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Chicago Bears (3-13) stick with John Fox, Ryan Pace

By The Sports Xchange 

Chicago Bears head coach John Fox. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The McCaskey ownership family continues to support Chicago Bears coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace after a 3-13 season, although it doesn't say anything about future seasons.
Bears chairman George McCaskey on Wednesday said evaluation is performed on a season-by-season basis, and results from the rebuilding efforts of both Pace and Fox were slowed by injuries in 2016.
"(Pace) talked from the beginning about how this was going to take time, about how we needed to be patient," McCaskey said. "I told him I'm not a patient person, but I promised him that I would be patient.
"With all the adversity that we've had, I like the steady hand that he and John have had on the team. These guys fought for each other all season. They never pointed fingers. And I think that's a credit to the type of player that we have. And I think it's also a credit to John and his coaching staff for keeping them together."
McCaskey's mother is the team owner, and daughter of founder George Halas. After the firing of general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman in 2014, McCaskey said his mother was "pissed off" over the state of the team.
"She'll be 94 tomorrow," a tearful George McCaskey said Wednesday. "She has outlived her dad, her mom, her only sibling, her husband and a son. She's had her share of heartache. But she is a remarkably resilient person. I tell people that she's tougher than her dad was. And those who know her don't disagree.
"This is hard for her. Every loss is painful. But she supports what we're doing. She's on board. Like every Bears fan, she wants more wins. And we intend to get them for her."
After the regular-season finale, Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery predicted a Super Bowl in 2017 for the team. McCaskey liked his view.
"The goal everywhere, every year is to win the Super Bowl," McCaskey said. "I think what Alshon said was great. I think he was trying to put his teammates on notice, that winning the Super Bowl begins in the offseason, and that they should get away from the game, rest, heal up, but then get after it in their offseason programs and be ready to go when we start minicamp."
McCaskey refused to deal in hypotheticals when asked if the patience level will be the same if a similar win-loss scenario occurs in 2017.
"Well, there's a great line in the movie True Grit: 'I don't deal in hypotheticals. The world as it is is vexing enough,' " McCaskey said. "We're trying to get better every day.
"Every season is evaluated at the conclusion of the season on the merits of that season."
--General manager Ryan Pace continues to look long term at rebuilding the team, even if the first two years of Fox's tenure have produced only nine victories.
Fox remains coach, and in Chicago there had been no serious talk or rumors of his departure as a disappointing season concluded.
In a wide-sweeping postseason press conference Wednesday at Halas Hall, Pace stressed the need for improvement from a 3-13 team that had 19 players who finished on injured reserve.
"We're not going to sit here and hide behind our youth and injuries," Pace said. "We need to evaluate everything and we need to get better."
--Coach John Fox said there are no plans to change the coordinators. Running backs coach Stan Drayton announced after the season that he was leaving for a similar job in college with Texas.
"Looking hard at myself, all the coaches, everybody involved in football, there's no doubt we have to get better," Fox said. "Our issue is consistency and it was playing four quarters sound solid technique fundamental football for four quarters."
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains had been the coordinator most often criticized during the regular season, but the offense finished in the middle of the pack in terms of yardage.
The Bears committed more turnovers (31) than all but two teams and finished tied for 28th in scoring.
Following Wednesday's press conference, the team fired offensive line coach Dave Magazu and defensive backs coach Sam Garnes.
--The Bears' quarterback situation is one general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox will look long at during player evaluations next week.
Jay Cutler started only five games due to injuries, and finished on Injured Reserve, rehabbing after a shoulder injury. His contract has reached a point where the team can trade him or cut him without suffering salary cap damage.
Pace said no decision will be made on Cutler until after team evaluations next week.
"I think it's something we're going to be looking at this off-season," Pace said. "First of all, I understand the importance of that position, the magnitude of that position. And hey, we basically played with four quarterbacks this year, you know, definitely three.
"And so it's a position we're looking at. It's a position we're going to evaluate. Those meetings next week will be huge for that, but trust me, I understand the magnitude of that decision going forward. That's a critical, critical decision for me and this whole building."
Pace said he met personally with 30 players on Monday and Cutler was one.
"You know there's a lot of real candid conversations that take place and a lot of transparency and honesty, so some of those things I'd like to keep between us," Pace said.
"But I think you know once we make a decision as an organization whatever it is, you know he'll be the first to know and his agent, Bus Cook, will be the first to know and I made him that promise. But again those decisions haven't been completely finalized yet but when they are you know he'll know immediately."
--The Bears should be well equipped to add talent after the disaster that was 2016.
"The silver lining is that it forced a lot of younger players to step up and we liked a lot of the way a lot of those younger players responded," Ryan Pace said.
The Bears draft third in Round 1.
"We're going to take advantage of the position that we're in," Pace said. "We're top five in cap space this year in free agency. With that comes major, major responsibility.
"We're picking extremely high in every round. We've got to take advantage of that."
One position of primary importance mentioned specifically by Pace for an upgrade will be the secondary.
"It's a position that is going to be a major need going forward," Pace said. "And I just think we had too many injuries and bumps that kind of derailed that a little bit."
--Wide receiver Kevin White, the 2015 first-round draft pick, is expected to make a full recovery after a second broken leg, and eventually run the 4.35-second 40-yard speed he displayed at 2015 combine.
White suffered fractures in the same leg his first two years, although the one this year was of a different nature and less severe according to Pace.
"It's entirely recoverable," Pace said of White's speed.

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