Staff growth Lard 1-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Fox was formally introduced yesterday as Denver's head coach. Fox covered plenty of (shallow) ground during his presser, and he was unsurprisingly noncommittal on the futures of Champ Bailey and Tim Tebow and whether his Broncos would favor a 30- or 40-front on defense. He said zone-blocking "will definitely be a part of our offense," but like Josh McDaniels stressed before him, all teams use a blend of zone- and angle/power blocking in their offensive schemes. As Ted had written on Thursday, Fox said he likes to be involved in all facets of the game as a manager-type but will not call plays on defense; he leaves the playcalling on both sides to his coordinators.

During his presser, Fox said he will "most definitely" retain some of the Broncos' incumbent assistants, but as of now there's no word on who is staying. Fox said that OC Mike McCoy, who spent seven seasons working for Fox in Carolina, "is definitely in consideration," but that both McCoy and the Broncos "have options." McCoy is reportedly also in contention for the Browns' and Chiefs vacant coordinator positions, but there's no word on whom else the Broncos are pondering for OC. Legwold says Fox is pursuing Jim Mora to be his DC, while WR coach Adam Gase may switch over to working with the QBs - which of course signals an exit for Ben McDaniels. Plus, Eric Studesville will be back as the RB coach according to Legwold.

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John Fox introductory presser Open Thread

John Fox's introduction as the Broncos' 14th head coach will be streamed live via the team's website at the top of the hour. Discuss Fox's comments here...

Fox takes over; case for McCoy Lard 1-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Fox will be introduced as Denver's 14th head coach today at 2PM ET at Dove Valley, just two days after his interview with the team trainer Broncos' executive committee. Fox will turn 56 in a few weeks and carries with him a 73-71 record over nine years as Carolina's head coach, along with a reputation for tough, physical teams that thrive at running the ball on offense and keeping opponents out of the end zone. Fox has worked in the NFL as defensive backs coach with Pittsburgh and San Diego, defensive coordinator for the Raiders and Giants, and head coach of the Panthers.

Over his 21 years in those capacities, Fox's pass defenses have ranked on average 10th-best in the NFL in passing TDs allowed, leading the league three times, and ranking 8th or better ten times. His pass defenses have ranked in the league's ten best in interceptions 11 times in 21 years. In Fox's 16 seasons as a DC or HC, his defenses have ranked on average 12th in both points and yards allowed, including nine top-10 rankings in scoring defense and seven top-10 yardage rankings. In those same years, Fox's defenses have ranked on average 15th in rushing scores allowed and 13th in rushing yardage. In 8 out of 16 seasons, Fox's defenses have ranked among the league's top 12 in takeaways.

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What a John Fox defense looks like

I’m pretty excited about the hiring of John Fox.  He wasn’t my first choice, but when Gregg Williams declined to be interviewed, I started to warm to Fox over Perry Fewell.

I’ve said this a few times, but I’ll do it again.  While I ordinarily favor offensive coaches, this Broncos football team was screaming for a guy who leans to defense.  After all of the ridiculous turnover on that side of the ball, coupled with a non-systemic approach to player acquisition under the Shanahan regime running into a short-lived McDaniels regime, there are a lot of mismatched parts that don’t play with much cohesion.  I think that getting one system in place, and playing it for a long time, and acquiring players specifically to fit it will be hugely beneficial.

Here’s the thing, though.  John Fox isn’t a system guy, really.  He’s a football guy, who manages the whole team, and leaves the systems and the play-calling to his coordinators.  His overall framework, though, is one that emphasizes toughness, preparation, execution, and intelligence.  The Broncos got a decent start on becoming tougher and more physical under the McDaniels regime, but there’s still a ways to go, and Fox will always push for getting more physical, on both sides of the ball.

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The Broncography of John Fox

And so it begins...

The Denver Broncos went with the candidate who had the most experience at the head coaching position, and the most coaching experience, period among their three finalists - Rick Dennison, Dirk Koetter and John Fox. The announcement of Fox’s hiring came via Twitter from John Elway; Fox will be the 14th head coach in Denver Broncos history.

Much like Denver's last head coach Josh McDaniels, Fox has a reputation as a man who is devoted to making sure that the details are taken care of. Said Fox,

When I went into the Panthers at 1-15, it was very similar. We had a second (overall) pick, the rebuild (here) is probably going to require a little more on defense than offense, but I have a blueprint that we executed in Carolina, and I don’t see any reason why it can’t work here. I’ve been doing it. I have a plan, whether it’s a bye-week schedule, a training-camp schedule. It’s not my first rodeo, so to speak. I do have a blueprint to do it. We’ve had success — some years more than others — but I think the full body of work is a blueprint for success.

