Gase The Best Chance To Keep Manning?

With John Fox's future in Denver up in the air, so too is Peyton Manning's. But, with Manning's most recent post-game comments, could keeping and promoting offensive coordinator Adam Gase the best chance the Broncos have in getting Manning to return?

Following the Denver Broncos disappointing 24-13 home playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts last night, Dove Valley is mired in upheaval. Speculation is running rampant.

Will the Broncos part ways with head coach John Fox? Will Peyton Manning go back on what he said on Christmas Eve and choose to retire?

What about Adam Gase? Gase has been heavily courted by multiple NFL teams to fill their vacant head coaching positions. Will he follow his predecessor, Mike McCoy, and leave to advance his career?

With the bitter, sour taste left in everyone's mouth from yesterday's loss, it's hard to believe that John Elway wouldn't make a change at head coach. Fox failed yet again. Could it be that the mile high "Super Bowl or Bust" expectations are getting to the wiley old veteran coach?

"I’m a head coach, the buck stops here," Fox said. "That’s just the reality of what we do. I think a lot of people sitting in this position have had a successful year. I would be disappointed in any of my contemporaries that their goal wasn’t to win the Super Bowl. I think that’s the setup of a 32-team league, that’s the goal of everybody. Unfortunately there’s only one (winner).”

Recent speculation has questioned whether Fox even wants to return to the team, after four consecutive seasons of failing in the playoffs, suggesting that there could be a rift between Fox and Elway.

Jay Glazer's report before yesterday's game, claiming that Fox could be fired if the Broncos failed to take care of business, came at the most bizarre time. You had to wonder who his source was.

Is it possible that source was in fact John Fox? Fox and Glazer are good buddies, after all. Glazer has oft been seen on the sidelines with Fox, having a grand old time, buddy-buddy. We'll likely never know who the source was, but that report certainly changed the atmosphere of yesterday's game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

And it suddenly cast a spirit of disquiet upon the the Broncos home Divisional Round playoff bout with the Colts. Fox just signed an extension in 2014. Is it really probable that he would suddenly want out?

No matter which way you cut it, Fox's standing with the Broncos is tenuous right now. At best. If Elway decides to move on from Fox, it could throw a wrench into Peyton Manning's previously made plans to return.

When the 2015 season starts, Manning will be 39 years old. As a creature of habit, will he want to go through the ups and downs of a new coaching regime? Probably not.

But further speculation suggests that if that new regime featured Adam Gase as the head coach, Manning would be on board. It's no secret that he and Gase have great chemistry and a phenomenal working relationship.

In the two years that Gase has coordinated the offense, Manning has thrown a whopping 94 touchdowns. The Broncos have finished in the top-5 in total offense both years. We know that Manning wants "certain coaches" to stay in Denver.

"I can't answer every what-if circumstance," Manning told 850 KOA's Dave Logan post-game. "What if you're not as healthy? What if certain coaches leave? I can't answer every what-if situation. I think I'll have to take some time to see how I feel, see how I feel physically."

Many believe that "certain coach(es)" is Adam Gase. As to whether Gase has the bona-fides to be a head coach, I submit the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons; two teams who have shown great interest in signing Gase to be their head coach.

If Fox were to be dismissed, and Elway installed Gase as the new head coach, perhaps that would be just enough continuity for Manning to justify returning.

Gase is an offensive guru. If he surrounded himself with a great defensive mind, perhaps he could change the culture inside Dove Valley and mold it into one that plays with more urgency and intensity.

For all of Fox's successes, his greatest failures can be chalked up to one word; unpreparedness. In the biggest moments, Fox's teams do not show up. They wilt when all the cards are on the table.

A lack of preparation, or an inability to instill urgency and intensity, have been the determining factor in the Broncos last three post-season losses. Perhaps Gase could turn that ship around and find a way to keep Manning for the balance of his contract.

Chad Jensen is the Publisher and Lead Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen and on Google+.

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