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.
1) The Broncos' new-found openness. How cool is it to have the guy who is known for "The Drive" tweeting you directly about his every move? Yeah, it's pretty cool. As long as he's not giving us his views on politics, religion, or his recipe for five-layered lasagna, I'm getting excited.
2) Perry Fewell. Although we only saw what the Broncos wanted us to see from Fewell on video, I was still impressed with the guy's maturity and how unguarded and approachable he seemed. I'm even more impressed with the defense he put on the field in New York this year. In case you missed it, his defense had 39 takeaways. The Broncos had 18.
3) Watching the Ravens take the Chiefs to the woodshed. While everyone knew that the Raiders were actually a better team than the Chiefs this year, the Chiefs happened to catch more breaks and stumble into the playoffs. But they are losing their offensive coordinator, they have a terrible receiving corps and quarterback, and their schedule won't be so soft next year. As Fat Man member NaggleNole said yesterday, the Condiments are in trouble. If I asked you to rank Philip Rivers, Tim Tebow, Jason Campbell, and Matt Cassel, in what order would you put them?
4) The Broncos have picks 2, 36, 46, and 67 in the first three rounds come April. By the time the draft begins I expect we'll see even more picks in the top 80. Don't pay attention to the number of picks the Broncos have, especially in the late rounds. In this year's draft they've got quality over quantity. And with the quality of players available in the Broncos' positions of needs (DL, S, DT, CB), I have a hard time believing they are going to miss with their first three picks. It's just too hard this year. Even for Brian Xanders.
5) As far as I know, the Broncos aren't interviewing the Jets' strength and conditioning coach. Perhaps they should. They need to figure out some way to stop guys from running free down the field.
1) Brian Xanders' lack of openness. It's strange that as the Broncos are opening every door of the organization to fans, they really won't give us the story of the relationship between Xanders and McDaniels. We've heard Josh was a "one-man show," but what does that really mean? If you are simply going to promote Xanders without even blinking, the fans deserve to know precisely which moves Xanders wanted to make and which moves he was against. It's relevant, and Xanders should just come clean. The fans will understand; they might even come around to supporting Xanders. But right now, he just comes across as John Elway and Joe Ellis' butler.
So far, we've read leaked speculation he wanted to keep Peyton Hillis and draft Clay Matthews Jr. How convenient. How about all of the other moves? Do you think fans would like to know how integral Xanders was on drafting and/or trading Alphonso Smith? The Laurence Maroney deal? Come on, Xanders. Just tell us what truthfully went down.
Last week, 104.3 The Fan in Denver tried to get Xanders to appear on the radio from Monday to Friday in an attempt to ask him the questions that we all have wanted answers to. He continues to dodge them.
2) Peter King. The only thing King was doing on NBC on Saturday was trying to stir up a hornet's nest. Mission accomplished, PK - but did you have to use such poor form to do it? Don't you already have enough Twitter followers?
3) It's hard to believe, but of this weekend's playoff teams, the Broncos handily beat the Chiefs and Seahawks, while playing a close game against the Jets. How did that happen?
4) It appears as if the Broncos will lose Ron Rivera to the Panthers before they even had a chance to interview him. Guess that Xanders guy isn't so decisive after all, despite saying last week Rivera was on their list of coaches to interview.
5) It probably doesn't help the Broncos that the Raiders can't franchise Nmamdi Asomugha. Having two top-tier cornerbacks out on the market only makes the price go higher, especially now that Al Davis will do anything to keep Asomugha. You think Davis was crazy paying $17 million/year? Just watch. John Elway says they want to bring Champ Bailey back. Let's see if he really means it (hint: tell Joe Ellis, Mr. Elway, that having Champ Bailey enter the Hall of Fame as a Bronco has tangible and measurable ca$h value for years).
Who The Heck Knows?
1) Knock it off, Tyson Jackson. What off, you ask? That dude's head off, that's what.
2) If you listened to Mark Schlereth last week, you'd know that Rick Dennison was by far the best interview the Broncos had in their last coaching search, and it wasn't even close. It's now two years later, and with Dennison coming off a successful stint with the Houston Texans, do you think anything is going to change? I expect that he will be the pick, given all of Elway's talk of turning the Broncos back. I personally would have liked to have seen Rivera come to town, but the thought of Dennison's implementing a West Coast bootleg offense for Tebow doesn't send me packing my bags.
3) By the way, just because John Elway says something, it doesn't make it a fact. He said he doesn't believe Tebow is a good NFL quarterback right now. I beg to differ. If keeping a terrible team in every game he starts is bad, I'd sure as hell like to know what good is. I'm not here to slam Kyle Orton, but if you think Orton wins against the Texans or comes within a long pass of beating the Chargers, you, my friend, are hittin' grandpa's cough syrup too often. I don't even need to bring stats into the argument (for one, the sample size is too small), but when Tebow is on the field, the Broncos are going to be in every game. Why? He generates scoring chances.
4) Roger Goodell said there's not going to be a lockout, but Jerry Jones said a lockout wouldn't necessarily be bad for the game. One guy gets paid to spin. The other just gets paid. Who are you betting on? I'll bet you a Simon Fletcher autographed jersey that behind closed doors, Roger Goodell calls Jerry Jones "Mister Jones." If I'm wrong, good luck collecting. I've been looking for a Simon Fletcher jersey for years.
5) John Elway, Brian Xanders, and Tim Tebow are stranded on a deserted island full of restless Broncos natives. I've got no punch line, but who makes it out alive?
As always, feel free to give us your gut reactions from this weekend.