Bernstein: What Was John Fox Thinking?

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) My DVR could have done me a solid and failed to record the second half of whatever the Bears claimed to be doing against the Browns on Thursdaynight.

But after spending time watching the Cubs handle the Braves and Ohio State impose its talent level on Indiana, a quick check of what happened at Soldier Field revealed nothing but more morbid curiosity after another spate of injuries and some truly bizarre and inexplicable decisionmaking at the end of the game.

Lamarr Houston was playing well, so of course he’s hurt again. Victor Cruz may or may not have made the team, but he left with a leg injury. The most significant loss was Connor Shaw, first to a possible concussion and then to a hamstring pull, but not for reasons having anything to do with him.

Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky had to re-enter the game at the bitter end, and instead of protecting him as much as possible, the Bears chose to expose him. It made less than no sense, particularly because he began the game with three series of nothing but handoffs behind more competent blockers. So, fine, let him use the week to prepare as a starter and run with the first team in practice, then play it safe.

Instead, coach John Fox oversaw what looked like a calculated temptation of fate by calling three passes on the last five plays, in the final minute of the most meaningless practice game, trailing 25-0. He even took a timeout with 11 seconds to go, only to run one last play behind a garbage offensive line so Trubisky could end up sacked as time expired.

The justification was lame, with Fox saying, “Anytime you trot between those lines, you’re exposed.”  That won’t cut it, because Fox knows full well how to mitigate a quarterback’s exposure.

Fox is terrible at explaining himself even when circumstances can support him, but these can’t. His double-talk this time around only demands more scrutiny as to why he didn’t do more in his power to keep the most important player the franchise has had in a long time away from entirely unnecessary danger.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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