Despite the fact that the Bears will finish last in the NFC North for the third straight season, the team is not expected to make any major coaching changes, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That means that head coach John Fox is safe, and Schefter also reports that GM Ryan Pace will be back in 2017. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com echoes Schefter’s report.
Fox, who previously served as head coach of the Panthers and Broncos, engineered major turnarounds during his second year with each of those clubs, but he was unable to do so in Chicago. After the Bears struggled to a 6-10 mark in 2015, Fox’s first year in the Windy City, the team took a step back in 2016, as they have managed just three wins heading into the final game of the season.
But the team’s quarterback situation is a mess, and much of that mess was inherited from the previous regime. The Bears have deployed four quarterbacks this season and they have 19 players on injured reserve, including a number of starters. Plus, their 2016 draft class has drawn praise from opposing executives, and Fox and Pace will be given the chance to reap the fruits of that class and to right the ship under center (which could include jettisoning Jay Cutler and expending a high draft choice on a quarterback, even though this year’s crop of signal-callers is fairly weak).
Despite all of the losing, Rapoport suggests that the team culture is still positive, so the players are still presumably supportive of Fox, who is signed through the 2018 season. Pace, the youngest GM in the league, is signed through 2019.
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