I’m not sure about you, but I don’t believe in curses.
Which is exactly why we need to remove the current curse that has afflicted our Denver Broncos.
Perhaps you’ve hear the folklore by now, but if not, let me bring you up to speed on the legend. Last season, the Broncos started the season 6-0. But they probably didn’t deserve this record. In the opener, they needed a miraculous last-minute tipped touchdown pass from Kyle Orton to Brandon Stokley to pull out the win. In week five against Dallas, Champ Bailey made two miracle plays in the last minute of the game to preserve the victory. But there they were—a glorious 6-0 start. All the little Broncomaniacs were taking their vitamins and falling asleep at night with visions of the playoffs dancing through their heads.
It appeared as if rookie head coach Josh McDaniels had been blessed with some outstanding karma. You’d think that he would have taken that karma and retired for a few days to spend time with his family.
The other day, one of our readers made an excellent point: azdenfan wondered if the complexity of the playbook is working against the Broncos right now. I agreed with him that this could easily be one of the issues facing the Broncos - last year, the Broncos ran a high rate of short passes (although they also ranked well in successful longer passes, something that was often ignored), and they had good reason to. The team was new - the systems were complex, coaches and players all had to develop a chemistry with each other. That’s still a work in progress, no question. Adding the vertical game has increased yardage, but points and wins are still elusive. Is the issue of the playbook’s complexity still hurting the team?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis nabbed an interview with Broncos COO Joe Ellis, who responded to questions about Josh McDaniels, Pat Bowlen and Denver’s disappointing season with typical canned responses one would expect from a person in Ellis’ role. Frankly, it’s difficult (impossible?) to find anything of substance within his words, although Klis points out that Ellis didn’t guarantee that McDaniels would be around in 2011. But votes of confidence and guarantees that a coach/GM will return are often meaningless - when asked but three months ago if the Mets’ last GM would return, team owner Fred Wilpon responded rhetorically with, “Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?” only to axe Omar Minaya the day after the season ended. Besides, we’ve already heard that McDaniels will be back in 2011, and for good reason. We’ve been over the roster overhaul many times, but as Adam Schefter and others have pointed out, Mr. B is paying Mike Shanahan and McDaniels about $6.5 million in 2011 - the former not to coach, and the latter to coach. Pat Bowlen is not about to pay three head coaches at the same time. So, if it matters to you, Pat Bowlen and Joe Ellis are not happy with the Broncos’ season thus far, and the whole organization is trying really, really hard to win every week. In other words, keep buying tickets, concessions and merchandise - they feel your pain, but what did you expect them to say?
Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.
Hey, TJ: The reason I like you is that I can’t tell if you are a Kool Aid drinker or not. Just when I think you are about to call for the firing of McDaniels, you talk about the need for patience and on the job training. Then, when I think you are on the Josh McDaniels Love Train, you show the Broncos’ stats on penalties, fumbles, and field position, which are some of the worst I’ve seen. If that’s not a reason to really examine Josh’s contract at the end of the year (or now!), I don’t know what is. You seem like a pretty levelheaded guy, but where do you stand exactly? I think you need to get on the record. It’s a LOT easier for people to take shots at you on message boards that way. Too bad you don’t have a time machine so you can go back and change your position if needed.
—Martin McFly, Hil Valley, California
Bye weeks can be tough, especially when your team is 2-6 and sitting in last place like ours is. But we’re almost to the weekend, folks. In fact, here’s an extra Thursday edition of Trivia Trough to help you along. As you probably know, the Broncos have been around since 1960, when the AFL was formed. But college stars had no interest in signing with Denver, despite the Broncos’ best efforts in drafting future HOFers like Dick Butkus, Merlin Olsen, Bob Hayes and Paul Krause. This all changed in 1967, when the Broncos finally were able to sign a first-round draft choice, a certain running back from Syracuse who would later be known as “The Franchise”. Since then, the Broncos have drafted 37 players in the first round - some stars and some busts. Let’s see how many you can remember. As always, each player’s last name will suffice, no peeking or cheating, post your scores in the comments, and best of luck!
Click here for Sporcle Quiz:
How many of the Broncos’ first-round draft choices since 1967 can you name?
PS - If anyone asks “What about Elway?” I would suggest brushing up on Broncos History 101…
Good Morning, Broncos Fans! Randy Moss is now a Titan, and Shawne Merriman is now a Buffalo Bill after their respective new teams claimed them off waivers yesterday. This means the Vikings and Dolts are off the hook for the balance of their salaries, and the new teams are now responsible. Why am I so pleased with this news, and why should you be as well? Obviously, I’m not about to say that they’re washed up. Moss is certainly not, and Merriman is still young. But the Broncos have no need at WR, and the double-whammy price tag of Moss’ salary and his attitude only make him less valuable to Denver. Plus, do you think he would even report to a 2-6 team? I think not. As for Merriman, the Broncos have been lacking at linebacker. But Robert Ayers will hopefully be back soon, and Denver has enough actual football problems without adding PEDs and domestic abuse allegations to the mix. Good misses, for sure.
Last week, we laid out the 2008 rosters of the Denver Broncos and NJ Jets and where the players that comprised those rosters are now. The purpose was to see how much work Denver coach Josh McDaniels and GM Brian Xanders had on their hands when they were hired, as compared with the Jets, who also replaced their coach following the 2008 season.
Today, at the suggestion of IAOFM reader Chibronx, we’ll take a look at another franchise which overhauled their front office following a rough (historically bad, actually) 2008 - the Detroit Lions.
Note: Each Wednesday, we take a look at a critical coaching decision from the prior week’s game that had an impact in the final score—from a statistical point.
Mike Singletary may be old school, but he sure does need some schooling.
Why? His decision to kick a field goal in the 1st half of Sunday’s game helped the Broncos. It may not have factored into the final analysis, but it easily could have.
Singletary would probably remark, like Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay, that stats are for losers.
So be it. Eventually the stats—and the expected points values—catch up to everyone (more on this later).
So, let´s get right to it, or as one of the finest poets of his generation, Dr. Dre, said, “It ain’t nuthin’ but a stat thang, baby.”
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As typical of a bye week, not much in the way of Broncos news. But, plenty of interesting stuff going on elsewhere, including Randy Moss’ refined tastes, Shanny’s newest QBgate, and the release of Lights Out.
I’ll take this Broncos lull to again attend to “business”. Thanks for being here - we continue to grow, and we appreciate your readership. Please keep telling your friends about us - the easiest (and most effective) way to do so is to simply “Like” us on Facebook and to “Like” our posts there. Just an occasional click here and there on your part gets a lot more eyes over to IAOFM. Thanks again!
You’re hearing a lot of this. You might even be someone who agrees with it. There was a movement to fire McD that started seemingly the day he was hired, so this isn’t exactly virgin territory. But, let’s say that you do feel this way. The candidates? I’m sure that there are many, but I keep hearing the names Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden. With great respect for what each has done in the past, I’d like to suggest that one is impossible and the other would be a disaster. Let me explain.