As much as I would like to make immediate changes to the coaching staff, I think you would have to let this season continue to play out. There is probably no benefit to stirring things up with 4 games to go, especially in respect to the players, when major changes will have to occur in the off season, regardless.
I would let Fox know where he stands though, and tell him that there had to be some signs of life in the overall performance of the team in these final 4 games, in order to save his job. Media pitchforks be damned.
And at the same time, the coaching staff would be under instructions to not let any injuries happen to players, I deem as part of the core going forward, where the Bears are losing by more than two touchdowns in the fourth quarters of the remaining games. This means that even Trubisky should be benched in games that are getting out of hand, not to mention running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, and offensive lineman, center Cody Whitehair. On the defensive side, linemen, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman need to be kept healthy if possible.
One of the first things I would do as General Manager is look to acquire assets given up in the deal that brought Mitchel Trubisky to the Bears. The Bears will go into next years draft without the third round pick they gave up to acquire the young quarterback of the future. Looking at the Bears roster I believe their biggest areas of need are in order; offensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback, offensive guard, wide receiver and linebacker.
This is the time of year when I would be looking to poach players from other teams practice squads to fill in holes in my roster, so that I don’t have to spend a draft pick on those positions during the draft in April. The benefit is that I acquire a player for free. I get the rest of this season to evaluate a player who has already been practicing at the NFL level, and most likely this player is at quality level at least equal to any player I would draft between rounds 3-7 in the upcoming draft. It’s all about acquiring assets.
Every team has a practice squad of 10 players that are not on the active roster of 53. Those players can be acquired for free, but have to be paid for a minimum of three weeks, and if released from the active roster, offered back to the team from which they came.
There are a couple of players that immediately come to mind.
Johnathan “Bug” Howard, wide receiver, Cleveland Browns practice squad. Played with Mitchell Trubisky at North Carolina, already has chemistry with Bears quarterback and at 6 foot 4 inches tall, gives the Bears a big target like Alshon Jeffery used to be.
Cornelius Edison, center, Minnesota Vikings practice squad. Originally signed by the Bears in 2015, signed and released 5 times in a year. Signed with Atlanta, cut and signed with Minnesota in Sept. 2017. On Vikings practice squad currently. Bears desperately need a backup center who can play guard. Current backup center Hroniss Grasu, can’t play guard and can’t play center either. Should not be on the Bears, should be in Canada playing football up north where he can have a ten year career. Edison, would provide youth over guard Josh Sitton and versatility over Grasu.
These are two moves that could happen immediately to improve the roster depth at key positions for the rest of the season and save the Bears from possibly wasting draft picks at areas and positions where the just need better depth.
I would then use the Bears 1st pick in the draft to get the best defensive pass rusher available or trade down to target the best left offensive tackle in the draft. He just might be Mike McGlinchey, the 6 foot 8 inch tackle from Notre Dame, who is going in most mock drafts between 10 -15 in the first round. The Bears might be picking in the top five if they continue to lose at this historically bad rate.
The reason I would target these positions is because of the value they represent in order to build a successful football team. The offensive and defensive lines are the foundation of any team. They are the first things you secure in order to have a team that competes for the playoffs every year.
Current general manager Ryan Pace has sabotaged head coach John Fox by avoiding and neglecting the lines with a piecemeal free agent, whatever is out there, approach, i.e. Josh Sitton and Bobby Massie. He believes he has found his quarterback of the future but has surrounded him with an aging broken down line with inadequate broken down backups. He is the guy in charge, does he not see the lack of health and mobility of his own players. Do the coaches or training staff?
This will all be on full display against the Cincinnati Bengals, as the Bears trot out Grasu again to play center and move Whitehair to Kyle Long’s spot at guard, after shutting down Long’s mangled body for the rest of the season, at 29 years old.
Geno Atkins and the Cincinnati defense will crush Trubisky and the Bears makeshift line. But Bears might keep it close if the defense can find ways to score again, not improbable, against the awful Andy Dalton. Bengals 23-13.