With two games to go and the Denver Broncos firmly entrenched in the AFC playoffs with a top three seed, and a 36-year old quarterback coming off of multiple neck surgeries, the question inevitably arose Monday in the head coach’s session with the media.
“That has not been an option, and not something that we’ll talk about,” Fox said, per USA Today. “Right now, our main agenda is to get better and improve so we can be playing our best football in January.”
Manning has been pulled in week 17 games four times in his career, each coming in Indianapolis when the Colts had already secured a first round bye. The Broncos could only secure such a scenario heading into the final week of the regular season with a win at home this Sunday against Cleveland coupled with a New England loss on the road to the 2-12 Jacksonville Jaguars. Such a turn of events seems unlikely, so Fox is focusing on his team winning out their final two games.
“If we don’t play our best against Cleveland this week, it will be all for naught,” Fox said. “All our focus will be on the Cleveland Browns.”
The message seems like a sound one, considering the Broncos have won only six regular season games in December and January over the past five seasons. That trend cost the Broncos postseason berths in 2008 and 2009, and dropping the final three games of the 2011 campaign is surely fresh in Fox’s mind.
“Everybody understands the situation we’re in,” wide receiver Brandon Stokley added. “We haven’t accomplished anything thing yet. It’s all about playing your best football in January. You want to feel good about what you do at the end of the regular season.”
Get ready to see another healthy dose of Peyton Manning and company for the next two weeks.