John Fox hears criticism whether he admits it or not. There’s no question someone on his coaching staff or someone from his inner circle is telling the Broncos head coach what fans and media say about his coaching.
Fox has heard criticism about his coaching going back to the Broncos’ postseason loss to the Ravens two seasons ago and the Broncos’ 43-8 Super Bowl loss to the Seahawks last season.
There are folks that think he is conservative at games, which is euphemism for coaching not to lose. Some think he panics at close games where he deviates from his game plan of letting Peyton Manning being aggressive on offense. Some think he overcoaches. That’s the analysis Fox deals with by Monday Morning Quarterbacks from fans and the media.
The fourth-year Broncos coach has been ripped often on Twitter in the first three games of the season so far, and don’t expect that to change as the season goes on.
It’s clear Broncos fans are restless about the team not winning a championship despite having Manning the last two years. They want a championship now, so Fox will continue to be ripped until he gets it done.
It’s hard to feel sorry for Fox. He makes millions as the head coach of the Broncos. He has to justify his pay and role by winning a championship with the riches of talent he has to work with that other coaches envy.
Still, blaming him for losses is ridiculous. It’s hard to fault him when his players stunk in the Super Bowl in February. No one can talk coaching when the players failed to execute against the Seahawks. For anyone to accuse Fox of not preparing his team well, that’s preposterous, not to mention that’s wrong. Coaches don’t approach any football game by having these guys unprepared. What happened that February Sunday night was lack of execution.
Fox’s coaching has been questionable at times this season. It was strange to see his team play not to lose in the second half of the first two games. It was hard to believe he would go for the field goal rather than not finish the Chiefs off late in the fourth quarter.
Overall, Fox has been good. Let’s face it. Players make coaches look good more than anything. All the head coach can do is get the most of the players and get their point across. In the end, the players have to produce by making plays on defense or offense.
Fox’s plusses come from having his team win games and having players play for him. They haven’t underachieved under his watch. That should mean something.
Look, Fox will never be as great as John Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. He is not a coach that will think outside the box in coming up with players to play out of position or do onside kicks. He won’t be creative in coming up with plays on defense.
That does not make him a bad coach. That does not make anyone think he will win the Super Bowl.
Fox has made his fair share of mistakes as coach such as not letting Manning get a chance by throwing a touchdown in the end against the Ravens in the AFC Divisional Series, but guess what. Great coaches have made it, too.
Broncos fans don’t want to hear it, though. They feel it’s time for the Broncos to win the Super Bowl. It’s been an 15-year drought. It’s a long time, so there’s angst. They also know opportunity wanes every year, so they understand this could be the Broncos’ last chance.
No one feels more pressure than Fox. He knows this could be his best and last opportunity of winning a championship in his NFL head coaching career. There’s no question he will bear the brunt of the blame if the Broncos fall short. It’s part of the territory for NFL head coaches no matter what town they work in.
It’s going to get ugly for Fox if he does not win the Super Bowl this year. It’s not fair, but what does fairness have to do with performance.
Coaches are judged by winning championships when he has a great team, and Fox has that.
He has to get it done.
The sad part is he won’t receive credit if the Broncos win the Super Bowl. It’s going to be the players, and that’s the way Fox prefer it.
He only wishes he is not the only one that takes the blame for the Broncos failing under expectations.
Fox knows the deal, though. It’s part of life as a head coach.
He just has to grin and bear it.
Contact or Follow Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter