The Denver Broncos finally have begun to bring in candidates for interviews, in spite of missing out on one and the canceling of another. The most intriguing of the candidates thus far is former Carolina Panther's head coach, John Fox. Prior to this season's disaster in Charlotte, Fox held a 71-57 regular season record and was 5-3 in the playoffs. He also commanded a winning record in his division at 29-19 - something that Bronco fans should take note of.
Let's take a look at his overview and coaching history.
|Official Team Coaching Bio|
|AVG Offensive Ranking
|AVG Defensive Ranking
John Fox took the long road to becoming a head football coach in the National Football League; coaching at eight different college and USFL programs in his first eleven years as a coach.
He got his first NFL gig with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1989 as their Defensive Backs coach and after three years there, he began another merry-go-round of jobs with the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams. As the Defensive Coordinator for the Raiders, he ground out two above average seasons in defensive rankings - 17th and 10th in points; 10th and 11th in yards.
It was good enough to end up getting him a job with the New York Giants in 1997. His defensive unit in New York ended up becoming a "bend but don't break" kind of defense. Averaging a paltry 14th ranking in yards given up, including one top 5 ranking, but no top 10 rankings. However, the "bend but don't break" philosophy nabbed two top 5 rankings in points given up and one top 10 for an average of 11th over the course of his five year stint with the team.
In 2002, Fox would take over a horrible 1-15 Carolina Panther squad and led them to a Super Bowl berth in just two seasons as Head Coach. For Denver Broncos fans, that should be intriguing enough. His coaching record would end up being something of an enigma where the Panthers would win the division, then proceed to be a .500 team for a year or two, before winning the division again.
For the most part, Fox was held captive to the Panther's lack of direction from the front office. He chaffed under their unwillingness to hear what Fox felt was needed in terms of talent. In the end, the apparent lack of direction from the top would ensure an complete unraveling of the franchise. Sound similar? The difference is, the Broncos are determined to correct those problems.
The foundation of this tree is John Fox's father who was a Navy Seal. That tough mentality obviously carried over throughout John's life as a coach. Power run game, combined with tough and physical style of defense is what John Fox is all about.
In many ways, John Fox is his own coaching tree. He is a self made man who was given little in terms of coattails to hitch his ride too. He fought his way through the coaching ranks at the collegiate level, eventually catching the eye of Chuck Knoll in Pittsburgh, while Fox was Defensive Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh in the late 1980's.
No doubt, Fox learned much from the Hall of Fame coach of the Steelers. If anything, he has soaked up every bit of information from every head coach he worked for and has melded it into his own philosophy. John Fox will not be some Mike Shanahan clone or Bill Belichick clone. John Fox will be...John Fox. He prefers to play stout defense, while pounding the rock on offense. His teams rushing ranking has ranked in the Top 15 in seven of his nine seasons as head coach, including this years debacle. Five times they ranked in the top 10 and twice in the top 5.
Many pundits have suggested John Fox would be better served taking a year off to recharge, but for an NFL coach, taking a year off means losing an edge in an ever changing league. If anything, what John Fox needs is a change of scenery - perhaps even a front office that is at least willing to give him some input on player personnel. The Broncos appear to be a good fit for Fox. An inexperienced front office that is all ears to what Fox has to say about the team he will be coaching and something Fox has never really had - a super talented and dedicated quarterback to work with.
We have to remember, that this is the man who guided the Jake Delhomne-led Caroline Panther's to the Super Bowl and nearly came away with the Lombardi Trophy. I recently advocated the possibility of the Broncos just sticking with Eric Studesville rather than pull the trigger on someone else in what I see as a relatively lackluster field of coaching candidates. However, that was before John Fox was confirmed for an interview and out of all the candidates the Broncos are interviewing, Fox would provided the biggest bang for what few bucks the Broncos have available right now.
The weakness at the coordinator position would instantly be improved by the experience and knowledge that John Fox would bring to the table, having coached and called plays in the games biggest moments. If John Fox wins the job, Bronco fans would have every reason to be excited and motivated heading into a very important offseason for this franchise.