Another week in the NFL, and the Broncos didn't win this time, either. The earth remains in orbit, and the stock market didn't crash (again). Once again, some of the fan base is breaking its ankles in their haste to jump back off the bandwagon. Many of them will climb over people's heads to jump back on next week, too. It's the way this season is going.
One nice thing about getting older is getting a longer perspective on things. Patience, like age, can be a useful thing. You tend to lose the idea that the immediate is as daunting as emotions want to paint. You can, if you're lucky, learn that experiencing more wins than losses is actually enjoyable. You lose some of the urge to demand constant perfection of the world. You realize that your will never manifest that yourself, and you recognize that trying to require it of those around you makes you - and them - miserable. It's a rigged game.
The other day, I was ambling about in some stat sites. An article went up about Orton and I decided to gather some stats and some research together - the better informed the argument, the more cogent it can become. I also recognized that I would need a bit of help putting together all the stats, since I wanted to find the bad as well as the good. I gave a yell to TJ 'lebowskibronco' Johnson, who was kind enough to pitch in on this article. It's from both of us.
I appreciate the recent post by Broncos Cheer regarding Kyle Orton. I loved the following discussions, and many posters made excellent points on both sides of the issue. Several folks were arguing against the long-term position of Kyle Orton as the QB of the Broncos, and that's a legitimate concern. I'm very upfront about my disagreement with that position, despite my enjoyment of the arguments on both sides. However - in my own mind, this issue can be aided by being subjected to a small amount of logic, a little history and the value of observing progressions. Kyle Orton's career is an obvious progression that will shed a lot of light on what his future with the Broncos will be.
I've been hearing a lot about Terrence Cody of late. I hadn't really had a chance to make any kind of decision on how I feel about the player and with the onset of a classic SEC LSU/Alabama contest, I thought that this kind of high-stakes matchup would be a perfect chance to find out if this is a player that I'd like the Broncos to consider or not. The week before, I spent some time wandering though the draft sites and the news media to get a little background. These are the things I found.
I found myself looking around the 'Net at stats and articles, as I often do. The outcome was an increased emphasis on examining our defense (since the offense was already a big part of Part II) and a longer look at the Baltimore Ravens. Their situation brought out a chance to talk about the history of the passing game in the NFL as well as the inevitable upcoming game prediction, so settle in and let's take a walk through the last of the October BT&M.
One of the great stories so far this year is the synergy between Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton. It doesn't take a football genius to see that they are nearly perfect for each other. As always, McDaniels likes to keep things understated. There are no stars in his locker room. When he coached Tom Brady, he would regularly make a point of calling him out in from of the team, as did Bill Belichick. the message was simple - no one is above the rest of the team. Orton is exactly the guy to take that approach with - he is one of the rare players who wants to know where his game is weak, no matter the wins.
Having taken a 'bye' week of my own, I thought that I'd put together a few musings for the general group. Before getting into the meat of this week's offering, though, I'd like to take a minute to mention a phenomena that has been showing its ugly face around Broncos Country. I'm talking about the problems of our fans having a 'Shanahangover': the sinking belief that the issues of the past years, in which the Broncos look good enough to fool us and lull us into a state of complacency before succumbing to a massive blowout (often to an inferior team) and shattering our dreams, could resurface in 2009. It's a dangerous disease, but fatal only to those who believe that this year's team has something in common with the teams of the past - notably, the past three seasons. Time will tell, but I don't see this happening any longer.
Out with the Old News
Many congratulations to the Broncos on a come-from-behind-win over the New England Patriots! Following the game, Josh McDaniels issued as close to a retraction as he could get, admitting that when he claimed that it was just another game, "I lied." His understatement was closely followed by Kyle Orton's post-game comment, "I feel like I played well." Don't get all worked up for us, now, Kyle. I love these guys.
I covered a lot of subjects on Sunday night's post and I'm not gong to get redundant. There were a few little things that seemed to matter, though. Points in the 2nd half for NE - 0. Third down conversions in the 2nd half for NE - 0. Chances of winning if you don't score - 0. That's the kind of numbers that leave me SunnySiding. So, let's get started by breaking down some of last week's game and then preparing for San Diego.
Living in San Diego now (up north, in Carlsbad), I've had a classic opportunity to follow and spy on the Chargers. Milling around the town, lounging on the beach, watching the newspapers and the tube analysis, as well as breaking down the games, I had a year-long chance to get a little insight into the team. I wanted to share with you some of the things that I've seen over that time. The Bolts are a walking contradiction, just as they are every year, of late. They're starting slow, they have seemed unmotivated and they're been fighting injuries. They are going to be playing for their season, though. It's a great Monday night matchup, and I'm going to enjoy it.
Forgive me for saying this, but those new uniforms today gave a whole new meaning to 'Winning Ugly'. But, by the end of the game, somehow they were looking beautiful. Win the Broncos did, their first win in overtime, and it was dependent on two more Kyle Orton drives late in the game. What a great win for Josh McDaniels, his first over his former mentor and friend, Bill Belichick! What a wonderful, exciting ending for a storybook week. That's the Broncos 4th come-from-behind victory. It's the second where the Broncos were down by two scores, a situation that many assured us that Kyle Orton couldn't handle. It's 5-0, and that's all that really matters.
McDaniels and the Broncos
Growing up in Canton, Ohio as the son of the high school coach is an invitation to a tough adolescence. Josh McDaniels didn't mind the added scrutiny. After all, he would later be the quarterback of the McKinley High School team anyway, as his brother, Ben, would after him. The scrutiny just went with the territory. Even at that age, it rarely seemed to bother him.
People out there will never understand the pressure Josh was under his whole high school career," said Jack Rose, who coached against the McDaniels' McKinley High School while coaching Massillon Washington High School. "The people of McKinley were tough to play for. I'm going to tell you right now, that Cutler guy never went through what Josh McDaniels went through in high school. He was really a good player, had a great winning record at McKinley, and people were always (complaining) about him. It toughened him. It made him stronger for what he's facing today. How he handled it back then, it's not surprising how he handled what's been going on out there now.
Tough is one thing; death threats are another. When Josh and his younger brother Ben took the bus to school, there was a time when police cruisers had to follow the bus. Thom McDaniels had received a death threat and one that had mentioned kidnapping this sons. It didn't stop Thom, it didn't stop his boys, and life went on. Signs were planted on the lawn of the McDanielses' large, A-framed house, making more threats. Nothing changed. The family went about its business. In his typically understated way, Josh referred back to those days this year.