Bronco Fans, training camp is next week. It's time to face the cold hard facts.
Your Denver Broncos are now the worst team in the NFL. It ain't even close. In 2009, you ought to prepare yourself for imminent doom (and I don't mean Dumervil).
How can I make such a claim? After all, the Broncos do reside in a division home to California's 10th best football team (USC, 49ers, UCLA, Cal, Fresno State, San Diego State, and a handful of junior colleges best the Raiders). And the Chiefs scalped themselves when they shipped Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta (welcome to KC, Matt Cassel!). Even media darling San Diego (Chris Berman's wet dream in powder blue) seems to change character more often than Dr. Jeykll on a potion binge.
So the Broncos can't be the worst. No way. Not possible.
Oh, it's possible. Thanks to two men. Two awful men. Two bad men. Two awfully bad men.
Pat Bowlen and Josh McDaniels.
Let's start with Pat Bowlen. Here is a man with two Super Bowl rings and five Super Bowl appearances (and a penchant for fur coats). And what does he go and do? First, he fires the greatest coach in NFL history, Micheal Edward Shanahan. Greater than Shula. Greater than Lombardi. Greater than Landry. Greater than Walsh. Greater even than Patches O'Houlihan, who famously said, "Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation."
Don't give me this crap about 3 seasons of mediocrity and 1 playoff win since Elway. Don't give me this garbage about losing control of his players and a revolving door of defensive coordinators. And you better not bring up Marcus Nash, Dale Carter, or Maurice Clarett. If you win a Super Bowl with John Elway and Steve Young as your QBs, you deserve to be the head coach for life. I don't care if you treated the salary cap as if it was Monopoly and Jake Plummer as if he was a hippie hitchhiker, no one better ask questions. Not even you, Mr. Bowlen.
And from here it gets worse. Bowlen doesn't hire Bill Cowher like John "the weasel" Clayton says he should. He hires Josh McFreakin' Daniels as Head Coach. What was he thinking? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. McDaniels worked his way up through the Patriots organization in scouting, offense and defense. And yeah, sure, he has 3 Super Bowl rings at the age of 32. And okay, his offense shattered every record on earth in 2007. And you had to bring up Matt Cassel, didn't you?
Okay, look, I don't care if he made the water boy a Pro Bowl quarterback. Bowlen was just foolish to turn over his franchise to a guy with little coaching experience. He already turned his franchise over one to an offensive coordinator with little coaching experience before and it got him 2 Super Bowls. Wait...can I start over?
Well, forget Bowlen. Look at McDaniels and what he's done! He traded away a franchise quarterback, man! Jay Cutler was here for only a short time, but his arm was ungodly. Jeff George strong. Stronger than Peyton Manning's. Stronger than Tom Brady's. Mike Vick's arm is stronger, but Mike isn't hitting the field (or man's best friend) for awhile.
I mean if you were ever going to find a QB who Ron Jaworski would pay to watch film on, it is Cutler. And even though he's never won a playoff game (or 10 games for that matter), I am quite sure he was responsible for last year's play off run by the Nuggets and this year's playoff run by the Rockies. In fact, let's be honest, it wasn't John Elway's arm that built Invesco Field (aside from the taxpayer subsidies), it was the anticipation of Jay Cutler's stronger arm that did it. In fact, Chauncey Billups shouldn't have worn number 7 to honor Elway's 15 year career, he should have worn number 6 to honor Cutler's amazing 3 years. Come on, Chauncey! Get with it!
Cutler was so cool under pressure he found the time to baby talk with Philip "waaaaa!" Rivers between drives, but didn't have the time return Pat Bowlen's phone calls. He had time to compare his arm to Elway's, but didn't have time to text McDaniels. This is the essence of cool, my friends. Puff out your chest and ignore the rest. Especially inside the huddle.
And with whom did McDaniels entrust the franchise? That's right. Kyle Orton. This guy has problems. He's not cocky. He's not flashy. He won't even say that Brandon Marshall is "not his favorite guy right now." All he does is shut his mouth, forgets the razor aisle at Wal-Mart, and wins games. Wait...I want to talk about his arm strength...can I start over?
Well just forget about Orton and Cutler. McDaniels didn't draft a defensive tackle or fix the defense; you have to cede this point to me, don't you? I don't want to hear about Mike Nolan's record as a defensive coordinator. I don't want to hear about switching schemes completely. And I'm not going to listen to you tell me about Brian Dawkins and his leadership abilities. Just tell me why they didn't draft B.J. Raji. Oh, he was drafted before Denver's pick in the first round? Well, how convenient for you.
Okay, fine. Forget all of this. I'm just going to level with you. I watch ESPN. I watch the NFL Network. I read Woody Paige. I listen to Jim Armstrong on the radio. Bill Williamson's blog is exciting to me. And they all say the same thing. I mean if Jamie Dukes says something (and he was a player in the league), it means something, right?
God, did you have to bring up Matt Millen?