Few former head coaches have had a career like John Fox, who received three consecutive head coaching jobs over the span of 16 years without a break in between any of them.
When the Chicago Bears let Fox go following the 2017 season, it marked the end of a journey that started in 2002. Fox was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons (2002-2010), then the head coach of the Denver Broncos for four seasons (2011-2014) and the finally the head coach of the Bears for three seasons (2015-2017).
The last few years have been a vacation for Fox, who finally took some time away from the game even after a brief stint working as a television analyst.
But he missed the grind and interaction of working with people in football, which is why he jumped at the opportunity to join the defensive staff under new coordinator Gus Bradley.
“I just missed the camaraderie, the competition, the common goal, a purpose,” Fox said via Stephen Holder of The Athletic. “So, for me, it was to get back and be a part of that.”
Fox joined the Colts’ coaching staff this offseason with the title of senior defensive assistant. While Bradley will be implementing his new scheme, which his expected to feature a lot of Cover-3 and single-high looks, Fox will be there to assist the new coordinator with some of the finer details of the defense.
Even though Fox’s defense differed historically from Bradley’s current scheme, it’s always good to have another set of eyes with the former’s type of experience in the league.
“I think it’s a good blend,” Fox said. “You don’t want people who are all the same.”
It’s clear, though. This scheme is Bradley’s to run. Fox won’t be running the defense or installing new concepts on top of what the Colts defense is already trying to learn.
“First of all, there’s got to be mutual respect,” Fox said. “And I’m not a big ego guy. Gus isn’t that type of person either. That made this fit. You don’t ever want to go in somewhere where someone is looking over their shoulder. It just doesn’t work in a team environment.”
The Colts defense had its moments of being elite in 2021, but it also faltered down the stretch. This is especially true when considering the lack of pass rush during the crucial point in games during the final month of the season.
The hope is that the aggressiveness of Bradley’s scheme will bring about a more consistent pass rush, and he’ll have a very-experienced set of eyes looking at the unit with Fox now in town.
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