ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Since returning from his heart operation last month, Broncos coach John Fox seems like a new man. More pep in his step, more color in his face, more boom in his voice. Even more gumption in his calls.
Like going for it on fourth down — in the first quarter. And sending in Matt Prater for a 64-yard field goal attempt on an icy afternoon in Denver.
Or ordering his high-powered offense not to milk the clock with a big lead at Houston, where Peyton Manning broke Tom Brady's single-season touchdown record with a late score to cap a rout.
Has Fox turned in his conservative credentials?
Fox said his health scare caused him to re-evaluate some things, but he insists it didn't have a profound effect on his approach to his job.
"Not really. I think it's just kind of a blip," said Fox, who missed four games after his surgery. "It's like an injury to a player. When you come back, you hope you're the same player again. So, I just look at it as a setback."
Fox presided over the highest-scoring team in the Super Bowl era, for which Manning set a slew of records, most notably single-season marks with 55 TD passes and 5,447 yards through the air.
"I mean, shoot, we broke just about every offensive record known to man. I don't know that that's because I've become more of an aggressive coach. I think it's because I've got a lot better offense, all right?" Fox said. "Teams I've had in the past, we were a lot more defensive minded, more Baltimore Ravens-ish when they won a Super Bowl with (QB) Trent Dilfer."
Gronkowski surgery: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will have surgery Thursday, AP reported. He missed the first six games this season on the heels of offseason operations on his back and left forearm. In his seventh game back, he tore the ACL and MCL on his right knee Dec. 8 in a 27-26 win over the Browns.
Colts: S LaRon Landry, who left Saturday's win over the Chiefs with a concussion, missed practice and isn't cleared.
Saints: Coach Sean Payton said OLB Parys Haralson has a torn pectoral muscle and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Also, CB Keenan Lewis, diagnosed with a concussion in the third quarter of Saturday's win at Philadelphia, told the Baton Rouge Advocate that "I'll definitely be out there" for Saturday's division round game at Seattle.