Here’s hoping Broncos head coach John Fox enjoyed his bye week last week. The hard work begins now for him and the Broncos as they attempt to win a Super Bowl after last year’s disappointment in the Super Bowl.
There’s no question there is pressure on him to win the Super Bowl. His job could depend on it this season. Broncos executive vice-president of football operations John Elway was not happy with the Broncos not only losing in the Super Bowl, but being outclassed, outperformed and outphysicaled by the Seahawks in last year’s 43-8 disastrous loss. He made that quite clear in last year’s season-ending presser.
Fox has several guys banged up, especially his quarterback. Still, no one is going to feel sorry for him. Every team goes through injuries in a long season. It’s how the Broncos manage and respond to it.
Fox knows he will be the first to get the blame if the Broncos fail to hoist the Lombardi. He experienced it last year when he was criticized for having his team unprepared all week in the Super Bowl. The fans felt the Broncos relaxed on Super Bowl week rather than approaching it with a sense of urgency, and that’s why they believe that attitude cost the Broncos a championship. They also had an issue with how Fox coached the team.
It’s not fair, but that comes with the territory of coaching a championship contender. The Broncos gave him all the players for him to work with, so that he can win a championship. In Elway’s view, it’s time to get it done. Window of opportunity can only last forever.
Elway is not known to be patient or tolerant when it comes to losing. He feels Fox has had enough tries to get it done. So far, the Broncos coach is 0-for-2 when it comes to pursuing a championship. As much as the Broncos boss likes his head coach, he likes winning championships more. He may feel he can find someone else who can get the job done as coach.
To Fox’s credit, he hasn’t whined about the expectations that was set forth to him. He has embraced it. He knows that’s the standard at Dove Valley. That’s what he signed up for. That attitude sets the tone for the players.
Fox feels good about his team’s chances of winning a championship. He is being paid to say it and believe it. He has no choice, either.
He better hope Peyton Manning is functional enough to play well this month for the Broncos to have a chance to win the championship. That remains to be seen. The Broncos quarterback struggled to throw the football for a month.
Maybe a week off can get Manning going. That has to be the best case scenario for the Broncos. No one will know how he is going to be until he performs Sunday against the Colts.
All Fox and the Broncos can hope with the Broncos quarterback. They are entering into the unknown when it comes to the quarterback. He is not a sure thing anymore based on his struggles last month.
We can talk about the Broncos defense and Broncos running back C.J. Anderson all we want, but the Broncos are not going to win it all unless Manning can wing it. Passing game is always a difference between losing a first round game and winning the Super Bowl.
Manning is why the Broncos were a championship finalist. He was great against the Chargers and Patriots in the playoffs last year. He has to play the same way in this year’s playoffs. If he does that, the Broncos can win it all. They have the defense to make plays, and Anderson is capable of having huge gains at running back.
That’s why Fox is hoping for the best. He would love to see Manning be a sure thing, but he doesn’t know. No one knows what he will do. Not even Peyton.
Still, there won’t be any slack for Fox. He has to find a way to get his team over the hump after two tries or else he will be known as a coach who could not win a championship with a talented group.
Fox has had a good run as Broncos coach. He had his team overachieving in his first year by having a winning season and a playoff season with Tim Tebow. In his second season, the Broncos lost in the Divisional Playoffs. In his third season, he had his team in the Super Bowl.
Still, it’s not good enough for Broncomaniacs and Elway. It’s about hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. That’s how the franchise is judged when it comes to successful season.
It’s a high standard, but Fox would not have it other way. He is not afraid of failure. That’s why he is equipped to coach the team, and that’s why the players play for him.
There is so much unknown and uncertainty about the Broncos’ playoff chances.
That doesn’t faze him. Fox has no choice but to coach with what he has.
He’s ready to go on Sunday.
He will go in hoping for the best.
Follow or Contact Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter