Where We Were, Part 1

UPDATED 7:23PM ET

Catastrophic football games have several results, including the following:

1) Fans boo
2) Fans blame the coach
3) Fans and media speculate that the coach has “lost his team” or “lost his players” and place him on the “hot seat”
4) Fans wish for the old coach or a new QB
5) Writers pander, blog traffic increases

Here’s what I think of the above…

1) Personally, I would never boo my own team, but I suppose folks are entitled. They’re certainly not helping things, but they’re entitled.
2) Ultimately, the buck always stops at the coach.
3) Frankly, this is a ridiculous thing to speculate upon.
4) The grass is always greener, except when it’s really not.
5) We will never do this here at IAOFM. Our goal is not to be positive or negative, but to be objective and write content that is well-reasoned and thought out. That means we’ll either tell you like we think it really is, or we’ll provide you with the tools to properly figure it out for yourself.

Part of the process for measuring where the Denver Broncos are today is looking back at from whence they came. As our team got blown out of the water on Sunday, folks are now re-evaluating the Josh McDaniels Era, even though it’s but 21 months old. Yes, there have been mistakes in free agency and the draft - some already admitted (Seth Olsen, Jarvis Green), some not yet (Richard Quinn), and some perhaps given up on too soon (Alphonso Smith). But it would be a bit much to expect two error-free offseasons to begin the Denver tenures of Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders.

So, what were they given to work with? Let’s just focus on roster construction for now. Doc has pointed out several times lately that 32 players from the 2008 team are no longer in the NFL. This number includes practice squad players. But let’s look today just at the 65 players who dressed for the 2008 season (active players). Of those 65 players, only 14 are Broncos today (Broncos), while another 19 are active NFL players elsewhere (Active). 3 players are on either IR or PUP lists elsewhere (IR/PUP), and finally 29 players are out of the league (Inactive/Retired).

Examine the lists below, consider that the Broncos had a fighting chance against the Colts and Jets, beat the Titans, and got smoked by the Ravens and Raiders, and then tell us what you think. With only two offseasons to fix the following roster, can we really expect that the Broncos would be better than 2-5 right now? Do you wish the Broncos had kept any of the players who have since moved on or been moved out?

BroncosActiveIR/PUPInactive/Retired
Champ BaileyHamza AbdullahJosh BarrettBoss Bailey
Ryan CladyDre’ BlyJosh BellTatum Bell
Elvis DumervilTim CrowderJack WilliamsCory Boyd
Daniel GrahamJay Cutler Nic Clemons
Mario HagganBen Hamilton Keary Colbert
Ryan HarrisPeyton Hillis Ebenezer Ekuban
Chris KuperBrett Kern John Engelberger
Spencer LarsenNiko Koutouvides Vernon Fox
Jarvis MossMike Leach Louis Green
Matt PraterKory Lichtensteiger Andre Hall
Eddie RoyalBrandon Marshall Chad Jackson
Marcus ThomasKarl Paymah Darrell Jackson
D.J. WilliamsTyler Polumbus Nate Jackson
Wesley WoodyardPatrick Ramsey Herana-Daze Jones
 Tony Scheffler Calvin Lowry
 Brandon Stokley Marquand Manuel
 Ryan Torain Glenn Martinez
 Casey Wiegmann Marlon McCree
 Jamie Winborn Chad Mustard
   Kenny Peterson
   Michael Pittman
   P.J. Pope
   Jeb Putzier
   Dewayne Robertson
   Roderick Rogers
   Cliff Russell
   Josh Shaw
   Nate Webster
   Selvin Young


Okay, Friends. Here it is. The 2008 Jets had only 55 active players over the course of the season, which points most likely to excellent health…

JetsActiveIR/PUPInactive/Retired
Kellen ClemensChris BakerJames DearthDavid Barrett
Drew ColemanEric BartonWallace WrightAhmad Carroll
Jerricho CotcheryDavid Bowens Jesse Chatman
Mike DeVitoDavid Clowney Laveranues Coles
Shaun EllisKenyon Coleman Bubba Franks
D’Brickashaw FergusonAbram Elam Ty Law
Vernon GholstonAlan Faneca Justin Miller
David HarrisBrett Favre Hank Poteat
Wayne HunterJay Feely J.R. Reed
James IhedigboBen Graham Cody Spencer
Kris JenkinsReggie Hodges  
Dustin KellerThomas Jones  
Dwight LoweryC.J. Mosley  
Nick MangoldMarques Murrell  
Brandon MooreMike Nugent  
Calvin PaceKerry Rhodes  
Sione PouhaChansi Stuckey  
Darrelle RevisJason Trusnik  
Tony RichardsonLeon Washington  
Brad Smith   
Eric Smith   
Bryan Thomas   
Robert Turner   
Damien Woody  


Now, by no means is this scientific, nor is it what I’d call a study. It’s merely a superficial comparison of two teams, the Broncos and the Jets, who fired their coaches following the 2008 season.

In looking at these numbers, the first thing that jumps out is that the Broncos used a lot more players in 2008 than the Jets did. It’s probably fair to chalk that up to players hitting IR, especially Broncos running backs.

The next number? The Broncos have retained just 14 players as compared to 24 for the Jets. The Jets have 10 more players from their 2008 team than the Broncos do from theirs. Is this because Josh McDaniels likes to get rid of players more than Rex Ryan does? Perhaps, but if that were the case, we’d see some sort of compensation from the following number…

But we don’t - as for players still on NFL rosters or on IR or PUP lists, there are 22 ex-Broncos throughout the league, compared to 21 ex-Jets. In terms of players who can still “cut it” in this league, both teams have dumped (or allowed to walk) the same amount of players.

Finally, the list that started all of this. The 2008 Broncos had 29 players who are now either too old or not good enough to play in the NFL. The Jets? Only 10. Can any of this difference be explained by age? Looking at the names, I’d have to say no. Ekuban and Engelberger stick out as guys who may just be too old nowadays from the 2008 Broncos, while the Jets had Coles (who they just cut), Franks and Law in the good, but perhaps too old department.

What do you see here?

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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