When the Broncos play the Cardinals tomorrow, there's more than just the Broncos' integrity on the line.
There's the #5 draft pick.
As it stands today, the Broncos and Cardinals are tied for the 5th-worst record in all Goodell's World. The team that loses tomorrow has a leg up in the draft standings. In front of them are the storied franchises of Carolina, Cincinnatti, Buffalo, and Detroit--teams that share between them seven Super Bowl appearances.
The Broncos themselves have six. My oh my have the Broncos have stumbled since the days of saluting the Mile High air.
Good Morning, Broncos fans. More bad news from Denver, as Perrish Cox landed himself in jail and has been charged with felony sexual assault. The alleged assault occurred on October 28, the day the Broncos left for London; Cox was left behind while recovering from a concussion. Cox missed practice yesterday and his status for tomorrow's game in Arizona is unknown; he is listed as questionable on the injury report.
As announced earlier in the week, Brian Dawkins, Spencer Larsen and Demaryius Thomas are out for tomorrow's game. Andre' Goodman, Darcel McBath and Matt Prater are listed as questionable along with Cox. Meanwhile, the Cardinals finally announced that rookie John Skelton would make the start tomorrow at QB.
UPDATE 5:27PM ET: The latest story from the DP states that Cox was released from jail today at 2PM MT and that his bond had been $50,000 rather than the $15,000 reported earlier. The judge in his case has allowed Cox to leave the state for the Broncos' upcoming road games and also for a family event next month.
According to an AP report via CBS4, the next court hearing date for Cox is January 7.
UPDATE 12:52PM ET: LJ points out that the alleged assault took place on the day the Broncos left for London. Cox stayed behind after having suffered a concussion four days earlier in the 59-14 loss to Jokeland.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Matt Prater joined Andre' Goodman and Darcel McBath on the list of limited participants, due to a groin injury. Russ Hochstein and Jamal Williams returned to practice after missing Wednesday's for non-injury reasons. I'm sorry the Lard has been so sporadic in terms of timing this week; I was out of town until last night. Great time to get out of dodge, right? All will be back to normal come Monday. As always, thanks for being here and helping us make IAOFM a joy to produce. We appreciate your readership, and for "Liking" us and our posts on Facebook - every click gets the word out!
I spent part of yesterday morning going through the tweets that have come out of Dove Valley this week, and it left me with a single, concise conclusion: It may well be worse than even the most devoted of the fans thought. After listening to as much of the Ellis presser as my digestion could stand, I was starting to disbelieve what I was hearing.
I’d sent an email to Ted Bartlett regarding his (very good) column yesterday on OneManFootball.com, and I talked a bit about the history that’s led up to this week’s events. Ted had noted that Mike Shanahan started burning through defensive coordinators in 2006, which is undeniable. In my own eyes, the problem began back when Shanahan promptly made sure that Greg Robinson, the defensive coordinator of his two Super Bowl champion teams, had to go following the team's playoff loss in the 2000 season.
At the time, I was stunned. You just don’t fire the guy who ran your defense during a three-season stretch in which the team went 39-9 and won consecutive Super Bowls. In the 1998 playoffs, Robinson's defense held Miami to just a field goal in the divisional round and allowed only a single offensive touchdown each to first the Jets in the AFC title game and then the Falcons in the SB - the former after a blocked punt and the latter coming long after the outcome was decided. Getting rid of Robinson smelled of scapegoating, whether that was in intention or not. This, after it was the offense that could manage only 3 points against the eventual-champion Ravens, not to mention that Robinson was given a starting secondary of Ray Crockett, Terrell Buckley, Eric Brown and Billy Jenkins to work with.
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 glad the Broncos rid themselves of McDaniels. Guy had a huge Napoleon complex, and further, his hair cut was atrocious. He deserved to get canned for the hair alone. Dude could have used a short spiked look with the ends razor cut to add some texture. He could have combined this with just a little facial hair as well. I had been thinking of a slight pencil mustache. But what do I know? Let me ask you the right question. It's obvious we need a new GM before we get a coach, so who should the GM be?
