John Fox has been in the AFC West for two years and two days.
Yet, his impact has been great. Fox -- who became the dean of AFC West coaches after Norv Turner’s firing two weeks ago -- was won two division titles in two years in Denver. It has been duly noted by Denver’s rivals.
For the second time in a year, Fox’s staff has been raided by another AFC West team when Broncos’ offensive coordinator Mike McCoy became San Diego’s head coach Tuesday. Last year, Oakland hired Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen off of Fox’s staff.
Monday, in his season-ending news conference, Fox sounded prepared despite losing another top assistant.
“No different than when Dennis left a year ago,” Fox said when asked if he thought McCoy would leave his staff. “I think that worked out alright. I don’t have any reasons to think any different."
Fox was referring to Denver’s defensive success under Allen’s replacement, Jack Del Rio. Denver was 20th in the NFL in total defense in 2011 and No. 2 in 2012.
So that brings us to the natural question: Who will replace McCoy?
Denver shouldn’t have a problem finding candidates. The prospects of working with Peyton Manning make this a top job.
Among the expected candidates are former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt (if he doesn’t get a head coaching job), former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore, Colts quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen and Denver quarterback coach Adam Gase. Moore is the wild card here. He has reportedly said he wants to become a full-time coach again. If so, Moore, 74, becomes the favorite.
He and Manning were in Indianapolis together for 13 years. They remain close and Moore helped Manning train last year when he was returning from his neck injury that kept him out for all of last season. If Moore is not in the mix, Christensen and Manning are close. Manning also has a good relationship with Whisenhunt, although they never worked together.
The person Fox hires for this job will be someone who Manning feels comfortable with. We all know Manning is essentially a coach on the field, so the person who replaces McCoy will be someone who Manning can work well with.