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The first reason Broncos fans should be optimistic is a familiar face returning to the franchise, as well as bringing on a highly-respected head coach, who's played in eight playoff games in his nine years as a head coach.
John Elway, who was hired by the Broncos as their EVP of Football Operations shortly after the 2010 season wrapped up, has a bit more experience than people tend to give him credit for. Remember, this is a Stanford educated quarterback who grew up in a home with a father, Jack, who was a football coach. As John's career developed, so did Jack's, eventually signing on as a scout for the Broncos during Elway's playing days.
After Elway retired, he and Broncos' owner Pat Bowlen led a Denver-based coalition that brought the Colorado Crush, an arena football team, to Denver. Elway was heavily involved in the day-to-day operations, and helped guide the team to an Arena Bowl championship in 2005, a division title in 2006 and wild-card berths in 2004, 2007 and 2008. While it may not have been at the NFL level, the Arena League was a great way for Elway to develop the skills needed to become a successful team executive.
John Fox, on the other hand, is coming off a bit rougher recent history. With his Panthers going 2-14 in 2010, many Broncos fans were befuddled as to why the Broncos would go out and choose the only coach to be worse than them last year. That being said, Fox has thrived in environments where he could rely on a strong running game, as well as a ferocious defense.
With Fox's announcement that the Broncos would be bringing back the vaunted zone-blocking scheme, the same philosophy former coach Mike Shannahan used to create 1,000-yard no-name running backs, Broncos fans began to warm up to the coach. After he brought in Dennis Allen to run the defense, an aggressive unit that would use exotic blitzes and put the most athletic players in a position to be successful (like Champ Bailey's move to the nickelback position on third downs, a move that's worked out well for Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson), Broncos fans finally saw a level of commitment to the defense that hasn't been in the Mile High City since Larry Coyer turned the defense loose in 2005.
Broncos fans should get familiar with "The Johns," as it looks like they're here to stay.