It’s not official yet, but next year there will be a new coaching staff leading the Chicago Bears. That became crystal clear, when the Bears went down 20-10, with a whimper, and without challenging the next weakest team in their division, the Detroit Lions.
Too bad for Detroit and their fans that they didn’t get a full measure of a real opponent against their own mediocre team. Too bad for them, that they will probably keep their coaching staff in place for another season or two before realizing that they should’ve blown it up long ago.
I understand that lately I have been defending Bears head coach John Fox and trying to give cause for his retention. But that was all predicated on demoting or striping the play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. Fox has refused, and this past Sunday was the penultimate example of why Loggains and Fox will likely never coach again, when they are canned for their stubborn refusal to adapt or adjust their philosophies on offensive football.
There is something brewing behind the scenes at Halas Hall that is sure to explode once this season finally ends. I have 3 predictions:
First, whether it be after an embarrassing loss to the 0-14 Cleveland Browns next Sunday, or the following Monday after the Bears season mercifully ends against the division champion Minnesota Vikings, John Fox and his staff will be fired.
Second, on his way out the door, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, will throw his former mentor Fox, under the bus. Loggains, desperate for another job, because he is relatively young to be looking for his 4th coordinator’s job, will become a fountain of whining complaints and excuses when the media gather round him and ask him about being let go. At that point, he will blame Fox for wanting to play conservative and not (sniff) giving him a chance to develop Mitchell Trubisky (a tear). Never mind that this is exactly what the media wants to hear.
If I write in a disdainful tone, it’s because I’ve heard this crap emanate from Loggains mouth the last two years during his weekly pressers with the media jackals. And to be clear, not all of the media are jackals, maybe half of them, and I’ve mentioned some by name during this season.
Loggains has always joked at his pressers about Fox yelling at him for not running the ball and has often spoken with the tone of a child who thinks he knows more than his dad. Against Detroit, Loggains wanton desire to continually pass the ball became his and the Bears undoing once again. Never mind that the Bears ran for over 200 yards against the Lions a few weeks ago. Never mind that statistically Detroit is one of the worst defense’s in the league against the run. And never mind that the Bears best player is running back Jordan Howard, who is already breaking Bears records for rushing yardage in only his 2nd year. That Howard is pursuing a league rushing title, in spite of Loggains and the Bears failures on the offensive line this year, speaks to his enormous talent, endurance and perseverance.
In the Bears latest loss, the Lions opening drive consisted of touch back field position at their 25 yard line, another bad unnecessary roughness penalty on the Bears for 10 yards, and a single crossing route that Lions QB Mathew Stafford completed for a twenty five yard gain. The Bears held the Lions to no more and Detroit kicked a field goal to go up 3-0.
Then the Bears got the ball on their own 16 yard line after Tarik Cohen, unwisely, once again, tried to return a certain touch back that would have put them at the 25, like Detroit. The Bears first down, actually completed a quick 10 yard pass to star running back Jordan Howard for a first down at the 26 yard line. Next was a three yard pass from Trubisky, that looked like a wide receiver screen gone bad, no blocking. Then a hand off to Howard straight into the middle of the pile, no gain. 3rd down and 7 yards to go, a pass over the middle, broken up by the defender, time to punt. Detroit gets ball at their own 37 yard line.
Bears defense holds with two sacks of Stafford and Detroit punts the ball back to the Bears, which goes into the endzone for a touch back. Bears get the ball on the 20 yard line, the standard starting point, after the punt went into the endzone for a touch back.
On first down, the Bears do another quick pass, on the left side this time, that looks like a another bad screen pass, and Tarik Cohen runs back across the field for a measly two yard gain. Second down was a run by Howard up the middle for a yard, and on 3rd down Trubisky dropped back to pass, moved up in the pocket and was easily sacked. 4th down, the Bears punted the ball back to Detroit, where they started another drive on their own 37 yard line.
See the pattern developing here. Bears go 3 and out, most of the time. And the opposing team usually gets good field position because the Bears don’t move the ball, in spite of passing 2/ 3rds of the time. This has been the pattern in most of their losses this season.
Detroit, has a decent drive mixing in short passes and runs for a 50 yard drive that ends in a field goal, at the start of the 2nd quarter. Detroit up 6-0. First quarter stats for Bears offense: 7 plays, 2 punts and one first down. Jordan Howard 1 reception for 10 yards and a first down, and 2 rushes for 5 yards.
Bears get the ball on 25 yard line after the kickoff and touch back. Detroit defensive line is offsides so Bears first play is on 1st down and 5 yards to go, after the penalty. Jordan Howard runs up the middle for 3 yards. He runs to the left for three more and a first down.
So far, on drives starting with getting the ball to Jordan Howard, 2 first downs. How many first downs when you don’t start getting ball the to Howard? Zero!
So, Bears first and 10 at their own 31. A Trubisky pass to nobody, 2nd down. A running play with a bunch formation, which means every Bears player is near the ball on the line of scrimmage. It’s Loggains favorite formation, even though it never works! And guess what? Tarik Cohen takes a four yard loss when one of the Lions, 10 DEFENDERS in the box (the defensive area adjacent to the offensive line), comes through unblocked. 3rd down and 14 yards to go. Screen pass to 3rd down specialist, running back Benny Cunningham, ends a yard short of the first down.
That the Bears were short is not incredible. But what I read in the Sun-Times, that reporters Adam Jahns and Rick Morrisey, actually questioned that John Fox should go for the first down, is incredibly stupid.
Consider that it was 4th down and at LEAST a yard at THE BEARS OWN 45 yard line, when the score was only 6-0. I know that these reporters question everything, but sometimes you have to try and think like a coach in order to not look insane to your readers. Fox wisely punted the ball away. Not his fault that Detroit, in hindsight, got a decent return from the punt and good field position at their 37 yard line again. They would drive and get a touchdown to make it 13-0.
That sealed away the victory from Fox and his incompetent protege Loggains, who would go on to have Trubisky throw the ball 46 times in total and with three interceptions. Fox just can’t win! And neither could the Bears, who were outrushed by the WORST RUSHING TEAM IN THE LEAGUE, 90 yards to 43, on 20 and 15 carries respectively. The Bears passed the ball by a three to one ratio, and Loggains and members of the media complain about how conservative Fox is. Maybe, just maybe, the head coach knows more than the writers and coordinator, who are half his age.
Third prediction: Fox will take his firing with grace, and the criticism from his former protege, and the media, with silence. I hope Loggains never coaches again at the coordinator level. 3 and out!