ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Broncos coach John Fox spent plenty of seasons calling plays on defense previously in his NFL career.
And now, in his third year with the Broncos, he oversees a team, in this play-fast era for offenses in the league, with Peyton Manning at quarterback and the potential to play at hyper-speed tempo on offense whenever Manning and offensive coordinator Adam Gase believe the time is right. So, ask Fox if he thinks a defensive player might suddenly become “injured’’ to slow things down from time to time and he will say the possibility exists.
But he also says it’s not some kind of flavor-of-the-month issue that just arrived on the scene, that talk of faking injuries to give a defense a break has been around for decades.
“It could crop up,’’ Fox said. “I go all the way back to the late '80s with Sam Wyche in Cincinnati (with Wyche’s “sugar huddle”) –- that’s been going on a long time in this league. I just think it’s hard to officiate, in my personal opinion, because it’s hard to determine whether a guy is really injured or not. We’ll just leave it at that. What other people are doing, I can’t speak to, but there is a possibility.’’
It comes to light for the Broncos since they face the Giants this coming Sunday and the Giants were accused of faking injuries Sunday night by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones following Dallas’ 36-31 victory over New York. Giants linebacker Dan Connor (neck) and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (shoulder) were injured on back-to-back plays during what was eventually a second-quarter scoring drive for the Cowboys.
Jenkins quickly returned to the game, Connor did not. Jones said “it was so obvious that it was funny,’’ the Giants players weren’t really injured. The NFL sent a memo to every team before the season openers, saying teams could be punished by the league office for faking injuries even if no penalties were called in the games.
Fox said he believes it’s too difficult a call to make to try and create stricter penalties.
"I’m not sure how you would officiate that, that would be my first concern,’’ Fox said. “People do get hurt and they’re legitimate. I don’t know that I could be judge and jury on whether somebody’s injured or not.’’