--Johnny Antin, Los Angeles, California
Good Morning, Broncos fans. Brian Dawkins, Demaryius Thomas and Spencer Larsen have already been declared out for Sunday's game. Andre' Goodman and Darcel McBath were limited participants in yesterday's practice, the first run by new interim coach Eric Studesville. Apparently Studesville is more of a motivator type than Josh McDaniels, and he extended an olive branch to the players yesterday by having them practice without pads.
Has anyone noticed that of Denver's 9 losses, 8 of them have come at the hands of teams that currently have 6 wins or more? On Sunday, the Broncos will face the worst team they've played all year in the Cardinals, and a fifth-round rookie QB in John Skelton. So if Denver wins, surely it will be because Studesville took the pads off, because he smiles more than McDaniels, and happier players are better players? Sounds like a neat little DP narrative...
Last week I ripped the Broncos fan base for being spoiled, and I included myself in that cohort. We are exactly that, because in team history, it has never rebuilt. It initially built for a long time, did well for 30 years, faded, and now needs to be rebuilt for the first time ever. We’ve covered this, and I feel like my continually talking about the perils and stupidity of unannounced rebuilding has spread the word to others, who are also talking about it.
I believe that Monday may have been the darkest day in franchise history. That occurred to me within minutes of learning of the firing of Josh McDaniels, and I’ve now spent over 24 hours considering whether I’m being overly hyperbolic. As I said on Twitter Sunday, my words count in perpetuity, so I’m careful-ish of what I say. I don’t think I am overdoing it, friends. Let’s consider what really just happened.
Yesterday, we talked about the state of the offense - what the new coach will have to work with, and areas where we might be strong or weak. Today, I’d like to talk for a moment about defensive concepts and options, and then take a look at our players and consider what might need to be done.
I’ll come clean - I love the tales of offensive strategy, and learning its history. Stories of the birth of formations and systems that are often a century or more old -- and yet are new again, rearranged, adapted and yet vital and still effective -- are a pleasure to learn. It’s a long series of remarkable lives, about men who changed the game and the sagas of so many great legends: both those among the living and those who came before. The stories never cease to amaze me. There’s really nothing like it, with the endless competition, the human interest, the quest for mastery in every season and the constant drama. It’s a game that has a certain percentage of outcomes within a mathematical certainty that people like TJ and Doug can quantify, yet carries with its outcomes an endless percentage of disciplined chaos that changes, puzzles and constantly entertains me. At its heart, it’s still a more civilized form of unarmed territorial warfare. It’s not a coincidence that they refer to the contest in ways that connote battle.
Broncos COO Joe Ellis on Tuesday said of the prior day's coaching change that "Our goal is to finish the year on a promising note and make our fans proud of our team. That's what we intend to do...(Studesville) will do his best to make this organization proud, to make our team, our town proud over the next four weeks."
Chew on that for a moment, if you will. What could the Broncos possibly accomplish over the next four weeks to make Denver proud? Is Eric Studesville going to lead the Broncos on a four-game winning streak? If so, does a four-game audition prove that someone who's never been more than a position coach is qualified to become the next steward of the Denver Broncos Football Club? One would have to imagine the answer to all of those questions is "No." Granted, Studesville is merely the interim coach of a franchise now in disarray - expectations will be low, and moral victories will surely be touted in the DP after close losses under Josh McDaniels meant he was a failure.
So what did Ellis mean? Were those just the canned words Denver's PR department put together for him? Four weeks is nothing in NFL terms, certainly not when viewed through the prism of a man's career or the wellbeing of a franchise. Yet Pat Bowlen and Ellis felt they couldn't afford Josh McDaniels but four more weeks to finish out his second season as the Broncos' head coach. There's been a lot to think about since Monday evening, but one question keeps coming up - "Why now?"