Denver Broncos' John Fox Not as Conservative as Many Think

By Joe Morrone
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox has the reputation of being an old-school coach who many think is too conservative, especially in big games. Fox is never going to remind anyone of June Jones or any other pass-happy coach, but his reputation of wanting to run the ball 70 percent of the time just isn’t true.

Let’s start with an answer that Fox gave during a question-and-answer session with some season-ticket holders on Tuesday night. The question was “are the Broncos going to run the hurry up offense more in 2013?”

Fox’s answer was printed on

“We are definitely doing it that way. We started our OTAs that way as far as practice. We have a game clock out there already, so we are really going to be pedal to the medal and play much faster than we did a year ago.”

That doesn’t sound like a coach who is ready to go back to three yards and a cloud of dust. In fact, based on that answer, I am more inclined than ever to believe that former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was the coach who pulled in the reins at times last season. There have also been rumors that McCoy and Peyton Manning often clashed: Manning wanted to attack, and McCoy would often not oblige.

When Adam Gase took over after McCoy left to be the head coach of the San Diego Chargers, he said the goal was for the Broncos to play faster in 2013. The term “Pedal to the medal” was first brought up by Gase, and was echoed today by Fox.

Now does Fox want to run the better and more effectively? Of course he does. There has to be some balance, but the Broncos want to run the ball as a part of a hurry-up offense. As for Fox’s conservative history that people often point to, I’m not sure what they are looking at.

Go back to his days with the Carolina Panthers and look at it objectively. If you do that, I think you will be surprised. When the Panthers went to the Super Bowl, quarterback Jake Delhomme was throwing the ball a fair amount, and the Panthers were a fairly wide open offense. Delhomme threw for 3,200 yards in the year they went to the Super Bowl, and threw for almost 3,900 yards the next season.

In the Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, the Panthers and Delhomme got into a shootout with Tom Brady and almost won the game. Up until the day the Broncos acquired Manning, Delhomme was the best quarterback Fox ever had, and he let him throw the ball.

Now Fox has Manning, and he knows the best way for the Broncos to get where they want to get to is to put the ball in Manning’s hands. He also knows that Manning is at his best when the offense is playing fast, and that’s the goal in 2013.

Another sign that Fox is not as conservative as many think was pointed out to me by my cousin, and it has to do with Tim Tebow.

At first glance, the offense that the Broncos were running with Tebow looked like the most basic offense ever, but think about it. The Broncos were running the option at times, and there are five or six things that can go wrong in that type of offense. How many other coaches would have changed their system to go to an offense that is as risky as the attack the Broncos were running? The answer is not many.

Fox coaches to the talent he has, and he has never had the offensive talent he has now. That talent is the reason why Fox and Gase are ready to put the pedal to the medal.

Follow me on Twitter @Jemorrone7

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