Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Jan 2011

Broncos Hire John Fox

The Broncos have picked John Fox to be their next head coach.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 13 Jan 2011

57 comments, Last at 18 Jan 2011, 7:43am by Mr Shush


by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:13pm

That is all.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 6:51pm

do not understand

by tunesmith :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:21pm

Broncos front office are liable to give him more support than Carolina's front office did, at least recently.

Still the question of what they'll do for OC and quarterback development.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:23pm

As a Texans fan, all I can say is thank God they didn't take Dennison.

by tuluse :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:28pm

Well this is about as close to a polar opposite of McDaniels as they could get.

by Randy Hedberg (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:14pm

They're moving from a guy who loves to get rid of productive players to a guy who loves to stick by unproductive ones. I don't know which is worse.

by Drunkmonkey :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 5:32pm

While I completely understand how people would see that in John Fox, and he did make it hard to prove otherwise, coming from somebody who lives in the Carolina market, most of what happened in Carolina wasn't his fault. Every player who was ever coached by him will tell you that his desire to win was unmatched by any coach they've ever played for before, and he definitely had the respect of everybody except Richardson and Hurney in the organization.

The biggest problems in Carolina stemmed from frugality by the owner, and a general manager who had a hard time figuring out what players would fit the system. Fox did the best he could with what he was forced to work with. I'm extremely sad to see him leave Carolina. I was hoping for a general manager change that would keep Fox, a la Holmgren and Mangini in Cleveland last year, but once reports surfaced about how Richardson and Hurney were closer than ever, I knew it was over for Fox.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 01/15/2011 - 11:20am

I like a coach who works with the talent he's given. Too many coaches only believe they can win with the right players (e.g. players who fit their system).

by tuluse :: Sat, 01/15/2011 - 2:42pm

If this is intended as a slight against Fox, I think the real problem is that he wasn't given any talent.

by speedegg :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:40pm

I guess that means Denver is throwing out the 3-4 defense, maybe going back to a zone-blocking scheme, and a strong running game. Chargers better watch out, Carolina had a habit of surprising them.

by drobviousso :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:42pm

Shit. That means we'll still be subjected to "sly/crazy like a Fox!!!" by every idiot announcer who thinks it's original.

Is it bad to wish a guy doesn't get a job just because of that? Probably, but I'm a bad person, so I don't care.

by Brent Hutto (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:45pm

I wonder if Jake Delhomme might be available, Fox loves him some Jake...

by JasonK :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:50pm

Relatively safe, unspectacular hire. Which is probably what they need post-McDaniels.

I wonder if he's going to switch them back to a 4-3 defensive front.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:57pm

Well said.

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:31pm

Relatively safe?

I don't see anything safe about Fox. There's a good chance hes just terrible.

by Kibbles :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 6:18am

A good chance he's terrible? Even after last year's nightmare campaign, his coaching record is 73-71, and he's 5-3 in the playoffs with a SB appearance and a second NFCCG appearance. Prior to last year, he never had fewer than 7 wins in a season. This despite taking over a truly awful team- 1-15 the year before he was hired.

Now, on the other hand, he's never posted back-to-back winning seasons, so I think it's fair to say that there's a good chance he's just mediocre... but I think there is an exceedingly small chance that Fox is simply an outright terrible coach.

John Fox actually reminds me a lot of Tom Coughlin, to be honest. He was another guy who took over a team with low expectations, had some great success, but whose tenure was ultimately marked by consistent mediocrity. That hire wound up working out pretty well for New York, I'd say.

by RichC (not verified) :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 10:53am

We have different opinions then. 7-9 to 9-7 every season is a terrible thing to aspire to IMO.

As to Coughlin, I'm of the oppinion that the Giants win despite him, not because of him.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:22am

But that's not what you get with Fox. He never went 9-7, but he did have three seasons with 11+ wins.

by tuluse :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:33am

You have a strange idea of terrible.

The Lions under Millen were terrible, the Panthers under Fox were not.

by zlionsfan :: Sun, 01/16/2011 - 12:06pm

yes, this.

Few teams in the NFL have the luxury of discounting seasons with fewer than 12 wins as disappointing, and Denver is most certainly not in that category. Even if Fox really did have a history of being stuck in the neighborhood of .500, it would be an improvement on what McDaniels apparently could to.

