This article in today's Denver Post talks about McD tossing the West Coast offense aside, in fact it is supposed in the article that his erasing of the West Coast offense was the main reason he did not bring Bates back. That makes sense to me.
However, if the "West Coast Offense" will no longer be in the playbook, the Broncos "Running Game Style" is done and gone.
You have to ask yourself: How successful has Denver been with their running game?
Well, that's an interesting question. Is it the backs that really make it go? Is it the offensive line? Is it Bobby Turner? Was it Alex Gibbs? Is it Rick Dennison?
All are legitimate questions. In the Super Bowl years, Denver had an unreal combination of a great RB and a great O-Line. Denver had the best running game in the NFL.
Denver's O-Line scheme was anywhere from good to great throughout most of the 2000's, but the backs that ran behind it were inconsistent. Portis was a good (not great) back. But he's the only Broncos back I'd take in his prime other than Davis over many other RBs at the time.
In the end, I'm not trying to start a debate, I'm just saying that something is OBVIOUSLY not working if Denver had the best O-Line in the NFL last year (according to football outsiders.com and a top 2 O-Line according to Espn the Magazine) but can't run the ball, it would seem to me that its the combination of back AND O-Line that makes a running game exceptional, not one or the other.
If a good back plays with a great line (like in the Portis years), the running game will be very good, but an average to below average back with a great line doesn't scare anyone (see 2008).
And that's the "Denver Style Running Game". The bad thing about Denver's "Style of Running Game" is that it was not adaptable to its players. The players had to fit the scheme.
Onto greener pastures...
The Patriots offense (McD's offense) over the last two years (nicknamed the "amoeba offense" because of its ability to adjust to its personnel and defensive schemes of its opponents) is quite the opposite of Denver's style.
In this day of the new-school free agency era, your team (in my opinion) must be able to adjust to new personnel. It's impossible to have any continuity of personnel in today's NFL (because of FA and the Cap), and Denver's simply been behind the times on both sides of the ball.
I am thrilled that McD has a plan and he's aggressively pursuing it. I have been wholeheartedly impressed with the level of volition that McD possesses while stepping into a completely new position. I LOVE that he isn't tip-toeing around anyone or anything.
He's making this his team. As well he should. And in the process, he's updating Denver's personnel strategy.
As much as most folks think Denver's offense was great last year, it wasn't. Cutler was great last year, not the offense. Really, how good can your offense be when it's mostly one dimensional and it has a hard time with short yardage and red-zone situations?