Fox tells biz leaders he sees parallels to old gig

DENVER — New Broncos coach John Fox alternated between being a preacher and a prophet in his introduction to the Denver community today.

Fox preached a dollop of patience during a keynote address to 1,200 business leaders at the Pepsi Center while promising big things were on the horizon for the downtrodden franchise.

“My job is to win games. That, I will promise you will happen. I can’t put a number on it this first season, but I will promise you we’ll be in the championship at some level very soon,” Fox, in his first public address since he was hired in January, said at the annual breakfast to benefit the Boy Scouts of America.

Fox said he sees parallels in Denver to his previous gig in Carolina, where he took the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2004, two years after his arrival in Charlotte and his selection of Julius Peppers with the second overall draft pick.

The Broncos own the second overall pick in next month’s draft following a franchise-worst 4-12 season and personnel mistakes that cost Josh McDaniels his job as coach and de facto general manager.

The Broncos brought back John Elway as their chief of football operations, and he hired Fox as his coach and empowered general manager Brian Xanders two months ago in a front-office overhaul.

“I’m real excited. It seems like the stars have aligned,” Fox said. “In Carolina when I first went in 2002, they were 1-15. ... That team was in disarray. We had the second pick in the draft, much like we do here in Denver.”

He selected Peppers from North Carolina and the Panthers were on their way back to respectability.

“That’s our goal, to repeat and (get) a player like him in this draft,” Fox said. “I think we’re set up very well to have some success.”

Right after the breakfast, Fox, Elway and Xanders jetted off to attend pro timing days this week across the South, where they planned to meet with defensive linemen Nick Fairley of Auburn and Marcell Dareus of Alabama and Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller.

Another potential No. 2 pick is LSU cornerback and Jim Thorpe Award winner Patrick Peterson.

“The bottom line is, especially with where we pick, we can’t miss,” Elway said before the breakfast. “So, (it’s) a chance to get around them and meet them a little bit. It’s not so much the workout, because we saw them work out at the combine, but it’s really about getting to spend some time with them.”

Defense is Denver’s top priority and they have holes in their front line following the release last week of veteran linemen Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams in cost-cutting moves that were quickly followed by the re-signing of Kevin Vickerson to a two-year deal.

“We would really have been worried if we hadn’t got Vickerson signed, but hopefully we still get a chance to talk to Jamal and Bannan down the way,” Elway said. “But we have to see how this whole thing unravels. We’re still waiting in limbo and hopefully we’ll get a (new labor) deal this Friday.”



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