By Chris Emma—
(CBS) The man trusted with turning around the Bears has been let go, with the team firing coach John Fox on Monday morning, sources confirmed to 670 The Score.
The move came one day after the Bears’ 23-10 loss to the Vikings concluded a 5-11 season. Fox was 14-34 in three years in Chicago, compiling the second-worst winning percentage (.292) in Bears history.
“Thank you to all the players, coaches, the city of Chicago and Bears fans everywhere, your passion for the game and this team is unmatched in the NFL,” Fox said in a statement released through the team later Monday morning. “Today is the tough part of our results-oriented business but I wish the Bears organization the best for years to come.”
Fox, 62, was hired in January 2015, with the Bears touting his experience and track record of success shortly after hiring Ryan Pace as the league’s youngest general manager. Fox had previously led the Panthers and Broncos to the Super Bowl and became available after he had a falling out in Denver with Broncos legend and general manager John Elway. Fox had gone 46-18 and won four AFC West title in four seasons in Denver.
He never could replicate such success in Chicago.
Fox was hired to replace Marc Trestman, who was 13-19 in two seasons leading the Bears before dysfunction ensued. Fox restored order in a fractured locker room while Pace went about revamping one of the oldest rosters in the NFL, but the on-field result was time and again the same.
Losses piled up and organizational growth was hard to identify.
The Bears went 6-10 in Fox’s first season as in charge, marking one victory better than Trestman’s 5-11 final season. With hopes for growth in 2016, the Bears plummeted to 3-13 to finish with their worst record ever in a 16-game schedule. Afterward, Pace stood by Fox and vowed such struggles would never happen again for the Bears.
“Obviously, 3-13 is not acceptable,” Fox said after the 2016 closed. “The buck stops here.”
“We are never going to be in this position again,” Pace added.
2017 brought some midseason hope that a turnaround was on the horizon. In October, the Bears won consecutive games for just the third time under Fox to reach 3-4. Seeking a three-game winning streak and .500 for the first time in the Fox era, the Chicago lost 20-12 at New Orleans on Oct. 29.
A loss out of the ensuing bye week was an indictment of Fox and his coaching staff. Facing a Brett Hundley-led Packers squad, the Bears played a sloppy game and lost 23-16 at Soldier Field. That was followed with a 27-24 loss to the Lions, a 31-3 loss to the Eagles and a 15-14 loss to the one-win 49ers for a five-game losing streak that made Fox’s fate inevitable. Amid the struggles, Fox’s handling and development of rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was questioned.
Fox has a career record of 133-123 in his 16 seasons as an NFL head coach. However, without the great Peyton Manning, his record is 95-113 with three winning seasons across those 13 years.
The Bears seem likely to hire an offensive-minded head coach to benefit the growth of Trubisky. Potential targets could include Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel, Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.
A press conference at Halas Hall will be conducted later Monday.
In addition to Fox, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is expected to be let go. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in January 2016 after Adam Gase left to become head coach of the Dolphins. Hired as quarterbacks coach in 2015, Loggains received his promotion in part because of a connection with Jay Cutler.
The Bears parted ways with Cutler last March and drafted Trubisky with the second overall pick in April. Loggains’ offense has struggled, ranking among the league’s worst in scoring and yards per game. The Bears were 29th in scoring and 30th in total offense in 2017.
Further changes to the coaching staff have yet to be determined.