Resident hot seat rider and Bears head coach John Fox has recently started to make a case to keep his job with a two-game win streak over average teams-a major step up from barely winning against bad teams from a season ago. Coming off the heels of an oddly commanding 17-3 win over the Cam Newton-led Panthers, it would be wrong to say there wasn’t some optimism in the air.
And now the division appears to be wide open, with the Vikings offense still learning what a football is and the entire city of Green Bay trying to figure out how to complete a successful clavicle transplant. Detroit still hasn’t hit their annual collapse so as of right now, they’re really the only competition the Bears have in their run for the division.
Fox has devised the perfect plan for such a task. In order to keep his job and win the division in the process, he has created a scheme that the only defense is playing competent, fundamental sound football. After retooling it in the loss to Vikings, he perfected it against the Ravens and now it has evolved into a full-fledged monster, simply showing off against the Panthers.
For reasons beyond human comprehension, this strategy has won the Bears a whole two football games so far. Head coaches, take notes because the plan he has employed can be boiled down to four easy steps:
Step one: Do not, under any circumstance, use the quarterback in any way, shape or form
Yeah, the Bears drafted a quarterback with plenty of promise second overall after trading up for him. But that doesn’t mean you have to use him. Just let the kid call the plays (Power right or left obviously, don’t want to confuse him too much) and make perfect handoffs. It’ll do wonders for his confidence.
It doesn’t even matter who you have at quarterback. If he has a quarterback number, he will do.
Wait. Are you telling me Trubisky wasn’t happy with his play? Well, he better get used to it because his handoffs are about to become elite.
Step two: Your defense is your offense
Since your offense will be running in circles (literally) and can not be relied on for offense other than the off chance of making a field goal, your defense has to score. Eddie Jackson is the prime example of this ideology. He alone scored every touchdown in the game against the Panthers and the Bears won on the strength of that.
When your defense is your offense, you don’t even need an offense. Just waste twenty minutes on offense and your defense will do the rest.
Step three: Your defense is also your defense
Oh yeah, your defense also has to shut out offenses because we all know your offense isn’t going to get points on the board.
Step four: Hand the ball off no matter the situation (use screens if absolutely necessary)
This part is beyond question the most imperative portion of this scheme. First and ten? Hand the ball off. Second and twelve? Hand the ball off. Third and twenty-three? Now, this is where things get interesting. Here a little dink and dunk screen could be useful, the defense is spread out protecting against the pass and if executed properly, could result in a first down. But nah, the defense is expecting that so hand the ball off instead.
So there you have it, coaches. Unless a team knows how to a) not turn the ball over and allow for 75-yard scores and b) be strong in the run game, the opposing team probably deserves to lose in the first place.
Ok, ok, all seriousness now, Fox runs an offense straight out of a 1950s high school game and against ineffective offensive teams, it’s a strategy that works if tied in with a little luck. Surprisingly enough, this isn’t something that will work against teams with even just a solid offense.
Ryan Pace has surrounded Fox in athletes, players that can be used in a spread game utilizing finesse and pace as it’s main weapons. However Fox has opted for an extremely conservative approach to moving the ball and yeah, while it’s winning games against lowly teams, if the Bears want to have any chance as the aforementioned wide-open division, they must begin to adopt a much flashier style.
Is flashy good every play? No, not at all. But there needs to be a mix of flash and grit that this Bears team is capable of achieving. The personnel is there, Fox just outright refuses to use them. Luckily, it’s early in the year and the time for change is plenty. But unless a complete revamp of the offense is sooner rather than later, fans of Chicago may need to wait a few more seasons until playoff football returns to the Windy City.