The Chicago Bears are finally winning football games.
After seven weeks, the Bears have won three games, which matched the franchise-worst total in 2016.
For a fan base that has been deprived of wins as of late, this seems to be the turnaround that many have been waiting for. The Bears have an opportunity to be 4-4 going into the bye week, putting them in position to be at .500 for the first time since Oct 12, 2014. If the Bears can reach that landmark, most fans would be ecstatic and hopeful for what may come in the future.
Here’s the thing
If the Bears want to have any hope in the future of becoming a team that can consistently make appearances in the playoffs – they need to stop winning.
The magic number for head coach John Fox is seven. If Fox can end the season with seven wins there’s a good chance he will remain as head coach. And if he remains head coach, the organization will continue to miss the focal point of this season, developing the future, Mitch Trubisky.
On Monday night, DaBearsBros had the privilege of having Sun-Times Bears’ writer, Adam Jahns, on the podcast and he answered some of our questions.
Brandon asked him, “Is it Dowell Loggains play calling for the reason the [Bears] receivers are kinda weak or is it quarterback play? What’s your opinion on Dowell Loggains?”
Jahns acknowledged that the receivers aren’t the best but he made an interesting comment that made me realize why the Bears offense is so run heavy.
I get the criticism of Dowell Loggains but everybody seems to be ignoring John Fox’s influence on the game plans,” Jahns said. “He [Fox] doesn’t call Loggains’ plays but he really leads the design of the game plan. John Fox wants to run the ball so Dowell Loggains is going to run the ball.”
Jahns also mentioned that Loggains would like to throw the ball more, but he has to adjust the game plan to how the head coach likes it.
Fox is a run-first minded coach and that is evident in the offensive game plans going into each game this season. When Jordan Howard has carried the ball 20 or more times this season, it has translated to three wins. The formula is clearly working but in those wins (except Pittsburgh), Trubisky has thrown the ball only 23 times.
Instead of focusing on Trubisky’s growth, Fox is fixated on getting wins to secure his job for next season. Even though Trubisky is getting game experience, he isn’t getting the full effect of reading defenses, learning what throws he can and can’t make and ultimately, what it actually feels like to be a quarterback in the NFL.
If people argue “The Bears have nobody to throw the ball to”, then how does one explain how former Bears’ wide receiver Deonte Thompson after five days of being with the Buffalo Bills goes for 107 yards on four catches. If Thompson, an undrafted free agent in 2014, can have a 100-yard game, then former first-round pick Kendall Wright can do the same.
It’s not about who the Bears have at receiver but more of what plays are being called to put the group they have in the best positions to succeed. However, that hasn’t happened in Loggains two years as offensive coordinator, but it all goes back to Fox and what he wants implemented in his game plans.
What’s alarming is that Fox’s run-first philosophy isn’t going to change the rest of the season and if the defense keeps ascending and scores points, it may get him enough wins to secure his job. The Bears may be winning games, but Trubisky won’t be getting much better, and isn’t that the real point of the season?
Opposing teams are going to find ways to take away the Bears’ running game and it will be up to Trubisky to find ways to put his teammates in positions to make plays. But when he throws for less than 20 times per game, how is he supposed to get in sync with his guys and be expected to fit the ball in a small window when he’s not asked to do that all game?
Trubisky is being set up to fail and that has been evident when he has thrown the ball this season. The Bears tend to put the ball in the air when they haven’t run the ball effectively on first and second down, putting Trubisky in third-and-long situations, which begs for him to be blitzed and sacked. This year’s No. 2 overall pick is being asked to be a game-manager when he has the capability to be a game changer.
Fox had his opportunity to win in Chicago and now that time has passed. The Bears will get back to their winning ways but it won’t be with Fox and that is the best case for the organization to become relevant again.