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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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...
UPDATE 3:27PM ET - Mr. Dirk Koetter has arrived at Dove Valley for his interview, according to Jim Saccomano via Twitter.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As mentioned yesterday, Gregg Williams will indeed interview for the Broncos' coaching vacancy on Wednesday. According to Klis, this may round out the group from which Denver will select its next head man - Perry Fewell, Eric Studesville, Rick Dennison, Mr. Dirk Koetter, John Fox and Gregg Williams. Klis does go on to say that Denver may add another coach or two to the list after the weekend; obviously it'll be interesting to see if
Mark Mike Mularkey gets an interview after saying "Thanks...actually, no thanks" to the first invite, should the Falcons get knocked out. It appears Ron Rivera has the gig in Carolina, so he's likely out of consideration.
Although the Broncos did not play this weekend, I have to tell you - I didn't miss them one bit.
It was time to put this season out to pasture. Did we really need to see another backyard Slip 'n Slide party from the defense?
Sure, I could have used a few more game tapes on Tim Tebow. And I would have liked to have watched Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas work themselves into more consistent wide receivers. I would even have enjoyed listening to Brian Xanders tell us that he would have drafted Arian Foster instead of Knowshon Moreno if not for Josh McDaniels' Napoleonic tendencies.
But, of course, it's time to move on. So let's get to some smaller Gut Reactions from this weekend. I'll do my McDaniels' best to keep everything Broncos related. What does that mean? I guess it means I won't (supposedly!) tell Brian Xanders.