Besides, a record between 7-9 and 9-7 will occasionally get you into the playoffs. You can't win if you don't get in.

by JasonK :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 4:49pm

I wouldn't call Coughlin's time in Jacksonville mediocre from a coaching standpoint. The problems that led to the team's decline and him getting fired were primarily due to mismanaging the salary-cap. (IIRC, he was both the HC and the Director of Football Operations.) His style has grated with some players, and he makes no friends in the media, but he's a pretty good coach.

by morganja :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 6:03pm

While he could drive us insane with his terrible offenses, all his players showed up to play hard every Sunday, no matter how meaningless the game. Watch the last game of the season and his interactions with the players. There is no quit in him or his teams.

by some guy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 6:15pm

That is actually a pretty good point. Fox seems like he is completely inept in just about everything except for making his player pull out ridiculous wins in meaningless games against much better opponents.

by some guy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 6:23pm

Before anyone calls me an idiot, I should add that he seems like a decent guy who doesn't throw his players under the bus even when he seems pressured to does so (see Peppers, Julius) and he knows his way around a tampa 2.

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:32pm

I seem to remember a whole lot of talk about Peppers quitting on him.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 6:04pm

As a Bronco fan, I'm happy to have John Fox take over. However, since he's stuck with Tebow, his offensive coordinator decision might end up making or breaking his tenure.

by MJK :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:09pm

Too bad for the Broncos that the best OC on the market, and the one who is best at grooming QB's, is...um...Josh McDaniels.

Yeah, that's probably not happening.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 10:06pm

Already had the same thought. That's why I still don't think it was a good idea to fire him, but that ship has sailed now.

I was looking around to see if I could find anyone who has any sort of record of grooming quarterbacks whom they could hire, but I pretty much came up empty.

by Independent George :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 6:07pm

This would have made much more sense 2 years ago.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 7:02pm

Really? Would Fox have been allowed to be head coach of two teams at the same time?

by Spielman :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:39pm

I wonder if the Panthers wouldn't have sold him to the Broncos two years ago for a case of Coors Light, though.

by ChiJeff (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 7:35pm

Good hire by the Broncos. Been a fan of his for awhile. Think he will get the Broncos back to a physical run game style of play.

by FireOmarTomlin :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 10:06pm

Yeh, with that great power back they have....

Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 8:05am

Tebow, you mean?

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:27pm

Fix better coch than mcdaniels so Broncos do good hre. Chargers on downswing. Raiders on upswing. BVroncs going to be bvetter but still noyt at Raiders level. Chiefs are Chiefs

by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:35pm

RJ, does this mean that Denver still can't get to 8-8? That is the Raiders level, yeah? Chiefs are Chiefs are division champs.
I kid, I kid. I like the hire. He seems like Elway's kind of coach; conservative, competent and likely to get the team playing at a bit of a more consistent level. I liked McDaniels, and still would've liked it if they'd let the scenario play out, but it's clear that wasn't happening, so better Fox then who I'd feared, which was Kubiak or Wade Phillips. Knowshon better start working out his hamstrings, as he's liable to get a lot more work, if he'd just stay healthy. I do wonder about Tebow; I'd say there's a decent chance he's not here next year, as I don't think Elway trusts him, and I can't imagine Fox wants to start him, in particular, if they keep Orton around, who seems like the kind of QB he'd like.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 9:08pm

Denver cna get to 8-8 but Raiders goign to be in 11-5, 12-4 area.

K. Oorton just okay. Not gerat qb but not true crap either. Broncs probably wll mess up Tebow.

by FastEddi (not verified) :: Sun, 01/16/2011 - 3:15am

You're a moron. How are you not banned?

by zlionsfan :: Sun, 01/16/2011 - 12:10pm

Even if that were conceivable (in this case it's not), comments like that are more likely to get the poster than the target banned.

by Kibbles :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 6:22am

I had to laugh a bit at the words "Elway's kind of coach" being followed by "conservative" without the words "not the slightest bit" sandwiched in between. When Elway was a player, he had a coach who was pretty conservative once. It resulted in Elway holding secret meetings with the offensive coordinator to draw up plays behind the coach's back, and eventually to Elway delivering a "him or me" ultimatum to ownership.

Now, I think that Fox is absolutely the right hire for Denver at this time, I just think it's funny that Elway is now responsible for hiring a coach almost identical to the one he was once responsible for firing.

by Eddo :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:26am

If you're an active quarterback and you're not aggressive, you have no heart; if you're a retired quarterback and you're not conservative, you have no brain.

