2014 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

LeSean McCoyMar 3 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will reportedly be traded for Buffalo Bills LB Kiko Alonso.

Kiko AlonsoMar 3 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will reportedly be traded for Buffalo Bills LB Kiko Alonso.

Tyvon BranchMar 3 05:23p

Oakland Raiders SS Tyvon Branch was officially released, as expected, Tuesday, March 3.

DeMarco MurrayMar 3 01:43p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray would likely re-sign with the Cowboys if the offer they make him is equal or similar financially to offers he receives from [ More ]

Cole BeasleyMar 3 01:13p

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $13.1 million. The extension could be worth as much as $15.1 million.

Andre JohnsonMar 2 11:03p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson was asked to accept a reduced role, but he declined and asked to be traded or cut, according to people familiar with the situation.

Bernard PollardMar 2 07:23p

Tennessee Titans SS Bernard Pollard has been informed that he will be released, according to sources familiar with the situation. Pollard asked the Titans to release him last month. [ More ]

Le'Veon BellMar 2 04:33p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell could be suspended up to four games, according to the NFL's new substance-abuse policy. A two-game suspension is standard for a DUI resulting from [ More ]

J.D. WaltonMar 2 04:13p

New York Giants C J.D. Walton was released Monday, March 2.

Lance MooreMar 2 04:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Lance Moore was released Monday, March 2.

Brad JonesMar 2 03:53p

Free-agent LB Brad Jones (Packers) signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 2. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Charles ClayMar 2 03:12p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay received the transition tag Monday, March 2, according to a source. The transition tag for tight ends is worth $7.071 million.

Dez BryantMar 2 02:03p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant received the franchise tag Monday, March 2. Bryant would make $12.823 million if he signs the tender offer.

Jason Pierre-PaulMar 2 02:03p

New York Giants impending free-agent DE Jason Pierre-Paul received the franchise tag Monday, March 2, according to sources.

Justin HoustonMar 2 09:52a

Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston had the franchise tag placed on him Monday, March 2, according to a source.

Ndamukong SuhMar 2 09:43a

Detroit Lions impending free-agent DT Ndamukong Suh will not receive the franchise tag Monday, March 2.

LaMarr WoodleyMar 1 07:12p

The Oakland Raiders plan to release DE LaMarr Woodley, a league source said Sunday, March 1. He made just five tackles in six games before his season ended due [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayMar 1 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray probably will hit the free-agent market since contract talks with him have gone slow, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Jones [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is expected to receive the franchise tag by Monday, March 2, but during the NFL Scouting Combine, team owner Jerry Jones said that he [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayFeb 28 09:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray could give the team a chance to match any offer he receives during free agency, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. 'There is [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 08:52p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will receive the franchise tag by the deadline Monday, March 2, executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed Saturday, Feb. 28. The move will guarantee [ More ]

EJ ManuelFeb 28 02:22p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel still seems to be the No. 1 option at quarterback, for now, with Josh McCown heading to the Cleveland Browns. Buffalo could still add [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown signed a three-year deal Friday, Feb. 27, according to a source. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. McCown completed [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 06:32p

Free-agent QB Josh McCown (Buccaneers) has signed with the Cleveland Browns, according to his agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Reggie WayneFeb 27 04:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) recently underwent surgery on his triceps and has started his rehab. Wayne still has not decided if he will play in 2015.

Darnell DockettFeb 27 04:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett was released Friday, Feb. 27. The Cardinals would like to re-sign Dockett if he is not able to find a better offer from another team.

Brandon GibsonFeb 27 03:42p

Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Stephen BowenFeb 27 03:22p

Washington Redskins DE Stephen Bowen was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade target for the Indianapolis Colts. QB Andrew Luck hasn't had a successful running game behind him so far in Indianapolis. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade option for the Arizona Cardinals with QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of their careers in [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be an option to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Peterson is from Palestine, Texas, which is between Dallas and Houston, and he's [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 27 02:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman could be the full-time back in new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme next season, according tot general manager Thomas Dimitroff. 'My first impression of [ More ]

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