John Fox’s Departure leaves the Broncos at a Crossroads

John Fox’s departure from the Broncos leaves them at a crossroads in their future. Sunday night’s playoff exit at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts represented transition in the NFL in so many ways. While much of the fanfare was about the passing of the torch from former Indianapolis Colts legend Peyton Manning to current stud Quarterback Andrew Luck the aftermath of this game has worked across the Denver side-line and deeper into the psyche of the Bronco’s back office staff.

The suspicion is that perhaps Peyton Manning may not be in a position to decide his own future and that John Elway and the Bronco’s back office staff has decided that the jig is up and Peyton won’t be returning to the Broncos for the 2015 season. This in many ways would make a lot of sense. The Broncos knew that they had a 3 year window with Peyton at best given the way the contracts of the Denver team fall and now with Demaryius and Julius Thomas needing to be paid and some expensive pieces installed on defence a younger cheaper quarterback might be the only way to keep the better parts of this team together. Brock Osweiler was originally intended to learn from Peyton Manning before eventually taking over as the team’s starter when he was drafted in 2012 but whether the Broncos will see this intention through remains to be seen but with a limited quarterback draft class due in the 2015 draft and a poor free agent pool it may yet be Denver’s only option.

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The future of offensive co-coordinator Adam Gase also may have led to the departure of Fox. If Gase is likely to receive one of the available head coaching roles in the NFL, Fox would be left with a new OC, inexperienced Quarterback and a team with some expensive pieces, particularly some of the pieces picked up in the last off season. John Fox is obviously a good football coach, he won a playoff game with Tim Tebow at Quarterback, but Fox, a 4 year coach in Denver won’t find rebuilding his backroom staff and his team around a new quarterback anything other than a hiding to nowhere. 9 times out of 10 it will cost him his Job shortly after so the idea of parting with the Bronco’s after a 12-4 season at the end of the 2014 playoffs is much more appealing than finishing 4-12 at the end of the 2015 regular season.

The Broncos stand at a point where they will reload, stock their backroom staff with an experienced head coach and Co-coordinators and try again with Osweiler as Quarterback or will tear the whole project down and try and rebuild again. The latter options could see expensive free agent pick-ups like DeMarcus Ware hit the road again this off season and leave the Broncos with some dead cap money. The average age of the Broncos roster isn’t particularly high but they may look to get they were in fact the 12th Youngest Roster going into 2014. If they can get younger in a couple of other places and secure a quarterback there is an opportunity for a decent young team to mature with some quality pieces in place over the next few seasons in the wake of the expensive free agency period.
Taking out Manning, Ware and Welker removes the three oldest pieces on this team and would free up plenty of Cap Space to work with to secure younger players on that roster.

If the Broncos are to go with Osweiler I would love to see them go down a fast paced Chip Kelly style offence, there is more than enough talent on that team to make it work and it could really play to the strengths of some of that roster where the offensive line hasn’t necessarily been great but the receiving talent has been exceptional. Notably this type of team doesn’t need an exceptional quarterback because the ball comes out so fast this may suit an inexperienced Osweiler.
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