MR. INTENSITY, THE SILVER FOX
I know this was a tough few days for new EVP of Football Operations, John Elway. With all the players in this little roadshow backing out, taking other jobs, etc., it made things a bit more muddied than a lot us would have thought it would be.
I wrote in an earlier article about what 10 things might help turn around this franchise. I had John Fox as one of the three coaches I wanted to see here; granted, I had him as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, but I did see a lot of value in his having a part in rebuilding this gloried franchise.
But now that we have him "in the fold," what does that mean for the Broncos? For the fans? For the rest of the AFC?
First of all, he will bring a bucketload of experience to the job, having been a defensive coordinator, a head coach, a position coach and a player—all of those past experiences are valuable to the situation he finds himself in now.
And the past year's record at Carolina aside, he has taken on rebuilding programs, both at the defensive side of the ball and as the head coach.
Was this a good hire for the Broncos?
And like it or not, fellow Bronco fans, we are in the beginning of a massive rebuilding program here.
To that point, he should get no less than three years to accomplish that Herculean task. Does that mean he can go 2-14 for his first two years? Absolutely not, but to expect a 9-7 year next year, although it's nice to think about, would be asking a lot considering how few horses he has in the Bronco barn at this point.
Here is what I sense will happen going forward.
With Fox's input, Elway will have a large say in who gets the offensive coordinator position here. I say that for a couple of reasons: One, Fox is a defensive guy and I think Elway wants him to focus on that side of the ball because that is where the major deficiencies lie, both in talent and in Two, continuity.
Remember, we have had five DCs in five years. This isn't good for the players, the fans, the team and the future. We need some type of stability, at least for the next few years and Fox can bring that if we give him a chance.
One question that we will see answered very shortly (like when they announce the new DC) will be: Are we sticking to the 3-4 or going back to his version of the 4-3? This will impact a lot of things but will definitely show up in the draft decisions this year.
If we don't trade down and out of the second slot (which we could to get more choices), I see the real possibility that we could see Auburn's Nick Fairley here, especially if we go to the 4-3 again. He would be a BEAST at DT.
I also think we will see a more intense but controlled defensive scheme here. What I saw in Fox's defenses in New York and Carolina were very good athletes being put into positions where they could make plays. But I also saw discipline, in that everyone knew their job and there wasn't much freelancing.
To rebuild a defense, this is a critical foundation on which to build, especially with the lack of talent we have here now.
And this may be a hiring decision that could get CB Champ Bailey back in the fold, if he thinks we are truly focused on rebuilding the defense this time. If this were to happen, this would give Fox another arrow in his quiver to help mentor and revitalize this lethargic and wimpy defense.
This will give Elway a shot at having more influence in the managing of the offensive side of the ball. With Fox and his new DC doing their magic on the D side, Elway and the new OC will be trying to develop a decent running game and solidify the offensive line. They will be looking at who will be the two or three RBs that will carry the load over the next year.
And don't be surprised to see Denver either draft a RB in the third through fifth rounds, but also the possibility of trading for one or signing one off of free agency.
I also see us going after free-agent TE Marcedes Lewis (P L E A S E!) so we can actually have a receiving threat at the TE position again. Maybe it is just me, but I haven't felt we had a game-changer at TE since Shannon Sharpe retired.
Tony Scheffler was moving in that direction, but was jettisoned before he could fulfill that role here.
Another option might be to see if we can get Mike McNeil out of Nebraska in a lower round. He is a close replica of Dallas Clark in Indy.
So, to summarize and bring this to a close, I think it was a very good hire, given where the team and franchise is and that Fox may be smarter than most of the chickens in the hen house.
But results will be the measuring stick. If he and the Elway braintrust can't draft any better than the last clown in the HC role, then it won't matter much how good Mr. Fox is or isn't.
Because as they say, you can't make a Super Bowl winner out of a pig's butt.
Or something like that.
Welcome aboard the SS Bronco, Mr. Fox.
Just one Bronco fan(atic)'s opinion.