Horrible loss against oakland, still have a bad taste in my mouth, but I am getting past that already. We Still have 2 games to play and we have 8 wins. I really think that we can beat Philly and KC to go 10-6 which should put us in the playoffs. I realize this, but I'm not sure how effective we can be in the playoffs if we do make it there. We have a good team, but it is not Super Bowl or even AFC champ material. I think for us to go 10-6 would exceed the expectations of many people. Just the facts that we have a brand new coach, quarterback, offensive and defensive systems, and a roster that has been changed dramatically since last year, is very impressive. Think about it: these guys have only been playing together for not even a full season yet, and we have seen some very promising results. I know it's hard to think about that right now after that game vs. oakland, but looking at the big picture it makes me happy. Let's think about what we have ahead of us:
Last year's draft was considered an amazing draft after last year's performance. We had Clady, one of the best LT in the league; we had Eddie Royal, a great speedy receiver with a ton of talent and looking like he would just get better; we got Jack Williams, a good young CB; Spencer Larson, an extremely versatile player that played fullback, linebacker, and special teams; and of course Peyton Hillis, the truck of a runningback that could run anyone over.
Well, as of now, that draft isn't looking as amazing as we had thought. Clady is still an animal, but i guess if you want to be picky, he isn't perfect. Eddie Royal took a HUGE drop in production, for reasons i still cannot figure out. Jack MF Williams was cut this year, in favor of Ty Law. Spencer Larson is a great blocking fullback, but he has been injured much of the season. Peyton Hillis is the one that many people are confused about. Why is not getting playing time?? Well I trust in McDaniels that he hasn't deserved to play, but it is very interesting considering what we saw from the guy last year.
So lets jump to next offseason, 2009 free agency. Right now, these guys are looking like really really good acquisitions. Correll Buckhalter has been great this season when he has played. It has really helped to keep Moreno from getting the load right away, kind of ease the rookie into the offense. Jabar Gaffney has been a good addition, playing across from BMarsh a lot of the time. Mitch Berger was brought in to replace the not-so-good Brett Kern. At first he was actually looking like a downgrade, but he has since stepped it up quite a bit (little 12 yard punt or whatever against the raiders notwithstanding). Ronnie Fields and Vonnie Holliday have been impressive and have made our D-line a pretty good. Darrell Reid has done good things on special teams, as well as defense. Andra Davis has been doing a better-than-expected job in the middle with DJ Williams. And then there's the secondary. Wow. Andre Goodman, Renaldo Hill, Ty Law, and best of all Brian Dawkins. These guys have played at a very high level, especially Dawkins who you cannot say enough about. This guy has really changed the attitude of the Bronco defense, while playing great at the same time.
How about the 2009 Draft? A very controversial draft, some questionable moves. Let's start with Knowshon Moreno. McDaniels loved this guy, and some people were quite surprised when the Broncos took him at 12. Many were criticizing him for not picking all defense. I think Moreno will be a great back in this league, especially once McDaniels has gotten the interior lineman that he needs to make his system work. Moreno is a hard worker and is very versatile. I love this kid. Then we went with Robert Ayers. Well, look at a stat sheet, and Ayers is a total bust so far. That is not at all the truth, though. Robert Ayers has gotten great pressure and has held the edge well when asked to. He is part of the reason Doom has 15 sacks on the season. I'm liking this pick at this point. Now here comes an extremely controversial move by McDaniels and Xanders. The Broncos trade their 1st round pick in 2010 for a second round pick, Alphonso Smith. Many have called him a waste of a pick right now, because he has not done much so far. I agree that he has not been much of a factor, but the guy IS still a rookie. He is still learning, and i think, just from how much talent the guy has, that he will be our starter and a good one sometime soon. Darcel McBath was unknown when picked, but i LOVE this guy. It is really a shame that he had to be injured for the season..Can't wait to watch him next year! Then came Richard Quinn, another pick that people criticized. McDaniels picked him because he wanted to run 3 TE sets and Quinn was the best blocker coming out of college, with underrated hands. David Bruton, great pick! He has shown that he is a great special teams player and that he will someday be a starter at safety, and a good one. Seth Olsen, just some depth. Don't know too much about the guy, because of lack of snaps, but he was picked as depth and that's what he's doing. Kenny McKinley's future to me is unknown. I'm not sure if he will just be a guy that gets cut next year, or if he's a guy that will be one of our starting receivers. He has some good explosion, as seen on some of his kick/punt returns. Tom Brandstater is loved here at MHR. People are hoping that he can turn this guy into the next Tom Brady (or at least a very good quarterback). We'll see. Schleuter was cut in training camp. Chris Baker is also loved here, and he is a beast, and hopefully our starting NT or maybe DE eventually.
Now we are looking ahead. The free agency period really depends on that CBA deal. If a deal is not met, free agency will be somewhat inactive. I highly doubt we do anything like last year, getting that many players, but we'll have to see what McXanders does with that. Ok so we have the NFL draft coming up after that. Right now, I am really stuck on getting Alabama LB Rolando McClain. This guy is a beast, is a great leader, is versatile, and is very smart. Does that sound familiar?? I don't know though, it is a possibility that we trade down and get some depth, like many people want us to do, and that's not a bad idea. I haven't looked deep into the draft enough yet, but I also like the idea of getting Dexter McCluster or someone similar, first of all as a Sproles type of guy in the offense, but also to take the return job.
So overall, i am REALLY optimistic about the future of this team. We have a smart young coach, a good starting QB, and a very good, young receiving corp. We have a young RB that should be very good, and we have great young offensive tackles. On defense we have a great secondary now, and in the future. These young secondary players have promising futures: Alphonso Smith, Josh Barrett, David Bruton, Darcel McBath, and Tony Carter just had a great game for us. Our Linebackers are great, with the amazing Elvis Dumervil at one OLB spot, and on the other we have Haggan, backed up by promising Ayers. DJ Williams and Andra Davis have played very well for us in the middle. Our "garbage" D-line has many unknowns, but they are good. Ronald Fields was one of the best FA pickups, with Kenny Peterson, Vonnie Holliday, Marcus Thomas, doing a great job. We have Baker just waiting behind them, hopefully someday being a starter for us.
So be optimistic. Maybe we won't make the playoffs. Maybe we will, but we will lose right away. Maybe we will win the Super Bowl. Whatever happens this year, I think that there are even better ones to come.