6 Things to Expect from John Fox in His First Year as Denver Broncos Head Coach
The Denver Broncos get set to play their fourth and final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, but many Bronco fans have turned their attention to the regular season. The expectations for new head man John Fox seem to have been lost and muddled in the Tim Tebow-Kyle Orton controversy.
John Fox will be looking at the players who are on the fringe of the roster cut list tonight, but he understands that the city of Denver- specifically football- have been used to a winner which will have to happen quickly or else the boo birds will be coming with great haste.
Bronco Country has enjoyed the new style of play that Fox has implemented into Denver, but they will only love it if it translates into wins. The Broncos are 2-1 in the preseason and even though they are exhibition games, it shows that Fox is bringing a winning attitude to the city of altitude.
Here are some things to expect from Head Coach John Fox.
Improved Rushing Attack
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Broncos flat out stunk last season and many fans wanted to call for the bust tag on Knowshon Moreno after yet another injury riddled, disappointing season.
Enter John Fox. The Broncos have looked very good in the ground game with a nice dose of Moreno along with newly acquired free agent Willis McGahee. Moreno lost close to 20 pounds this past summer and his new lean look has translated to getting tough yards and being able to get to the outside and upfield. McGahee has already proved his worth by showing what type of back he is: a downhill, excellent pass catching, between the tackles back.
Fans can expect Fox to definitely improve this running game because let's face it, it cannot get any worse than last year. Lance Ball has been a very pleasant surprise this preseason in the backfield and was very successful on a bad Denver squad last year.
Jeremiah Johnson had gained a lot of fan support, but he is one of those fringe players for a roster spot. He will need to have a big day in Arizona if he wants to make this team.
A Hit on a Round 1 Rookie
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
The Broncos have been unable to find a superstar in a draft, let alone a first-round draft pick the last couple of years, but Fox may have struck golf in No. 2 overall pick outside linebacker Von Miller.
Miller looks like he is the real deal in Denver with his impressive acceleration off the line and his ability to get to the quarterback. With Elvis Dumervil back in the mix and already looking in midseason form, the Broncos have a deadly attack on the edges and were able to flex their muscle against Seattle with five sacks in three quarters.
The Broncos are expecting Miller to be the real deal, especially after Fox and company passed on Marcel Dareus, a massive defensive tackle in which the team had a huge area of need. I expect Miller will be Defensive Rookie of the Year and he will give Broncos fans reason to get on their feet every weekend.
Tight End Becoming Relevant
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
This past year the Broncos saw their greatest tight end (some may argue the best ever) get inducted into the Pro Football hall of Fame. However, since the departure of Shannon Sharpe the Broncos have not had a tight end that has been able to make a similar impact.
Tony Scheffler was a nice option, but he was pushed out of Denver by He-who-shall-not-be-named; Daniel Graham was not a pass catching threat; and Richard Quinn was a total bust. The Broncos now have a flurry of tight ends that are dual threat players. Daniel Fells seems to be a delight with the starting team, but rookie Julius Thomas has really shown his colors early on in the preseason.
One thing we can expect this year is for Fox to work the tight end position more and more in the game plan so that the Broncos can have yet another weapon in their arsenal.
Hard Nosed Defense
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
The Broncos, in a very small sample size (preseason), have shown that the Broncos defense will be a force to be reckoned with. John Fox hired new Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen to make the Broncos defense feared and so far it seems to be the case.
Brian Dawkins is always good for a big hit now and again, but it seems he is passing that on to rookie safety Rahim Moore after Moore's big, and very clean, hit on a Buffalo Bills wide out. Miller and Dumervil are definitely the scariest bookends of a defensive line in the entire NFL. Joe Mays does nothing but lay out ball carriers and Wesley Woodyard, as you can see here, and DJ Williams are no feather dusters.
The defense has been and are expected to play with a certain swagger this season and that swagger is one of confidence and unrelenting gang tackling, hard hitting game changing plays.
A Quarterback Controversy
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
No matter what, at some point in this season their will be yet another controversy involving Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton. Orton is hands down the guy. Everyone knows that right now he is the best quarterback on the Denver Broncos roster, but if the Broncos begin to lose a string of games regardless of whose to blame, you can bet what the Monday headline will be: "Tebow Time?"
However, even though this is a headache for Broncos fans, Fox has experience in dealing with quarterback controversies: see Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore last year.
I hate to say it Broncos Nation, but you can expect a QB controversy in the 2011 season.
A Winning Attitude
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images
The Broncos are in a rebuilding phase. There is no doubt about that, but that does not mean that they will be playing for the 2012 draft. Not only will they be playing, they'll be playing to win.
Fox believesyou can have a very good team if you can play solid defense, run the ball, and put points on the board. Now even if the Broncos do not win 10 plus games this season, that does not mean that there will not be a different, winning attitude.
I know what you are saying, "What team has a losing attitude?" What I mean by a winning attitude is the way the team carries themselves with a swagger, a confidence that they can go play against anybody and compete.
Be sure to follow me on twitter for all Denver Bronco news and notes: www.twitter.com/vincesapienza