NEVER TOO EARLY TO LOOK AHEAD

The Sun- Times’ ex­perts can an­swer your Bears ques­tions all week on Twit­ter. Here’s a sam­pling of queries sent to @ patrick­fin­ley, who re­sponds with more than ( checks new Twit­ter rules) 280 char­ac­ters:

Chicago Sun-Times - - BEARSBEAT - PATRICK FIN­LEY Fol­low me on Twit­ter @patrick­fin­ley. Email: pfin­ley@suntimes.com

@Bar­berSquires: As a fan I feel hope­less but I know this team is bet­ter than this. What do you ex­pect this team to look like in 2018? From coaches to FA and the draft where do you see us?

A: As up­set as John Fox’s bosses are af­ter Sun­day’s loss, I ex­pect the Bears to give him the rest of the sea­son to try to save his job. If they do make a change, I’d look for an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor who has suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped a young quar­ter­back be­fore. Mitch Tru­bisky’s growth is the fastest way to mak­ing the fran­chise rel­e­vant. Look­ing at the ros­ter, they’ll need to ei­ther draft or sign two wide re­ceivers, a dy­namic edge rusher to play op­po­site Leonard Floyd and a cor­ner­back they’ll be able to count on for years. They’ll prob­a­bly sign a vet­eran backup quar­ter­back, too.

@BearsEst1920: Who’s more re­al­is­tic as a [ head coach] op­tion, Jim Har­baugh or Jon Gru­den?

A: Nei­ther? Har­baugh is mak­ing $ 7 mil­lion this year as Michi­gan’s coach. Two years ago, af­ter Gru­den signed an ex­ten­sion with ESPN through 2021, au­thor Jim Miller es­ti­mated he was mak­ing around $ 6.5 mil­lion per year. To get ei­ther to jump to the Bears, the team would have to con­sider dou­bling Fox’s $ 4.5 mil­lion an­nual salary. And then there’s this not- so- small point: If Fox is fired, the Bears still will have to pay his salary next sea­son. I guess Gru­den is the more re­al­is­tic pick be­cause he doesn’t have a coach­ing job.

@MKa­nia04: What do you think of Pat Shur­mur for HC can­di­date? He’s a guy not talked about at all, but he’s got a pretty good re­sume.

A: He went 9- 23 in two years as the Browns’ coach and won his one game as the Ea­gles’ in­terim boss post- Chip Kelly in 2015. But has the Vik­ings’ of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor de­vel­oped a young quar­ter­back? He coached Sam Brad­ford as a rookie and Nick Foles in his stand­out sec­ond sea­son. So … not re­ally?

@drew­molina: Can u paint a sce­nario where Fox is gone and Fan­gio stays?

A: Team­ing up with Har­baugh again, maybe? It’d be tricky. Were Fox fired, Fan­gio would want to be in­ter­viewed for the head- coach­ing va­cancy. If the Bears talked to him and passed, would he be will­ing to re­turn as co­or­di­na­tor? Fan­gio’s con­tract is up at the end of the year, so he’ll be free to look for other jobs, ei­ther way.

@Dar­rylCon­rad: Who is re­spon­si­ble for the pa­thetic Bears of­fense? Shouldn’t the Bears not waste an­other seven games run­ning this garbage?

A: You’d rather the quar­ter­back draw plays in the dirt? The next seven games have value — Tru­bisky needs to de­velop while run­ning the same sys­tem he has worked to per­fect since the day he was drafted. There’s plenty of blame to go around, from a front of­fice that signed Markus Wheaton to coaches who have pri­or­i­tized ball se­cu­rity over dy­namism.

@ Road­Ninja49: Why don’t we see more of Taquan Mizzell in the pass­ing game?

A: “Smoke” has played two of­fen­sive snaps all year — one against the Saints and one against the Pan­thers. The rea­son you don’t see the fourth- stringer more is sim­ple: Tarik Co­hen is a bet­ter pass catcher and Benny Cun­ning­ham is the su­pe­rior pass blocker.

John Fox Jon Gru­den

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