Bears coach John Fox looking for answers after another loss
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By GENE CHAMBERLAIN
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Losing is wearing on the Chicago Bears, coach John Fox and his staff.
The heat on Fox and the Bears coaching staff has increased with each defeat in a five-game losing streak, although the Bears coach said Monday he hasn't discussed his job status with team ownership or management.
"I haven't heard anything one way or the other," Fox said. "I wouldn't ask. That's more how I see it.
"I'm doing everything in our power to put the best product on the field day to day, week to week. I control what I can control and that's what I can control."
Fox's contract has one year left after this season. Fox said there has been nothing negative in his dealings with Bears general manager Ryan Pace.
"It's been very positive from the standpoint of a working relationship, like everybody, even you (media) to some degree," Fox said.
"It's frustrating, no doubt. That can't deter you. You just keep rolling, and like I've said, we've got four games, the final quarter of our season. As soon as today's over and we're done talking about yesterday, we're on to Cincinnati."
In Sunday's 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers (2-10), the Bears offense misfired for the second straight game as they fell to 3-9.
With the defeat, Fox (12-32) has the worst winning percentage as a coach in Bears history at .272. Abe Gibron had a .274 winning percentage (11-30-1) from 1972-74.
The offense has gained only 140 yards and 147 yards in the past two games with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. And the offense managed only seven points Sunday against San Francisco. The other score came on special teams.
Fox said he hasn't considered changing offensive coordinators.
"That's not been kind of productive for me in the past, No," he said.
Playing Trubisky after starter Mike Glennon was unproductive has led to problems as well as injuries to receivers.
"I'd like to have been more productive offensively, but the reality is we're kind of where we are," Fox said.
"(We're) playing a lot of young players, in particularly at the quarterback position. I've seen improvement in him. And that's kind of what I look for is are we getting better."
Trubisky went 12 for 15 for only 102 yards Sunday.
"I thought Mitch played arguably his best game," Fox said. "There were a couple decisions I think he'd like to have back, not that they were huge errors.
"We did not turn the ball over, we were plus-1 in the turnover ratio, we had a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown. If you'd have told me that before the game, I probably wouldn't have envisioned any way we'd lose that game."
Players are left searching for meaning in their final four games, including three on the road.
"I think it's our job as the older guys to keep everybody's spirits lifted up, and make sure everyone has the same approach, same attitude to work," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "Bottom line is, we need to find a way to finish these close games. We're still searching."
The Bears have lost six games by eight points or fewer, but losing at home to San Francisco is rough even for a 3-9 team.
"Not embarrassing," Amukamara said. "I would just say we're disappointed.
I think there are games in the NFL where you look and go, `OK, we should win this game; we're pretty confident.' To be forward and blunt, this (49ers game) was one of those games. I would say we just disappointed ourselves."
The Bears' defense has been riddled with injuries, and lost outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on Sunday to a shoulder injury. They already had lost their top two pass rushing linebackers to injuries - Willie Young (triceps) and Leonard Floyd (knee).
Guard Kyle Long aggravated a shoulder injury and Fox said one option being considered is putting him on season-ending injured reserve.
New kicker Cairo Santos aggravated a groin injury and on Monday the Bears placed him on injured reserve and signed Mike Nugent as a replacement. Nugent started his NFL career in 2005 and has kicked for five teams, including the Bengals from 2010-2016.
"You know, I think losing some guys has had a little bit of an effect on that, but that's not an excuse, just reality," Fox said of losing. "You know other than Philadelphia I think we've played competitive games and we just keep coming up short.
"I understand the angst and you know the frustration because we feel it."
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Updated December 4, 2017