Newly minted Denver Broncos head coach John Fox is about as far as you can get from his predecessor (thank the Lord above). And other than the obvious fact that he brings some adult leadership back to the position, he will bring one other very critical change: a running game!
In an article this morning in the Denver Post, Woody Paige had this to say about Fox:
"He doesn't wear, or look at, either.
"'I came back to get a winning ring. It's why I do this.'"
I don't know about you, but that is the kind of talk I want to hear in my head coach. He is here to create a winner, not to feed his ego.
So what will we see from this man and his philosophy about attaining that elusive winner's ring?
First, we will see a toughness that has not been on this team for quite a long time. And this will be a trademark of the entire team; if you aren't tough, don't bother to put on your jock, because you will not be here come next practice, next game or even the next play.
What a refreshing thing to look forward to! And this applies to mental as well as physical toughness. There won't be the stupid McBean face mask penalties that cost the D a stop. There won't be the unnecessary holding penalties by rookies that cost the offense first downs.
There won't be missed blocks or tackles on either side of the ball or on special teams. Because if those things happen, then someone else will step into that player's spot and Fox will move on.
As to the physical side, we will see players who love contact, who can't wait to get on the field of battle and get it on. I am talking about smash-mouth, old school football. Uniforms will be dirty, torn and bloody and helmets will be scratched and dinged.
In a word, no more Mr. Nice Guys in Broncos orange and blue. Off the field, yes, but not while under the watchful eye of Mr. Fox.
We will see a back-to-basics style where the first, second and third options will be to run the ball, given the field position and down and distance. We won't see many trick plays because, one, they don't work very often, two, they can cause turnovers or lost yardage and three, they aren't manly.
We will see a true Run First approach. And here is a telling (in my opinion) quote from John Fox while discussing the difference between him and his first head coach, the late Sid Gillman, a pass-first kind of guy:
"I'm the opposite. I'd rather use my worst run play than my best pass play."
Now, if that isn't the direct opposite of someone by the name of Josh, I don't know what is. It will be incumbent on every member of the offensive side of the football to be tough, know their plays, not live in the training room and make first downs.
We will undoubtedly see some new faces on the offense, both in the line and in the backfield. On the line, we will see players who can hit, have good feet and can pull and lead running plays. We will see WRs and TEs who can block at the line but also at the second level down field, whether for their fellow receivers after a catch of for their RBs when going for that extra three to five yards.
We will see the QB play geared towards game management and error-free play. If anyone doubts that, look at the most successful Fox teams—the ones that made the playoffs—and the QBs that were on those teams: Kerry Collins and Jake Delhomme. QBs that can do exactly what was mentioned above, manage the game and not make mistakes.
And we will see low scoring games, on both sides of the ball.
The toughness theme carries over here as well. He wants players who are smart, can hit, can tackle and LOVE them some contact. Again, mistakes and stupid penalties won't be part of the action. Players will know their assignments and will fulfill their assignments. We won't see all those "Was that your man? Whose man was that?" after the other team burned our secondary with nobody within 10 yards of them.
And we will see the end of the arm tackling. Thank God! How many times did we see players in position to make the stop but instead of wrapping up, they thought a shoulder was enough. Not gonna happen on John Fox's watch.
And whether we go back to a 4-3, which many are predicting or stay with a 3-4 or some hybrid mix, it doesn't matter. We will have the best system for the players we have and will have the best players for the system we use. But even if we ran a 2-9, it will be the best, toughest 11 players and they will do what they are paid to do: play hard-nosed defense and stop the other team from moving the football.
Like the other two sides of the game, this will be better. We will see the best hands catching the kicks and we will see the meanest and best tacklers on the kicking teams.
I doubt there will be many long returns because everyone on special teams will know their role and will fill their holes.
In conclusion, we will begin to see all these things I have laid out in the upcoming draft and in the free agent signings. That means on who we keep and who we bring in.
There will be a whole lot of new faces on the roster and in a lot of different positions. But one thing they will all have in common is their love of the game and their love of hitting someone.
It will be a far different team than a lot of the "wine and cheese" crowd has watched almost since the Bowlen Palace opened in the late '90s, and some folks may not like it.
But one thing is certain; I sure will. Go get some!
Just one Bronco fan(atic)'s opinion.