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John Fox: Honest, direct, straight

Plain-spoken John Fox would rather "understate and over-produce."

There was no "growing the man." There was no "growing the football." There was just a grown-up NFL coach talking about playing grown-up NFL football.

"Football is a combative, physical game," new Bears coach John Fox offered in his plain-spoken manner. "It takes combative, physical people."

Party's over. Get tough or get out.

Fox is no Marc Trestman, and everyone who cares about Bears football is better for it.

There weren’t a lot of wow moments during Fox’s introductory news conference Monday. There was nothing indicating Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall or Shea McClellin will be gone this week.

But there was honesty. Fox talked like a realist. It was simple, but not simple-minded. Fox is a basic football coach who starts with the basics.

"Running the ball and stopping the run -- that’s the essence of football to me," Fox said.

Fox characterized his role as the team CEO. He cited motivating coaches and players to help them do their jobs better. He reeked of leadership. You know who's in charge.

Fox comfortably addressed the media and Bears Nation on Monday. He paid homage to holding the same position as George Halas and expressed his respect for the McCaskeys.

But one of the most Fox-like moments came later when he didn’t go full meatball about the so-called rich tradition of the franchise that has been more poverty-stricken of late.

“That (Lombardi) trophy is kind of lonely out there in the hallway,’’ Fox said with equal parts deadpan and blunt honesty.

Fox didn’t seem overwhelmed by that task, either. That’s what happens with someone who has done the job before, a concept previously foreign to the Bears.

"I'm brutally honest," Fox said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t."

If nothing else, it's a refreshing change for a franchise that just dumped a coach who couldn't say publicly that Marshall ran the wrong route.

Players will get that. Players will love that. Discipline sounds like it just barged back into the Bears locker room.

Fox understands the fuss about the demands of his new position, but he doesn’t feed it. He came across as confident in his ability, but not loud about it. He'd rather "understate and overproduce," a plan that worked successfully in his prior stops.

He took a 1-15 Panthers team to the Super Bowl in two years. He took a 4-12 Broncos team to the playoffs with Tim Tebow in his first season and to the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning in his third.

"We in the past have made pretty good jumps," Fox said. “We’re looking to do that. I can’t predict how fast that will happen, but I believe it will.’’

That’s why he’s here: to turn around the 5-11 Bears and lead them to the promised land. He wants to do it with “smart, tough people,’’ and he displayed why those kinds of players would follow him. Why those kinds of players would believe in him.

Honest. Direct. Straight.

The Bears landed the best coach available, and he sounded like it.

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