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 12:46pm

That was excellent.

by Dean :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 1:36pm

It's a play on the old political saying "if you're young and you're conservative, you have no heart; if you're old and you're liberal, you have no brain."

Hopefully going that far and no further will not cross the "no politics" line.

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 1:53pm

I know. That's why I thought it was funny.

by Eddo :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 4:15pm

Thank you, thank you.

by solarjetman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:29pm

Word is, the Broncos are retaining McCoy at OC; he had previously worked under Fox. So Tebow may get to stay in the same offense a second year.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:51pm

Broncos have had better 4-3 personnel than 3-4 personnel throughout their 3-4 experiment, so that's no problem. Tebow is a lost draft pick, certainly, but he's a serviceable clipboard stand with a modicum of merchandising value. That's worth a roster spot.

by BroncosGuyAgain (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 9:09pm

Good move for the Broncos, terrible move for Fox.

Fox is mature, knowledgeable, seasoned -- in short, everything Josh McDaniels wasn't. He will bring a level of professionalism to Dove Valley that has been missing the past two years. This is a good thing for the Broncos.

On the other hand, he is walking into a once-proud organization that has fallen to the depths of the Bengals and Raiders. The GM/scouting side of the organization is highly suspect. John Elway is very smart, knows football, and knows business. But he also isn't going to sit in his office for twenty hours watching college film (as far as I know; he is also hyper-competitive, which might be his greatest asset). Brian Xanders is a numbers guy, and certainly not a talent evaluator. The scouting department consists of McDaniels acolytes and afterthoughts (McDaniels, in his megalomania, considered scouts to be more clerical than accretive.) Great teams are built through the draft and, (highly) secondarily, free agency. The Broncos lack obvious assets in superior evaluation ability on both fronts.

More than one sought-after former coach has stated that the key to evaluating an opportunity is the owner and the quarterback. Pat Bowlen was once considered a great owner; now, not so much. And the quarterback is Tim Tebow. Yikes.

Best of luck to Coach Fox. May you benefit more than the Broncos.

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:51pm

"Fox is mature, knowledgeable, seasoned..."

... old, inexpensive...

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 10:37pm

John Fox should do much better without being saddled by loyalty to Delhomme. Maybe Elway can come down from the front office if Tebow's running too much.

by socctty :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:27pm

It's good work if you can get it, but I wonder why a coach like Fox would take this gig. You're being forcefed Tim Tebow as an NFL QB. Best case scenario is that he falls on his face spectacularly the first year, but that's a year off of your 3-4 year grace period.

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 12:11am

No Denver coach has a grace period. Ask Wade Phillips.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 5:11am

Has there been any information about the length of his contract? Not like I'm looking ahead to jettisoning another coach, But (at this point) I see Fox as a more of a right the ship, lay the groundwork sort of guy than someone who I'd expect to be here for 10 years.
Hopefully I'm wrong and he's capable of not only getting the team into working order, but also moving it forward. But I'll settle for him clearing the rubble of the last couple years and giving the Broncos a foundation that someone else could come in and run with, if he's not up to it.

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 12:34pm

This absurd season always had, I thought, one potential silver lining, and that was a wholesale restructuring of the front office. Fox can basically feel free to suck for a couple of years while we - yet again - change all our offensive and defensive schemes (not much of a loss, in the latter case) and purge the roster of recent draftees and thirtysomethings - next time Bowlen gets bored or somebody writes a scathing editorial and we fire the coach, some kind of coherent team vision could still be maintained. Post-Fox, we wouldn't be going back to the drawing board for the third time.

Cleveland is trying to do the same sort of thing. Except when Cleveland was looking for someone to guide the organization, they hired Mike Holmgren, because he's qualified for the job. Suckers! We hired John Elway, because John Elway has SWAGGER.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 2:24pm

"they hired Mike Holmgren, because he's qualified for the job"

Is he, though? Well, qualified, perhaps, but is there any real evidence that he is or should be expected to be good at it? I always thought the received wisdom on Holmgren was great coach, lousy personnel man.

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 4:25pm

You're right, I was reaching a bit there. (Although his brief tenure in Cleveland certainly hasn't been a disaster so far, Jake Delhomme notwithstanding.) At the very least, there is a rationale behind hiring Holmgren that amounts to more than just "he has the heart of a champion!" and "he totally spun around in the air when that one guy collided with him over a decade ago!"

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 01/18/2011 - 7:43am

Parcells might be the example I'd go for . . .