent and heard, even if not entirely or consistently acted upon.

“Those words always come up,” said defensive end Willie Young. “Obviously those are some topics that we could talk about all day, but those are some key components to us getting this thing turned around.

“I think truthfully it’s something that every individual, whether it’s football or life in general, you go down that list and you ask yourself are you staying true to those principles? If your answer is yes to every one of them, then you’re doing the right thing. You’ll come out on top.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

As much as the losses, the way of the losses has bothered Fox. Lack of focus. Lack of intensity. Lack of preparation. Lack of mental toughness.

Some decisions have been made for 2016. Some are still to play out over the remaining 120 football minutes over the next two weekends. But as to who has or how many have been disappointing in the search of a core, Fox still uses one standard.

“I’m not good at the blame game,” Fox said. “To me, it’s all of ‘us.’ It’s coaching, it’s playing, it’s executing. Ultimately, we’re all in it together. I would say I’m disappointed in our record and kinda really leave it at that. Because that’s kinda what we’re measured on.”

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.