ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — If John Elway gets to choose, his quarterback next season will be Peyton Manning.
His coach: To be determined.
During a news conference Tuesday, Elway said he did not press Manning for a decision on his future when they met the day after Denver’s 24-13 loss to Indianapolis in the AFC divisional playoffs.
The Broncos GM and executive vice president said he expects to reconvene with Manning in about a month to see where he stands — although he’ll touch base with the five-time MVP as he conducts his coaching search.
Elway said he has not contacted anybody about his open head coaching job but said coordinators Jack Del Rio and Adam Gase, candidates for other openings, would get a look.
He described the parting with John Fox as the culmination of a disagreement over what it takes to win the Super Bowl and stuck to a statement that has lived with him since he signed Manning: “There is no Plan B. Plan A is still the same — to win a world championship.”
On behalf of owner Pat Bowlen, Elway thanked Fox for leading Denver to 49 wins and four AFC West titles along with a trip to the Super Bowl in his four seasons in Denver. But Elway said he was disturbed by the team’s propensity to play sluggishly and disjointed in the playoffs.
Nobody had a better regular-season record in any of the last three seasons than the Broncos. Yet, Denver lost two first-round playoff games as heavy favorites at home coming off byes and suffered a 35-point thumping in last year’s Super Bowl.
Elway said he had no set timeline for hiring Fox’s replacement but added, “Peyton’s going to be involved” in the process.
While coaching candidates will be eager to know the quarterback’s plans, Manning will certainly want to know how much things will change under a new coaching staff in 2015.
Of equal importance to Manning is figuring out whether his late-season slide was primarily due to scheme, age or health — he played with a strained thigh on his plant leg for the final month — and also whether he believes Elway can bolster his protection in free agency and the draft.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
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