- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are some thoughts on Denver coach John Fox's quick hiring of former Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio to succeed Dennis Allen, who has been named Oakland’s head coach.
Nice score: Many Denver fans might have upset that Allen left; however, Del Rio is a terrific hire by the Broncos. Fox said Wednesday that he was in no hurry to find a replacement for Allen, but the quick hiring of Del Rio shows Fox felt great about this move. Though Del Rio had been on the market for several weeks, this reconnection between Del Rio and Fox — Del Rio was Fox’s first defensive coordinator in Carolina in 2002 before becoming Jacksonville head coach in 2003 — should ease the mind of Denver fans.
Seven is not a problem: Though Del Rio is Denver’s seventh defensive coordinator in seven years, this shouldn't be an issue due to the compatibility between Del Rio and Fox, who has a defensive background himself. Del Rio knows that this is Fox’s team and it is his defense. Allen deserves a lot of credit for turning Denver’s defense – the worst in the NFL in 2010 – into a competitive group. But the coaching started with Fox. He will continue using his system.
Fox loves familiarity: Fox closed the deal so quickly with Del Rio that there wasn’t time to find other candidates. Clearly, Fox focused on his former assistant as soon as Allen took the Oakland job. That means Fox is confident in his new choice.
More experience than Allen: Allen, 39, got the Oakland job after one year’s experience as the Broncos coordinator. Del Rio, 48 and coming off nine seasons as a head coach, is much more seasoned.
Recruiting means something: Even though Denver improved as a defense under Allen, it still needs to reload. Perhaps Del Rio will turn for help to a pair of defensive ends he coached in Jacksonville — Matt Roth and Jeremy Mincey, both free agents.
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