2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Column: Broncos must find way forward without Fox

    2013-11-03 12:58

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer

Part of the understated effectiveness of Broncos coach John Fox has been his steadfast refusal to divulge a scintilla more than necessary about anything.

Injuries. Suspensions. Expectations. Arrests. Denver's coach has treated them all equally - with a shrug, a smile, a well-worn bromide about how everyone and everything in the NFL is ''day-to-day.''

In his mind, offering more than that almost always sidetracks a team. Now, in the strangest twist of all, the most shocking secret he'd never revealed may be the biggest distraction of all for the Broncos, which is saying something.

Oh, certainly, Fox's medical condition puts football in its proper perspective. He needs aortic valve replacement surgery this week to fix a lingering and dangerous condition he can no longer ignore. It came to a head during the bye week, when the 58-year-old coaching lifer took a rare day off to play a round of golf near the home he still owns in North Carolina. He started feeling dizzy and headed to the hospital.

Before Saturday's episode, doctors had told him he would need the procedure shortly after Denver's season was over, which the smart money had pegged for Feb. 3 - the day after the Super Bowl.

A different kind of coach may have let word of a condition like that slip at some point - an empathy inspiring piece of news the media would have snapped up, and one that very well could have turned the season into a ''Win One For Foxie'' sort of story.

Fox isn't that guy.

Nothing about his 2003 Super Bowl run in Carolina or his lame-duck, stiff-upper-lip 2-14 season in 2010 emitted even a hint of ''look-at-me'' grandstanding.

When he was greeted in Denver by an entire, tumultuous season full of Tim Tebow, the coach stayed in character, sticking to the party line that, yes, the kid was a winner even though red flags flew everywhere, all of them suggesting it couldn't last.

Then Peyton Manning came along and Fox, ever malleable, kept his ego on the shelf, handed his offense over to the coordinator and quarterback who knew the most about such things and let the fireworks begin.

Once Manning got his footing last season, Denver won 11 straight games. The most impressive part of it was that there was never an off week, never a shred of bulletin-board material, never a hint of dissent or cockiness. The Broncos were the least-interesting, near-great team in football: Manning threw the passes. Fox set the tone.

When things did get interesting in the offseason - when Elvis Dumervil left via a fax foul-up, and Von Miller tried to game the NFL drug-testing system, and two high-ranking Broncos executives got arrested for drunk driving, Fox kept smiling and shedding little light.

Maybe some team would come along and be better than Denver on a given day, and, heck, maybe someone would outcoach Fox, the way John Harbaugh did in last year's playoff loss to Baltimore. But if Fox had any control over it, the Broncos weren't going to lose because anyone in his locker room handed the opponent the incentive.

Almost as if to bolster the point that less is more, the lone time Fox did speak up this season - calling Colts owner Jim Irsay ''ungrateful and unappreciative'' for suggesting Manning didn't do enough for Indianapolis - the Broncos lost. Manning admitted everything surrounding his homecoming, part of that dreaded ''noise on the outside'' Fox always guards against, made for an exhausting week.

The Broncos got things back on track with a win over Washington before the bye week, and though Manning's ankle and arm are topics of constant conversation, though star cornerback Champ Bailey can't stay healthy and the defense is vulnerable even with the return of Miller, Fox headed into his mini-vacation refusing to pinpoint any real concerns, beyond his usual generality: ''You get concerned with all of it.''

His message to the players before they headed out for their break consisted of his oft-used one-liner: ''I don't want to see your name in the paper unless you win the lottery.''

Turns out, it was the coach's name in the paper.

So, instead of spending Sunday scouting Kansas City, New England and the few other teams that could undo what Fox and Manning have built during their 7-1 start, the Broncos pondered a much different kind of uncertainty.

They have an eminently able interim available in Jack Del Rio, who spent nine years in Jacksonville, showing frequent signs of coaching promise even though he never completely tamped down the discord that sporadically pulsed through that far-from-perfect franchise.

Del Rio, the former linebacker who looks as if he could still suit up, exudes a macho sort of intensity that his players like. As an interim, he could be tempted to use his platform to get the Broncos to use their coach's plight as a rallying point.

If allowed to offer advice from his hospital room, Fox will almost certainly tell Del Rio not to bother with that. The head coach believes in letting the results speak louder than he does.

Not such a bad plan to fall back on when the coach himself is day-to-day.

---

Eddie Pells is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at epells(at)ap.org or www.twitter.com/epells

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 7 08:53a

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) won't receive a long-term contract offer from the team this year after injuring his hand in a fireworks accident, according to a [ More ]

Andrew QuarlessJul 6 08:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Andrew Quarless will not be released at this time even though he was arrested this past weekend for discharging a firearm in public, according to sources.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 6 06:03p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) could miss training camp and the start of the regular season, according to a source. Pierre-Paul injured his hand in a fireworks accident and remains hospitalized.

Robert TurbinJul 6 02:53p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) may not be ready to play Week 1 as he continues to recover from hip surgery this offseason.

Trent RichardsonJul 6 01:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson lost some weight this offseason and showed some quickness during offseason workouts, according to offensive line coach Mike Tice.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 6 01:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul's (hand) fireworks incident has led to the Giants withdrawing their long-term offer to Pierre-Paul which would have paid him $60 million, according to sources.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 6 01:13p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) is still in a Miami hospital after suffering injuries to his hand from a fireworks accident.

C.J. AndersonJul 6 08:43a

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball is expected to receive seven or eight carries a game, while RB C.J. Anderson serves as the bellcow with 18 per game, in the [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 5 07:13p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) injured his hands in a fireworks accident, according to multiple sources. He was still meeting with doctors after being hospitalized for his [ More ]

Andrew QuarlessJul 4 01:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Andrew Quarless was arrested early Saturday, July 4, for allegedly firing a gun into the ground, according to police. Quarless supposedly was involved in a [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJul 3 10:23p

Atlanta Falcons RB Tevin Coleman should end up starting Week 1 ahead of RB Devonta Freeman, according to Steven Ruiz of USA TODAY Sports, because Coleman has top-end speed [ More ]

Dennis PittaJul 3 08:03p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) has not been cleared to practice at this point and could begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Ladarius GreenJul 3 03:33p

San Diego Chargers TE Ladarius Green likely will be the starting tight end with TE Antonio Gates being suspended for the first four games of the season.

Dez BryantJul 3 12:53p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has had no progress in contract talks with the team, according to sources. The Cowboys are not budging off their offer of a long-term [ More ]

Darren McFaddenJul 2 11:03p

Dallas Cowboys RB Darren McFadden has topped 155 carries just twice in his seven years in the league, and he has averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry in [ More ]

Antonio GatesJul 2 04:33p

Updating a previous report, San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. It was previous reported that [ More ]

Antonio GatesJul 2 04:13p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Datone JonesJul 2 04:03p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Rolando McClainJul 2 03:03p

Dallas Cowboys LB Rolando McClain has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy and program for substances of abuse.

S. RichardsonJul 2 02:23p

New York Jets DT Sheldon Richardson has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse.

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group