Oh, Broncos coach John Fox knows the rap against him. Here's how the story goes: It's a happy accident his NFL team averages 43 points per game, because Fox is so conservative he put the fuddy in duddy.

"I don't give a flying flip," Fox told me Wednesday. "I'm going to get evaluated on how many wins and losses I have."

So I asked: When he looks in the mirror, does Fox see a conservative coach?

"Well, I won a lot of games being conservative," said Fox, whose victory against Washington was the 101st of his 12-year career as an NFL head coach.

With Fox as coach, the Broncos have gone to the playoffs with Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning as quarterback.

"Did I have to adjust a little bit from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning? Yes. But I don't know that makes me conservative. It makes me a decent coach," Fox said.

During a stretch of the most recent 38 games with Fox as coach, the Broncos' record has been 28-10.

"Coaching is putting your players in the best position to win. And if you don't do that, they won't play hard for you. You won't have their confidence," Fox said. "I wasn't going to throw it 49 times a game with Tim Tebow, and that's no knock against him. And I'm not throwing the ball on fourth-and-2 with a different guy at quarterback than Peyton Manning."

But, at the midterm of the NFL season, the question lingers: Can Fox be the leader who guides the Broncos to the Super Bowl, or is this veteran coach with the 40-grit sandpaper voice and the let-the-good-times-roll laugh merely along for the ride?

In a Twitter age when a coach's personality is defined in 140 characters or fewer, the guy pacing an NFL sideline can be quickly be reduced to a cartoon character. New England's Bill Belichick is Coach Hoodie. In Denver, Mike Shanahan was the Mastermind. Because the Broncos let the final seconds of a fourth quarter tick away during a stunning overtime loss to Baltimore in the playoffs, Fox is Mr. Take a Knee.