Fox reportedly forced to keep Studesville

Just two weeks ago, Panthers running backs coach Jim Skipper had been rumored to be joining the Broncos' staff under new head coach John Fox. On Thursday, the Broncos announced they had completed their coaching staff, and the man who had spent nine years working under Fox (including the last five as his assistant head coach) was nowhere to be found among the Broncos' employment rolls. Today, Skipper is without a job.

Carolina announced yesterday they would not be retaining Skipper, on whose behalf several Panthers players had lobbied. Where do the Broncos figure in this story today? Skipper had indeed been offered an undisclosed job by the Broncos and Fox, but Denver's new coach apparently did not have the option of choosing his own RB coach. In Skipper's words, "Foxy's hands were kind of tied...I appreciate John trying, but he was creating a spot for me.

There is likely more to the story, perhaps involving Skipper's potential job title in Denver or possibly a pay cut. Either way, John Fox will not have his own right-hand man at his side with the Broncos in 2011. According to Darin Gantt's article in the Charlotte Observer, Denver's brass had asked Fox to retain Eric Studesville as his running backs coach. Studesville had been the Broncos' interim coach following Josh McDaniels' firing and led the team to a 1-3 finish, and perhaps his signature moment was putting QB Kyle Orton in the position of essentially announcing his own demotion to the press.

This is a somewhat puzzling turn of events, and I'm a bit disappointed that the Broncos may have foisted Studesville upon Fox rather than allow him to hire his trusted advisor. What do you think?

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM