Well folks sorry I have been missing from these boards/blog the last 7 days or so, life sometimes becomes so much crazier that football, and the thoughts I want to put on the screen, can't make it there. I missed the recap after the GB game last week, so this weeks recap is a combination of both the GB and Detroit games.But I think I want to focus on Our coach, our leader, Mike Shanahan. Don't worry I'm not calling for anyone's head here, but he has good and bad qualities, and some of them are affecting this team.
First Down: Shanny the GM, part I Yes Ted Sundquist is the GM, but I think it's safe to say Coach Shanny has as much personnel influence as anyone in the league. I don't think this is a good thing. Being a coach in the NFL is more than a full-time job. It is taxing work and it requires a person's full attention. While it's easy to say "If I had this player here, we would be so much better" It really should be left entirely up to the GM to deliver that guy.
General Manager is also a full-time job. Just because Shanahan is qualified to do both jobs, doesn't mean he can do them both, at the same time. In college I was qualified to ait tables, I was also qualified to be a cook at the same restaurant. Doing both jobs at the same time would have been too much, even if I had a decent support system in place. I believe Shanny is a good, if not great, coach, but he may be distracted by his other responsibilities.
Second Down: The GM Part II Another aspect of Shanny's work as GM is that, he isn't very good at that position. Whether it's because he doesn't have the time to focus on it, because of that whole coaching thing, he hasn't exactly been the best GM in the world.
2007 is too early to tell (but not looking promising) The 2006 draft looks like a success (Cutler, Dumervil, Scheffler, Marshall) and '05 was a decent one (Darrent Williams, Paymah, and Foxworth, Chris Myers) but also featured the Clarett debacle.
But look at the '00-'04 drafts.
'04- DJ Williams,Tatum Bell, no names
'03- George Foster, Ben Claxton,no names
'02- Ashlie Lelie, Clinton Portis, Jeb Putzier, Mosanto Pope, Sam Brandon, no names
'01- Reggie Haywood, Ben Hamilton, no names
'00- Deltha O'Neil, Ian Gold, Mike Anderson, Cooper Carlisle, Kenoy Kennedy, no names
We're supposed to be a Super Bowl team drafting like that? I know not every one's a winner, but there are only a handful of starters in there. currently here are the starters from these drafts for the Broncos (excluding '07):
Cutler, Marshall, DJ Williams,Chris Meyers, Ian Gold.(Ben Hamilton is also on IR)
Dumerville, Sheffler, Paymah, Foxworth,
That's not very good drafting. Yes some of those draft picks were used to trade for good players (Portis, Bell, Foster, for Bly and Baily), but there's notice what's missing in that lineup... our biggest weakness D-line.
Third Down: Turnover This could really go into the "GM" files as well, it's kind of a hybrid between Coach and GM, but ultimately the job of picking the players that go on the field is the coaches job. Against Green Bay, NBC ran a graphic listing the number of players that were starting last year in week 7 and this year, and the Broncos had 7 players. 7!. Yes some of those are injured, (Nalen, Walker, Hamilton, Al Wilson) and death (Williams) but good god. Football, more than most (and some would say all) is a TEAM sport. changing out more than half your starters in a season is a recipe for disaster. Yes in the NFL roster turnover is commonplace but I don't think you can change out that many players and expect them all to play cohesively together the next season. Maybe by the end of the year, but then it'll be too late.
Nothing encapsulates the Broncos problems quite like the defensive line. Last years version was pretty decent. Yes they faded down the stretch, but overall they played well, and certainly played better than this years version. So what do we do? can most of them and bring in guys like Sam Adams who was a great run-stuffer, 5 years ago. Quick name every defensive lineman from the last 4 seasons including this one. Can you list them? How long is that list?
The pink slips aren't limited to players either. Shanny goes through Defensive coordinators like opposing running backs go through Denver Broncos defensive line, version 126.96.36.199.
Fourth Down: Coaching calls The roster turnover is starting to affect the actual play calls as well. The Offensive line, once a staple of stability, is now in shambles. Shanahan can't call the plays he needs to because of Cutlers inexperience, and the offensive lines inability to block, especially for pass-protection. The porous defensive line affects the offense. If Denver gives up a TD, or two, early, as it often does this season, Shanahan can't fall back into a ball-control grind the lead down strategy. That only works when you have faith in your defense to keep the opponents offense out of the end zone. That confidence is lost this season. It's obvious Shanahan doesn't have that confidence. Instead of feeding the ball to Henry and wearing down the defense, too often this season he's had to leave the game in the hands of his talented-but-young and inexperienced QB. This is a recipe for disaster, which is exactly what the Broncos season has become.
(I wanted to list all Denver D-line since 2004, but couldn't find any rosters before this season... anyone know of them?)