By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Deep beyond the John Fox coach-speak, the Bears leader really wants to beat the Broncos.READ MORE: Man Shot While Standing Outside In Old Norwood Park
Fox’s four years in Denver finished with what was termed as a mutual parting of ways, the cover for a divorce between the coach and boss, John Elway. While Fox is an accomplished coach, Elway is the powerful hand at the Broncos’ wheel, and the two had differences. Off went Fox to Chicago, just days after he left behind four playoff appearances.
So, with the Bears battling the Broncos on Sunday at Soldier Field, Fox was questioned all week about facing his former team — asked in a variety of ways, with reporters seeking something, anything, about the bitterness that must exist, because of course Fox wants to pummel the group that let him go.
“Like all games, we’re looking forward to it,” Fox said, sticking to his usual message.
But, Coach, the Broncos made you walk.
Even after four postseason berths — one with Tim Tebow at quarterback! — and a Super Bowl appearance, they made you leave, Coach. You can’t treat this game the same as any other, right?
“I don’t think they’ll adjust the win or loss column,” Fox replied in a dismissive tone.
Fox is lying, taking the high road. Sure, he has great memories in Denver and plenty of lifelong friends. He cherishes the time with Peyton Manning, the future Hall ofFamer who is out for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. Fox brought the Broncos some of their best days and some of his, too.
But make no mistake, while Fox wouldn’t say it, there’s nothing more he wants than to beat the Broncos on Sunday. Elway admitted to differences with Fox and his disappointment that the coach didn’t have his team “kicking and screaming.” Fox must have the greatest desire to stick it to Elway and his Broncos.
Heck, it’s human nature.
Even better for Fox are the circumstances at hand, presenting the perfect scenario for an oh-so-sweet victory. The Bears can win this game because Fox is a darn good coach.
Chicago would reach .500, an even 5-5, with a roster largely projected to be an afterthought, finding success with excellent coaching and team character. On Sunday, the Broncos and their Super Bowl hopes come to Soldier Field with some chinks in the armor.READ MORE: Miss And Mrs. America Nation Pageant Highlights Diverse Cultures; CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot Honored As Multicultural Woman of the Year
Without Manning at quarterback, the Broncos must hope backup Brock Osweiler can manage the game well enough to keep the top-ranked defense fresh. Denver has lost the possession battle the past two games, and the defense allowed a combined 668 yards and 56 points in a pair of defeats.
Sunday’s game will be won by the team with a better game plan and which can dictate the game. The Broncos’ defense can be broken for a third straight game if the Bears can keep their offense on the field. Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, another man that Elway let walk, can win by establishing the run game and keeping the clock moving.
Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can come aggressive with a blitz, attacking the backfield and pressuring Osweiler into mistakes. If Osweiler is uncomfortable, the Bears’ defense is doing its job.
These aren’t the same Broncos, with Manning injured and a backup making his first career NFL start — his first start since playing at Arizona State four years ago. Adding to that, star edge rusher DeMarcus Ware is likely out for the game, too.
Las Vegas listed the Bears-Broncos with even odds to open the week. Who could’ve imagined that just a few weeks ago?
“A lot of people make a lot about the talent level and all that stuff,” Fox said. “But through experience, how you play the game, the mindset you play the game, can overcome some of those things. I just like the state of mind of our team right now.”
This much is certain: Fox will have his Bears kicking and screaming on Sunday.
The Bears could be without Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Pernell McPhee and Antrel Rolle. They’ll certainly have Eddie Royal absent for another game. Throw Kevin White’s name in there, too. Oh, and this was a team that won five games all last season, before the dismissal of Marc Trestman and an coaching staff.
In Chicago, Fox has worked wonders with a team that didn’t seem close to competing this season. Suddenly, the Bears have emerged in the playoff picture.
On a bone-chilling-cold Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears can beat the Broncos and take another step in this surprising season. Chicago can defeat a better Denver team, Fox can out-coach his replacement and revenge would be earned on Elway and the entire organization.
Wouldn’t this be a sweet victory for Fox? You better believe it.MORE NEWS: Chicago Attorney Cannon Lambert Sr. Sworn In As New President Of Cook County Bar Association