Bears Insider Drops Big Hint on State of Pace and Fox Relationship

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ryan pace john fox
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 13: during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

A lot of Chicago Bears fans were a bit confused when the Chicago Bears failed to make any sort of move on the coaching staff or front office. The team had just gone 3-13 after all. One would think a significant change was warranted after such a debacle. Instead nothing more than a series of changes to the lower assistant coaching staff was made. The Ryan Pace John Fox partnership remained firmly “joined at the hip” heading into 2017.

Pace continued to insist that the team has not long any sort of faith in the 62-year old Fox. Last season was unfortunate but much of it was out of his hands. Specifically in regards to the injury woes. A total of 21 players on injured reserve alone? It’s hard to win with problems like that. Pace believes stability and Fox’s experience still serve the greater purpose for what is a rebuilding team.

However, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune dropped a curious bit of info that changes the outlook for this coming season and what may result from it.

Ryan Pace John Fox tandem may separate soon enough

During one of his weekly mailbags, Biggs was posed the question on whether it was wise that the two remain together through this process. His answer? An interesting look into the reality of their situations looking towards 2018.

“Could Fox be fired and Pace be allowed to hire a second head coach? That’s not outside the realm of possibilities. You insist they’re joined at the hip but it’s not entirely that way. Pace was signed to a five-year contract and Fox was signed to a four-year contract. Fox answers to Pace but ownership ultimately has control, right?

Maybe Pace seeks an offensive-minded head coach after the season. Maybe the Bears stay healthy and play well for a decent stretch of the season and finish 8-8 with the arrow pointing up into 2018. There’s an awful lot of ground to cover between now and the end of the season.”

That’s a pretty big admission from a Bears insider and the first real indication that the bond between GM and coach isn’t as solid as the organization makes it out to be. Rumors have persisted for the past few months that there’s a divide between Fox and Pace. How big a one it is remains debatable but it can’t be surprising.

The power of losing

When a team is losing as much as the Bears have, it creates lots of tension. Coaches and GMs can sometimes have different ideas about how to approach such a problem. That creates disagreements which can easily lead to division. It’s unclear at what stage those two are at presently. One thing is clear enough though.

Mitch Trubisky is in place now. The Bears higher ups know the critical job moving forward is to build around him and do everything possible to make him a success. To do all the things they failed to do with Jay Cutler. If John Fox can’t get this team aimed in the right direction this year, there’s every reason to think Pace won’t blink about making a change.

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Erik Lambert
Brainwashed by the sports culture as a wee lad, Erik was educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College. He has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.