BRONCOS HEAD COACH JOHN FOX
(on returning to the team)
It’s been great. It’s been the hardest thing I ever did, and I’m not talking so much about the heart surgery as watching the team play four games. The staff and Jack Del Rio did a great job, got us in a good position. I’m very excited to be back.
(on the perception that Peyton Manning struggles in colder weather)
You know, as I mentioned to our media, I think a lot of cases are referring to a double overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens, eventual World Champs. They’re talking about two weekends ago in New England which was almost a full overtime on the road in a playoff-type environment. We could have won either game. My point is if we won them, I don’t think we’re having this conversation. We very easily could have won them.
(on if the weather will dictate where he coaches from)
I think if it’s really cold I’ll be in the box, but that’s not really the way I’m looking at it. As I told our guys here, today was my first practice back. I felt great. Like a player on an injury report, I’m day-to-day regardless of where I decide, where I feel is best for the team and me. I don’t think it’s going to matter much. I spent probably half of my career in the press box as a defensive coach and the other half as a head coach on the sidelines. I communicate with the same people, and really I think it’s more likely whether the decision on the sidelines or the press box is if I’m chewing Juicy Fruit or spearmint.
(on whether he is satisfied with the team in his third year as head coach)
I don’t think that you’re ever satisfied. I was nine years in Carolina, and this is my third season here in Denver. I can honestly say I think you’re always looking to improve your team, always looking to improve as a team. I don’t know if you’re ever really satisfied and feel good. I think about the only time I’ve not experienced it would be hoisting that Lombardi Trophy at a Super Bowl.
(on whether he feels a framework with the Broncos has been established)
You definitely feel that you’re growing as a team otherwise it’s a lot of hard work for nothing, but I feel that we’ve improved in the three years. I guess my point is we’re not satisfied.
(on convincing Peyton Manning to come to Denver)
You hope for it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a ‘recruiting’ battle. I spent 10 years as a college coach at a very high level where recruiting was kind of the name of the game. Obviously, regular free agency is a little bit of that, but it can be a lot about the money which was part of our game. In Peyton’s (Manning) case, I think it was a matter of what was going to be the best fit for him and his family. I always felt relatively confident because I thought we were a good fit, but there were many others. During that final decision time, you get a little anxious for sure.
(on what Peyton Manning means to the team)
He’s been tremendous, and he’s improved every week throughout that process. As you remember, he was coming off not playing a whole year and dealing with an injury. The health wasn’t an automatic thing; it was a lot of hard work on him. To me, it’s kind of been historical what he’s accomplished as far as changing teams, coming off not your typical everyday football injury, and coming to a new city at the quarterback position. It’s never been done in history to my knowledge, and it was pretty remarkable. It didn’t come without some growing pains, and we started the season 1-3, well on our way to a possible 1-4 down 24-0 in San Diego, then ran off 11 straight. We don’t do that without tremendous growth, without our football team and Peyton (Manning).
(on whether he is worried about this game after an emotional month)
The way we look at is they’re 5-7, 2-1 in our division. They’re in the playoff hunt mathematically. I’m sure Mike (Munchak) and his staff are approaching this like a playoff game to keep their hope alive. They’ve played a lot of good football against good football teams. Most teams’ records are different; some teams win more of their close games than others. We’re not going to take the Tennessee Titans lightly by any stretch. They’re well coached, they’re a good football team in all areas. We’ll have to bring our A-game to win.
Quite a bit. We had our game plan meetings today, and his name and number came up. Defensively, they’re statistically a top-10 defense. They’ve done a tremendous job the whole season, the first three-quarters of the season. I mentioned before we’re going to have to play well. Right now, that’s what we’re trying to prepare to do.