Talk is indeed very easy to come by, especially in minicamps. But putting coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in context for purposes of credibility:
The Denver Broncos went from 32nd in both points and yards allowed in 2010. Bringing in Fox, the Broncos improved to 20th in yards and 24th in points – and from four wins to eight, plus a playoff win with Tim Tebow – in one year.
The San Francisco 49ers jumped from 16th in points and 13th in yardage to No. 2 and No. 4 respectively in Fangio’s first year, that under Jim Harbaugh.
With their respective credentials in mind, consider:
Three of the Bears’ first four draft picks were on offense. In each of his three drafts, former GM Phil Emery used at least two of his first three picks on defense, including 1-2-3 last year. (Which, parenthetically, makes the epic failures of the last two seasons even more glaring, but that’s not the point here.)
Yet with rush-linebacker Vic Beasley and cornerback Trae Waynes available – both ostensibly “need” areas coming out of the 2014 nightmare season – the Bears and GM Ryan Pace came out of this draft with just one “starter” on defense.
Coach John Fox Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio began their respective tenures at Denver and San Francisco with Top 10 picks pointed toward defensive linchpins. After an offseason that has brought in Sam Acho, Mason Foster, Jarvis Jenkins, Pernell McPhee and Antrel Rolle, no one was apparently pounding a table demanding help on that side of the ball.
Fangio has alluded to Jared Allen, Kyle Fuller, Shea McClellin and Christian Jones in unsolicited, very positive terms. Why that’s noteworthy is because the word on Fangio is that he is nothing if not brutally blunt in matters of performance.
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Meaning: If he didn’t like what he was seeing, he wouldn’t have provided false positives.
“It was told to me early on when I got here that they’ve given up more yards and points the last two years than anybody in the league,” Fangio said. “So we’re going to have to make our own building blocks. But I think any time you come to a new place, the first job is to make the players you already have better. That’s our job, No. 1, before you talk about free agency and the draft and whatnot. So we need to make the guys that we have here better.”