Watch CBS News

Bears Notes: Ryan Pace Earns Early Praise From Bosses

By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) Halas Hall was buzzing with activity Monday as the team unveiled new coach John Fox to Chicago. As previously discussed, it was a group effort -- involving chairman George McCaskey, team president Ted Phillips, consultant Ernie Accorsi and general manager Ryan Pace -- but ultimately, Pace had final say in the decision.

In the short period of time he's been on the job, Pace is already making his bosses proud.

"He was the leader throughout the process," Phillips said of Pace. "He was thoughtful. Very decisive. And I couldn't be happier. I think they're going to mesh and have a great relationship between head coach and GM. Which both of them talked about being the most important relationship in the building. And I agree with that."

McCaskey was equally effusive in his praise of Pace.

"Ryan was terrific," McCaskey said. "He led us in the process. He was very open to questions and ideas from Ernie as a consultant. It was Ryan's show, and he was very decisive in determining John was the guy we wanted to go after and pursue that second interview."

Pace, Fox shift focus to coaching staff

The immediate focus now turns to how Pace and Fox will collaborate on rounding out the coaching staff and then turning their attention to the roster.

Fox said he's met with all but two of the Bears current coaches under contract -- which includes all coaches from last year except quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, who was fired and recently hired by Buffalo as their offensive line coach.

Pace said that Fox is choosing his coaching staff -- which already includes special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers -- but they are working together throughout the process.

"We're working on that together," Pace said. "He's choosing his coaching staff, but he's taking a lot of input from me. You should see my office right now -- we've got this big dry erase board with all these names."

One of those names is former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who has interviewed for the job. But Pace said a contract hasn't been offered to him yet.

Pace realizes how important the coordinator decisions are for the team and wants to make sure the two are thorough in their search, but he also understands with other teams looking to fill similar roles, there's urgency to get the coaching staff assembled.

"I look at these coordinators as free agent moves," Pace said. "Sometimes your best free agent acquisition is a coach. If we get the right coordinators and the right coaches, that's going to set us up. I'm excited about it. Right now, the clock is ticking on these coordinators, so a part of me is like, 'Let's go, let's go.'"

Fox discusses his role as head coach

Fox is taking over a fractured locker room, but his at-ease attitude exudes confidence. Simply put, Fox has been here before. Twice, he's successfully led turnarounds in different cities. Fox shared a little about what his primary role is as head coach.

"As a head coach my job is to motivate and manage the football team," Fox said. "It's not one phase is bigger and better than the other one. It's all three phases, and I'm very tied in. I look at a lot of film. People talk about well, Coach, you're a defensive coach. Well, I can promise you I've seen more offense than any offensive coach known to man in 25 years.

"I know football. That's my job -- motivate the coaches, motivate the team, prepare the team, and that's both strategic and technically."

3-4 or 4-3? Fox thinks it's overblown

Fox also faced questions about what scheme the Bears may run in 2015, but he hasn't gotten that far. Furthermore, Fox went on to say that what specific scheme a team runs is more of a topic of conversation among media and fans than it is by coaches.

"Spending 25 years in this league as a head coach or a defensive coach," Fox said, "I think sometimes maybe on the outside more is made of that than reality. We're going to our players in the best position for them to have success, and that's how we're going to earn their respect moving forward because they know we can help that. Whether that's a 3-4 or 4-3 has not been determined yet."

Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.