The Chicago Bears aren't playoff-bound and only one game remains in the regular season, so John Fox is beginning to reflect on his first season as the team's head coach. The Bears have shown improvement since starting the season with three straight losses, but the team is still trying to find its identity amid a major rebuilding project.
Fox said his team is starting to develop a "player culture," which he believes is key to building a championship atmosphere.
Via the Bears' official website:
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One of the things you try to create is a player culture. They're the guys who play the game. Sure, coaches are part of it. We've got systems, schemes, but at the end of the day [the players] have to execute.
The term 'team' -- Together Everybody Accomplishes More -- and doing it for your teammates and doing it for something bigger than yourself helps create chemistry, an edge, whatever word or label you want to put on it. It's empowering guys to lead.
In my experience with different teams, different championship teams, you had that. Whether it's been here with the Bears or with teams you've experienced or I've experienced, it's something you try to establish. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes [a while]. I think we're developing that. We're not a finished product yet by any means.
The Bears have a chance to finish 7-9, if they can beat the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field in Week 17. That's not a terrible record, considering defensive coordinator Vic Fangio led a transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base and offensive coordinator Adam Gase transformed quarterback Jay Cutler into a clean and efficient passer without any reliable receivers.
Five of Chicago's nine losses were decided by one score, including two in overtime. If a few more bounces go the Bears' way, they can be a playoff-caliber team as soon as next year.