John F. Russell: It’s time to rebuild

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John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by John here.

— It may seem like summer has just begun in the Rocky Mountains, but football fans know a more important time of year is upon us.

It’s time to dig into the back of our closets for the blue-and-orange sweatshirts with the words “Denver Broncos” printed above a snorting horse head.

It’s time to find that well-worn spot on the La-Z-Boy and settle in to watch another year of Sunday afternoons on the gridiron.

It’s also time to start talking about who you want to see behind center, who will be catching the balls and who will be scoring the most touchdowns.

Wouldn’t it be nice to start talking about the Broncos’ return to greatness?

Gone are the memories of last year’s 4-12 nightmare, but somewhere in the back of every Bronco fan’s mind is the hangover left behind by former coach Josh McDaniels.

You remember McDaniels — the guy who in less than two full seasons took an underachieving 8-8 team and created one of the biggest losers in the franchise’s history. He was the guy who blew into town, alienated his All-Pro quarterback and then traded him before the two ever stepped onto the field together. He’s the former coach who also dealt a host of other players who have gone on to find starring roles in places like Miami, Detroit and Cleveland.

Now Broncos fans hope John Fox — the team’s first choice … second choice … let’s face it, the team’s only choice for head coach — can put something together in Dove Valley.

Forgive me if I’m not confident. Fox already has a quarterback between fan favorite Tim Tebow and the less-than-exciting Kyle Orton.

Fox, who was fired by the only team worse than the Broncos last year, was one of a few coaches who would actually interview for Denver’s top position. You have to wonder if he’s having second thoughts now. Seemingly the best news for Broncos fans is that with what McDaniels left behind it’s going to be hard to get any worse.

Hopefully Fox feels like he has something to prove. I’d love to again feel the pride I did about the Broncos back in the late 1990s.

Fox and Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway drafted Von Miller this spring. The return of Elvis Dumervil should help the team’s pass rush. I was also happy to see the Broncos re-sign veterans like Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins while adding several young players who should improve the team defensively.

Fox hasn’t been flashy, but these were the kind of moves we all wanted to see from McDaniels a few years ago, so I’ll give the guy a chance.

Who knows what the immediate future will bring to the Broncos Nation, but as a longtime fan, I hope change will come sooner rather than later. I can’t afford to bleed blue and orange forever.

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