LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- At 2-6, the chances of the Chicago Bears making a playoff push in the second half of the season are remote.
But coach John Fox said the team’s focus is strictly on the future, not on the handful of games the club let slip away in the first half -- losses that now look especially bad given how poorly NFC North rivals Green Bay and Minnesota have played in recent weeks.
“You can spend a lot of time looking in the rearview mirror driving your car,” Fox said Monday. “If you spend too much time looking back, then you wreck. So our focus is in front of us now. A couple of those games go the other way -- we’re 4-4, instead of 2-6. It sounds a little better, no doubt. But we can’t change that. We are what we are. Right now, we can be 10-6 or 2-14; that’s the reality, math-wise. Hopefully, we can move more toward the first one.
"We’ve got a whole half of a season left. Like the second half of a game, a lot can happen. There’s not as big a difference, sometimes, as people on the outside might think. We look at the tape and we evaluate things. It’s there for the taking; it’s just a matter of being a little fortunate as far as injury-wise and the way the ball bounces and how we do our job.”
Fox did admit the team needs a lot of outside help between now and Week 17. The Bears are 15th in the NFC, ahead of only the San Francisco 49ers. Barring something unforeseen, the Bears will miss the postseason for the ninth time in ten years. The club has reached the playoffs just five times since Mike Ditka was fired in 1992.
“The good news is seven of the eight remaining games are conference games,” Fox said. “It’s a clump, the second time around in our division late, I believe in the fourth quarter. So it’s going to be more about us at 2-6 getting back into it. Obviously, we could use a little help. Yesterday might have been some. I won’t know until I kind of see what we do.”
The Bears are closer to being at full strength following their bye week. Not only is wide receiver Marquess Wilson (foot/PUP list) eligible to play on Sunday in Tampa, but injured starters Kyle Long, Josh Sitton, Eddie Goldman and Eddie Royal all practiced in some capacity on Monday. The team is not required to release an official injury report until Wednesday.
It’s not a given all five players will be active versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Royal strongly believes that when healthy, the Bears have enough talent to compete with anybody.
"You look around and you see so many good players, it's like, why not win out?" Royal said. "You've got to win the first one, but we believe in each other so much that we know that we can turn this thing around."