Somewhere around halftime in our preseason game against Chicago, I was thinking to myself, "This is going to be a long season." I hadn't been following much of the media hype, but I had watched the previous preseason games on TV (and consequently heard my fair share of the criticism). I had never watched preseason games before, so i guess it hadn't sunk in for me that preseason games aren't a real predictor of regular season performance. Of course, as with most coaches, evaluating his personnel was equally as important as winning to McDaniels. But there's something more. Where the Broncos have really played well this year is in the second half, and the starters weren't in the preseason games after the half. So of course those games didn't go the way the regular season games went. I think that the way the Broncos have played in the second half relates to the way that McDaniels coaches, and the kind of team this is. The implications are very promising.
To begin with, I think that the reason the Broncos play better in the second half is because the players on this team are smart enough to understand adjustment and put them into effect over the course of a game. Unlike some teams that rely on gathering enough talent to steamroll over opponents that will hopefully be weaker for the whole game (imho this would be Dallas of the Jones era), the Broncos under McDaniels have enough baseline talent to be competitive, and they rely on the ability of their coaching staff to pinpoint the opponents' weaknesses and the intelligence of the players to implement the coaches' strategies to put them over the top. Of course, communication is also key. You can see this attested to in profiles on McDaniels--the ones that have been done since the Broncos started winning, that is.
The huge reason that this bodes so well for our team is that intelligence, the asset valued under the McDaniels staff, is largely overlooked, undervalued, and flat out shunned by most coaches. This is because they do not know how to use it, so it becomes a liability, and they fear it. With most coaches, you get teams full of mavericks who are quickly dissatisfied because they are smart enough to understand that their coaches aren't helping them win. As a result of intelligence being an undervalued quality, we can get players that will make great contributions to our team for a lesser cost than another team pays for a player making a comparable contribution based solely on talent. This is all because McDaniels has something worth communicating and has the ability to communicate it.
For me, the proof of my opinion that our team has a great deal of intelligence in its players comes from player interviews. Brian Dawkins is the one that stands out the most, as I see more interviews with him than almost anyone else. Champ Bailey is very smart, as well. Orton seems smart, if very cautious in his discussions. Royal seems intelligent, though less gregarious than Dawkins. And so on.
So, although I don't fully believe it myself, yet, on a real deep level, I think that we can continue to expect these outstanding second halfs from the Broncos. And I think that we may very well be able to build a good, decade long dynasty. Kind of like the young Browns, who created a dynasty by getting value out of players like Sammy Baugh, who would have been perhaps less valued by a team more interested in defense than in passing.