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John Fox named Broncos’ next head coach

UPDATE 3:48PM ET - John Elway has announced via Twitter that John Fox will be the Broncos' next head coach. Let's hope Mike McCoy and Ben McDaniels stick around...

UPDATE 4:05PM ET - Within an article announcing the hire on their official website, the Broncos have released a statement from Fox, who says:

I am very thankful to Pat Bowlen and John Elway for giving me the opportunity to coach a football team with such a proud tradition. The Broncos have a culture of winning, and I am excited to continue that legacy. I can’t wait to get to work, pushing our players to be the best they can be and representing this community as head coach of the Broncos.

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How sly is this Fox? Lard 1-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As many of you noticed, I wasn't too easy on John Fox yesterday, and I'll admit that my perception of Fox has been shaped by just a single decision of his. As a New Yorker, I watched his defenses with the Giants thrive for several years, and frankly I was a fan of Fox the DC. Where I lost a bit of respect for Fox was during his Panthers' SB loss to the Patriots; his team fell behind 21-10 at the very beginning of the fourth quarter, and just two minutes later his team scored a TD to close the score to 21-16. With nearly 13 minutes left in the game, Fox decided to go for two, and I yelled at the TV, "No, what is he thinking?!?!" There was too much time left in the game, and anything could happen from there on out. Unfortunately for Fox & Co, it did - Carolina scored another TD less than six minutes later, again went for two and failed - Panthers 22, Pats 21. NE scored next, went for two and converted to go up 29-22, and then the Panthers scored a tying TD with just over a minute to go. This set the stage for the first Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri Show, and the latter's FG ended the game.

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Fox has arrived in Denver

3:54PM ET - Here's Mason's entry on Fox. Plus, the requisite mid-interview shot.

3:22PM ET - Fox told the assembled reporters that he had dinner with Broncos QB Tim Tebow prior to the 2010 Draft and cited the player's intangibles. He also reiterated John Elway's viewpoint that Tebow is in a developmental stage and where he goes is up to him. As for his ability to turn the Broncos around, Fox cited his experience with Carolina, where he inherited a 1-15 team and took them to the Super Bowl just two seasons later. Fox also says Denver has a "huge home-field advantage" and "great fanbase".

3:09PM ET - According to Andrew Mason, John Fox has arrived at DIA

Is this all?! Lard 1-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Denver coaching search is becoming more puzzling and worrisome by the day. Only last week, John Elway said "Preferably we’d like to have some head coaching background in the NFL, but it’s not a must." So far, this has translated into two guys with 11 games of head-coaching experience between them (Perry Fewell, Eric Studesville) and two guys who've never been NFL head coaches (Rick Dennison, Mr. Dirk Koetter) interviewing, while two former real, actual head coaches decided not to interview (Mark Mike Mularkey, Gregg Williams). The other former head coach scheduled to interview (John Fox) has made two failed attempts to fly out of North Carolina due to a snowstorm. Yet somehow, his replacement in Carolina (Ron Rivera) was able to fly to Charlotte to accept his new gig. Maybe they're just hoarding airplanes in NC by allowing landings and no takeoffs?

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Interviewing Rick Dennison

They were, like the Rockies themselves, supposed to be the granite base upon which the Denver Broncos' rushing and passing games stood. As it turned out, the offensive line was instead the shifting sands that helped derail Josh McDaniels’ tenure in the Rocky Mountains. Over the past two seasons, the Broncos' offensive line was the franchise's weakest in many years, and their changes from 2008 to 2010 were among the most important sideshows in the process of watching a team mired in mediocrity turn into a bottom-dwelling anomaly, the likes of which Denver fans haven’t seen since around the merger of the AFL and NFL. It now appears possible, perhaps likely, that things will come around full circle.

Rick Dennison interviewed with Denver today, and he will be hoping for an encore of several different kinds. Firstly, Dennison was one of the few coaches retained when Josh McDaniels first came into Denver in 2009. With the retention of RBs coach Bobby Turner and the drafting of Knowshon Moreno shortly thereafter, Denver fans saw a glimmer of hope in the running game. While many fans were leery of the trade that involved Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton, they held high hopes that the Denver rushing attack would rebound to spark the Broncos' offense after an injury-plagued 2008. Sadly, that turned out to be as fleeting a dream as the morning mists...

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