According to reports, John Fox and the Denver Broncos “mutually agreed” to part ways, which is usually a nice way of saying someone got fired.
This split wasn’t actually mutual, was it?
“Yes and no,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on Gio and Jones. “Under different circumstances, I think John Fox would want to stay, but if John Elway is still running the show, that was it for John Fox. John Elway wasn’t leaving. And so, yeah, in a weird way it was mutual because both sides kind of saw the end was near. They weren’t enjoying working with each other. This is a team that could end up being in massive transition from the owner to the coach to the quarterback – all the way around the future of the Denver Broncos. Very much to be determined. So I get why it happened. And you hear rumblings leading into the weekend that it’s not good there between Fox and Elway and something’s got to give – and Elway is not giving. The coach reports to him, and he’s ready to try to find a new coach.
“John Elway is not an easy guy to work for,” La Canfora continued. “Obviously the bar is set incredibly high. Fox won four straight division titles, including a 12-win season, and got fired.”
According to La Canfora, Elway was not enamored with coordinators Adam Gase and Jack Del Rio and felt that the roster was not being maximized. It also didn’t help that Peyton Manning broke down in the second half of the season.
“Peyton Manning’s playoff record speaks for itself,” La Canfora said. “When you bought Peyton Manning, you weren’t just buying the 5,000 yards in the regular season. You were buying, at that point, seven one-and-dones and you were buying a guy who was still below .500 in the playoffs. All of that was part of the package. They took a shot at it. It ran its course.”
Now the Broncos need to find a new coach. Denver may or may not be an attractive coaching destination, depending on what moves are made or not made. Julius Thomas, Terrance Knighton, DeMarcus Ware and Wes Welker, among others, might not be back next season. La Canfora sees a complete “recalibration” and feels the defense “will be gutted no matter what anyway.”
So might the offense – including, yes, Manning.
“I don’t think he’ll be back,” La Canfora said. “I don’t think he’s a guy who, at the end, wants to be remembered for hanging on too long, for being a game manager who stuck around another year to try to get 70,000 passing yards and break a bunch of records and put his body through all that again knowing he’s going to peak sometime in October and that the second half of the year could be really ugly. He’s going to continue to take injuries, and his mobility is only getting worse. His arm strength is only getting worse. His ability to bounce back and recover from injury is only getting worse. I don’t think that’s how he wants to be seen. I think he wants to go out as close to the top as possible.”