John Fox’s background worth noting with his future up in air

AP

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that we have varying reports on John Fox’s job security right before we have varying reports about the health of his quarterback.

And because of his background, the idea that Fox himself might be thinking about an endgame outside of Denver shouldn’t be considered so farfetched.

When it became obvious that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson wasn’t going to give him a contract extension during or after the 2009 season, those close to Fox were willing to listen to others. And at least one other team talked to those people, to the point it was believed Fox could have had the job if Richardson had fired him.

But in the days preceding a lockout he helped orchestrate, Richardson wasn’t about to pay two coaching staffs, so Fox was stuck with a boss and a roster he didn’t want.

When Jake Delhomme’s decline from injury and confidence issues became so precipitous that the decision was made to cut him after the 2009 season, Fox began a year-long campaign to make it clear how little he thought of his depth chart.

Saddled with Matt Moore and rookie Jimmy Clausen going into the season, Fox wasn’t happy with having to work out his contract without what he perceived as a legitimate starting quarterback option.

(Granted, the next team he worked for had Tim Tebow, but it’s easy enough to make the case that Tebow was an upgrade over what he had in Carolina in 2010.)

Fox was so unhappy with the hand he was dealt, that when Clausen was injured in midseason, he made a statement that bordered on mutiny. They had signed journeyman Brian St. Pierre off the street to serve as an emergency backup, but Fox started him that week against the Ravens rather than play rookie Tony Pike, whom he didn’t think could play at all. St. Pierre, days removed from changing diapers, threw an 88-yard touchdown pass that day (which traveled about 35 yards in the air) and his arm was so sore the next morning he never played another down.

The decision to start St. Pierre was made without the input of anyone else in the organization, most of whom were shocked to hear that Fox pulled the trigger. In fact, it caused then-General Manager Marty Hurney to cut short a scouting trip to Alabama (hey, that’s where Cam Newton was) to come back to attempt damage control.

So if there’s some doubt as to whether Peyton Manning wants to come back, or will be able to come back, it’s worth thinking about Fox’s role in his own future. If the Broncos wanted to use the lure of trusted offensive coordinator Adam Gase to entice Manning to play another year, they might be willing to think about offering Fox to another team in exchange for some compensation.

And faced with the idea of going into another season without a known commodity at quarterback, Fox likely doesn’t mind the teams with vacancies knowing he might become available.

Stay tuned.

21 responses to “John Fox’s background worth noting with his future up in air

  1. I agree.

    I’ve felt, however, in recent days that if I had to fire one of two people, Fox or Manning, I would fire Manning we put all the eggs in his basket every year and we get letdowns.

    Fox won a playoff game with Gator Boy and went to 2 NFC Title games with jake Delhomme.

    If the Broncos want to protect themselves next year they should trade for Sean Renfree. He’s a Cutcliffe disciple like both Manning brothers, apparently has peyton like work ethic, the Cutcliffe off season, and Peyton’s arm.

    If they trade for him they don’t risk their jobs unlike how they would if Osweiler plays.

  2. its unfortunate that this is the way of the NFL now. coaches know that without the qb, theres no security. gone are the days where a coach could actually build toward something. its win now or instant turnover.

  3. Except outside of Atlanta where can he go that has an established starting QB that isn’t a lower tier QB ?

    None of them.

    Yeah he could use a high pick to draft one, but it doesn’t sound like this year’s QB class coming out of college is very good, and the draft is always a crapshoot anyway with zero guarantees that even if he were to use his top 3 picks on QBs that any of them would be any good.

  4. I give this writer a lot of grief but this entry was very well written, I had no idea about the Brian St. Pierre story (and backstory) and found it fascinating/entertaining to read. Kudos to Darin.

  5. Who would actually trade anything of value for John Fox? Not saying he’s a terrible coach, but is he such a great one that he carries enough value over any of the “free” talent out there? Its very doubtful.

  6. If Elway would’ve stuck with Tebow he might have got a ring or two. Something is to be said about a heart of a champion. Plus old QBs tend to fall apart or run out of gas toward the end of the season.

  7. I’ve felt, however, in recent days that if I had to fire one of two people, Fox or Manning, I would fire Manning we put all the eggs in his basket every year and we get letdowns.
    ——————————————————–
    Three years, and three playoff appearances and one SB appearance is hardly a letdown

  8. Why in the world would Denver can John Fox?

    The guy is a proven coach.

