While we’ve been pondering the changes to the coaching structure I’ve been wondering about some of the patterns of the past season(s). There were a lot of patterns of play that emerged during the season that weren't discussed since Shanahan’s firing and the subsequent coaching search took over the news. I’d like to take a few minutes to look back at what was and to consider starting to plot a course out of the wilderness on the offensive and defensive positions. Starting with the one that we’ll probably (hopefully) change the least - offense - what do you see as the most important changes we have to make – or not make – by position?
There has been quite a bit of discussion on MHR recently about the quality of the Broncos' drafts under the direction of Mike Shanahan. Many here believe that Mike Shanahan, the General Manager, is the main reason that Mike Shanahan, the Head Coach, was relieved of his duties last month by Pat Bowlen despite his three-year contract and pair of Vince Lombardi Trophies. There has not been much disagreement on this front. Yet the question of whether Shanny was a successful drafter or not, or whether he did an adequate job of retaining the talent he drafted has been contested quite a bit, and rightfully so. It's one thing to draft quality players, it's another to develop them properly, and it's yet another thing to hold onto that talent as their careers progress.
Jason Garrett is the perfect Head Coach for the Broncos if they want to keep Jeremy Bates as the QB coach and find a DC with his own style who wants a massive challenge to call his own. He was named Pro Football Weekly's NFL's Assistant Coach of the Year in March of 2008, and for good reason.
I never thought we'd be in this position at this point in time, but the Broncos are now in the position of having to find a Head Coach and a General Manager. I expect that those jobs will be filled by two men, and I think that they should be. Also, the Head Coach will have a staff to select. I have some thoughts on each of these topics to share with the community. Let me preface all of this by saying that I think that Pat Bowlen has earned our trust, regardless of what he does. He is a truly outstanding owner.
I have been a Broncos fan for nearly twenty-two of my thirty-one years, and Mike Shanahan has been the HC for the last fourteen. Perhaps this is not a good thing, but since John Elway's retirement, Mike Shanahan has been the identity of the Denver Broncos. Hopefully, it will soon be Jay Cutler. That remains to be seen, but obviously things are pointed in that direction and it cannot happen soon enough. I am, like everyone else here, a Broncos fan through-and-through and will remain so for the remainder of my years. I will always root for Mike Shanahan, although that statement will clearly be tested if he were to find employment with the Chiefs, Chargers, Jets or Cowboys. But that's for another day. This has been quite a shocking eighteen hours for me, starting with my brother-in-law's text message "Didn't really see that move coming." I am still shell-shocked, I cannot imagine Denver Broncos Football without Mike Shanahan roaming the sideline, and I am still angry. I awoke this morning hoping to find it was all a dream, but of course that never happens. All that said, here are the things I will miss about Mike Shanahan...
During the third quarter of last night's game, my lady-friend texted me and said "It could be worse." I texted her back with "Sure it could be worse. I could have accidentally stabbed myself in the testicles while cutting an apple, AND the score was 38-13." THAT would be worse, you have to admit.
Ordinarily, when I want to do analysis of a team and an upcoming matchup, I look at a few games. I felt like that wasn't really necessary in this case. I watched the Week 2 game between Denver and San Diego, and saw everything I needed to see.
To wit, consider these numbers: 34 First Downs, 145 Rushing Yards, 341 Passing Yards, 486 Total Yards, 34:00 Time of Possession, 39 Points, 1 Turnover. A story was told in September, one which is very easily understood. The San Diego Chargers cannot stop the Denver Broncos.
I'm upset about yesterday, just like all of you are. We all need to take a deep breath, and calm down, though. It's not time to panic, it's time to focus. I know that that is what the coaching staff is telling the team right now, and I'm taking it upon myself to remind our fan base of it, because we're a big part of this too.
Well, here we are again. Another chance to clinch the division, and this time, the game is at Mile High. Really, this game against the Bills is both interesting, and a little bit scary to me.
For what it's worth, I think the plan to avoid knowing the outcome of the Chargers-Bucs game is very smart. I want to see the Broncos come out on Sunday, and be ready to play well and win this game, regardless of what happens in Tampa, or anywhere else. Then, I'd like to see the Broncos go to San Diego looking to win another game and finish 10-6. It's definitely worth the risk of injuries to go legitimately beat the Chargers on the road, so that everybody can shut up about the Hochuli situation.