Just when you think it's safe to turn out the lights, Brian Xanders scares the hell out of you.
Like most Broncos fans, I was beginning to accept that Joe Ellis, John Elway, and Brian Xanders simply won't discuss what Xanders did or didn't do under Josh McDaniels' reign of fire. Despite the fact that Elway and Ellis are now presenting the Broncos as an open choose-your-own-adventure book--complete with Twitter requests for head-coaching candidates--I was beginning to move on with the understanding that the fans are supposed to readily accept that the search for a general manager wasn't going any farther than Arvada. I was even prepared to drink some Xanders-laced Kool-Aid. He can't possibly screw up the 2nd-overall pick, I thought.
But then came freaky Friday.
Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Denver Broncos.
You wanna roll your way into the semis?
Drop TJ a question: email@example.com.
(NOTE: No marmots were harmed in the writing of this revue)
TJ, I'm laughing all the way to the NFC Championship game, while the Broncos are saddled with the #2 draft pick. Thanks, Broncos fans, for giving us the franchise quarterback we needed here in Chicago. I noticed your silly post the other day on Cutler. Do you really believe that garbage? Rick Reilly is a complete hack as are you. Both of you obviously have had a problem with Jay Cutler from day one. And even if that stuff is true, who really cares, idiot? Since when does listening to John Elway mean jack? You're just jealous we're heading to the Super Bowl, while you're stuck with a guy who still can't even take a snap from center and spends more time with the bible than he does his playbook.
--CutlerBearsFan, Aurora, Colorado
Quick, what do the remaining playoff teams have in common?
Yes, all of them could double up the Broncos. But I was thinking about something else.
All four teams are ranked in the top ten in both takeaways and defensive 3rd-down efficiency.
What's the lesson?
Don't pee on an electric (de)fence, that's what.
Oh, and the Broncos need an electric fence real bad.
Now, on to The Positives, the Negatives, and the Who The Heck Knows from this weekend.
Still wish the Broncos had Jay Cutler after all this time?
I don't. Josh McDaniels may have done a lot of things wrong, but one thing he got right was to send Jeff George's clone packing.
Cutler could win a hundred Super Bowls and I wouldn't care; the Broncos could finish at the bottom of the AFC West for a decade, and it wouldn't bother me. As long as I'm assured Jay Cutler will never throw another pass for the Denver Broncos, I'll be content.
This recent article from Rick Reilly hasn't received too much attention from Broncos fans, and rightly so. The Broncos have been pretty busy hiring a coach. But just in case there is anyone out there who thinks the Broncos would be better off with Cutler over any of the Broncos' quarterbacks, take a look at Reilly's article.
For those that can't bear to look, I've got some highlights.
Although the Broncos did not play this weekend, I have to tell you - I didn't miss them one bit.
It was time to put this season out to pasture. Did we really need to see another backyard Slip 'n Slide party from the defense?
Sure, I could have used a few more game tapes on Tim Tebow. And I would have liked to have watched Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas work themselves into more consistent wide receivers. I would even have enjoyed listening to Brian Xanders tell us that he would have drafted Arian Foster instead of Knowshon Moreno if not for Josh McDaniels' Napoleonic tendencies.
But, of course, it's time to move on. So let's get to some smaller Gut Reactions from this weekend. I'll do my McDaniels' best to keep everything Broncos related. What does that mean? I guess it means I won't (supposedly!) tell Brian Xanders.
Over the last several weeks of analyzing Tim Tebow's throws, I've come to believe he is already making great strides in his pre-snap reads.
This shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. After all, Urban's Meyer's offense at Florida was, in part, predicated by reading both safeties and their position relative to the line of scrimmage. When Josh McDaniels (hiss!) said that Tebow and he were at the whiteboard for hours upon meeting, he wasn't lying (no one knows if Brian Xanders was informed of the whiteboard incident). Tebow wasn't completely green at reading defenses pre-snap like many college quarterbacks are.
But unfortunately for quarterbacks, the defense rarely stands still after the snap of the ball. What first appears like an outside linebacker blitz is actually a zone coverage to the flat. What appears like middle-zone coverage is actually a delayed linebacker blitz.
Last week the Chargers did some interesting things post-snap to confuse our hero. We'll take a look at one such play today in The Playbook Abides. This will help us gauge Tebow's continued growth and development.
Yesterday, my senses failed.
I thought I was ready. I told myself I wasn't going lose my perspective just because the greatest Bronco of all time was now given the position of lower deity at Dove Valley. I was ready to watch the entire spectacle with a critical eye. I would not be fooled by the glitz and glamor of Elway's five Super Bowl appearances.
But then something happened. Elway stood up and showed enough enthusiasm to light the building on fire. He even said the magic words, "Mile High Stadium."
It was a pure mindfreak: a supernatural occurrence beyond comprehension.
I lost all perspective and objectivity. Hours later, drunk off the euphoria of hearing Elway talk about the championship days, I still couldn't bring myself to rational thinking.
I turned on the radio; I wasn't the only one.
Here's another video in our ongoing FICTIONAL video series The Really, Really Blind Side.
If you missed our first video, you can check it out here.
In this installment, Joe Ellis and Brian Xanders go back to the 80s with a little Poison.
Despite all of the excitement late in today's game, the Denver Broncos just finished the season a woeful 4-12. This was their worst finish since the War of 1812.
So what do the Broncos do now besides pick 2nd in next year's draft? Bring in their own war veteran, John Elway.
Good luck, John. I know you're about the closest thing to Chuck Norris the Broncos have ever seen, but the NFL you left a dozen years ago isn't the NFL you're about to re-enter.
You once drove 98 yards while being pelted with dog biscuits. That's going to seem like a cakewalk compared to what you're getting into now.
Your owner wants to win now; the boss' right-hand man is a guy who measures success by dollars spent per box seat; your general manager is a guy who just said that the ideal way to win in the NFL is to run the ball half the time; after you find a head coach, your other order of business it to try and figure out who is going to be the franchise's quarterback for the next decade.
Oh, and the fans? They've seen so much drama in the last two years, they'd prefer an re-run of Lost to yet another Broncos front-office change.
Call off the bloodhounds. It appears as if the search for a general manager was over before it even began.
At least you'll have a shiny new John Elway doll to distract you.
Enter Brian Xanders...stage bereft.
According to multiple reports, Pat Bowlen, Joe Ellis, and John Elway will make it their first order of business to give Xanders full control of personnel decisions next week. For an organization set to have one of its worst records in franchise history, this seems a little rash.
Right now the NFL is teeming with hungry and talented GM candidates, but the Broncos already have their inside man.
Within one week of ending the season?
If only the Rooney Rule applied to the search for a general manager. It would at least force the Broncos to interview candidates for the job.