    Peyton Manning is going to be a Coach-Killer for a guy who went to two Super Bowls?

    Fox is one of the best coaches out there.

    He put together some downright NASTY teams in Carolina, and with a Top Organization in Denver he has taken them to the playoffs every year he has been there, and took them to a SB.

    If the health thing is a factor, OK, I can see that, but getting rid of him to keep Peyton is crazy.

    If Peyton is done, he’s done.

  9. Assuming Manning doesn’t take the decision out of his hands by retiring, I think Elway need to find out whether Manning’s sliding performance was due to injury, age or a combination of both before he decides what steps, if any, to take next.

    Right now, there seems to be a feeling that by all accounts this Broncos team was better than last year’s, but it didn’t reach the SB again solely because of Manning’s struggles late in the season.

    I just don’t know if that’s a correct assessment.

  10. sirlurksalot says:
    Jan 12, 2015 2:59 PM
    I give this writer a lot of grief but this entry was very well written, I had no idea about the Brian St. Pierre story (and backstory) and found it fascinating/entertaining to read. Kudos to Darin.
    _____
    A little more detail for you from a longsuffering Panthers fan… The St. Pierre thing wasn’t just about Fox thumbing his nose at the front office. It was also about his hatred of rookies. He was obsessed with the “known commodity.” He pounded Stephen Davis into mulch in 2003 because he didn’t want to use DeShaun Foster (fortunately, Davis ran out of gas late in the year and Foster had to play more, and he scored the winning TD in the NFC title game). And as I have previously noted, Fox just hates the concept of offense. Many a time we were down 3 late in the 4th, driving steadily down the field, and once we got inside John Kasay’s range, it was 3 draws up the middle. Every time we got the ball inside our own 15, it was 3 draws up the middle. Every time we had 3rd and more than 4, it was a draw up the middle.

    I just don’t understand why people think Fox is such a super-coach.

  11. John Fox’s career in Carolina came to an end because Jerry Richardson wanted to move in a new direction one year before his contract was up, and refused to put NFL talent on the roster.

    The team refused to resign Julius Peppers. It lost Mushin Muhammad, Mike Rucker and Mike Minter to retirement. Jake Delhomme, Damion Lewis, Landon Johnson and Nail Diggs all left to other teams in free agency. The Week 17 day roster had 14 rookies. The only player that was in the NFL for longer than 5 seasons was John Kasay – the kicker.

    This story is making a lot out of a little. Fox tried to sabotage the team to get another gig by refusing to start a 6th round rookie QB (Pike) in a meaningless game? Okay then…

  12. It can still work with Manning, but you have to take play-calling away from him. Period. It is obvious he can’t call plays anymore. With a top-shelf running back, if they would have run more, they had a shot at winning. With Manning spraying the ball all over the field like a fire hose, there was no hope. The colts d knew they just had to give Peyton certain looks and he would bite every time and he did. After all this time, the better cd’s know what to do.

  13. If you think about it, this is a win/win situation for both parties. If Gase gets a head coaching offer and Manning says he will retire if Gase leaves then getting rid of Fox is a must. Fox will understand with no hard feelings and Gase becomes the next head coach. Fox and Broncos part ways with no grudges.

  14. edukator4 says:
    Jan 12, 2015 2:52 PM
    its unfortunate that this is the way of the NFL now. coaches know that without the qb, theres no security. gone are the days where a coach could actually build toward something. its win now or instant turnover.
    ———————————————
    Except in Cincinnati. We just keep doing the samething over and over.

  15. If Gase is so highly regarded then give him the job, most Broncos fans would trade Fox for a bag a chips today, so if they can actually get draft picks, which I highly doubt, then please do it.

  16. I wouldnt pull the plug on Fox yet even if Manning doesnt play next season! Lets see then what Fox is really made of b/c I said all along that’s Peyton’s offense and he’s calling those plays on the field!

  17. Moore and Claussen are still NFL qb’s; Tebow is a talk show host who rides the short bus to work. Not too difficult to see which situation was better.

  18. Rob Konrad and Brian St. Pierre both attended St. John’s Prep in MA. Great football school, great school.

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