Last Sunday was a dark day for Bronco Fans. Our team was handed it's first loss, and in firm fashion. The timing and the way the team was beat, brought back the haunting fears of years past... and many began to question the legitimacy of this year's Broncos squad. "The Team was Exposed..." was a common mantra being thrown around MHR, and even some of the MSM began to question the validity of the 2009 Bronco's.
So... is this Loss a sign of what is coming?
Well, the simple answer is... It Depends.
It all Depends on what they do with it.
Weaknesses are not a bad thing... if you are aware of them. If you are unaware of a weakness, then you are in bad, bad shape... you just don't know it yet. The truth is....In football, every team has a weakness... even the very good teams. There is no such thing as a "Perfect" team.
The problem is, all teams have, someplace... somewhere, a dangerous and hidden weakness. If that weakness is never exploited or revealed early on, then that team runs the great risk of being "exposed" at the worst of times (say the play-offs), and may never fully understanding what their vulnerabilities are until it is too late to fix them.
The Good Book says in Proverbs 26:12 "Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool, than for him." Well that goes for Football teams to. A team that isn't aware that they have vulnerabilities, weaknesses, or liabilities are destined for a great and un-timely demise because of them. That is why a loss can be a very valuable gift to a team that has yet to really be "exposed".
This Sunday's loss "exposed" a lot of things about the Bronco's strengths and weaknesses... their qualities and their vulnerabilities. Had the Broncos won 33-6, we would have all given each other high fives and celebrated how dominating our team was... and how good it was to be 7-0. However, the realities of this team would have still been hidden... secretly covered... patiently waiting for another team to uncover it and reveal it's ugly truth.
So the important question is this....Which would you rather have... a deceptive win or a revealing loss?
Which one will produce a better team?
Here are three reasons why I think this loss will ultimately produce a better Broncos team.
1. It came at the perfect time.
Let's face it... you wouldn't want this loss coming on week 1 and you wouldn't want it coming in Week 17. This loss came at the perfect time for the team to identify these issues and then develop a strategy in which to strengthen these issues. There are now 9 weeks in which to purposefully practice and train in order to sure up those weaknesses. Discovering these things now is a valuable thing... It really couldn't have come at a better time.
2. It was a revealing loss.
Not every loss is a revealing loss. For example, had the Broncos lost to New England in Overtime... I don't think we would have learned as much about the team as we did losing this past week. This loss revealed several major areas of concern that will now be the focus of coaching and game planing in the coming weeks. Kick Return Coverage... Punting... Offensive Line (who would have thought)... Offensive Execution.... play calling... and others. If this team allows themselves learn from these "revelations", then they will be a better team because of it, going into the post season.
3. It struck an area that was considered a strength.
Going into this season, it was almost unanimously agreed upon that we had the best offensive line in the NFL. We would talk about how awesome it must be for Kyle Orton to be out of Chicago and behind such an awesome line as the Broncos front 5. What was so valuable about this loss was that it struck an area that we considered a strength... a revelation that is quite possibly more important than any other.
So how do losses make your team better?
Obviously losses in and of themselves do not improve you team... otherwise the Lions, Rams, Browns, Chiefs, and Raiders would all be very, very good teams. The losses themselves are nothing more than opportunities to learn, and the good teams know how to learn from win's and losses. However, some games ultimately become defining moments in the course of a season... and how this team responds to this loss will reveal if this was one of those moments. How they respond will tell us a lot about the direction our team is headed, the quality of our coaches and players, and the depth of our character.
So, take a breath and get ready for Monday Night. Win or Lose...We will learn a lot about the Broncos.