I’m guilty; guilty of buying into the overly positive spin about the 2009 Broncos. I view this as a problem because I don’t want to be disappointed in my team (note: being disappointed doesn’t mean I’m not supportive of the team). Before I get to the main point of this post, I would like to note a few things.
1) I know it’s only preseason, so no one needs to get too concerned. Nevertheless, the preseason does provide us with evidence of how the team is progressing.
2) Orton looked better against Seattle. I’m willing to give him a mulligan on the left-hander. As someone else pointed out, he was put in a position to fail. Orton was trying (perhaps too hard) to make a play. A defender was grabbing his right shoulder, so he quickly switched the ball to the off-hand and threw the ball up hoping for a miracle. No big deal. He doesn’t have a history of regular season interceptions.
3) In general the #1 defense looked good. I’m very happy with the pressure on opposing QB’s. I think we have 7 sacks so far this preseason? However, the lack of turnovers is still an issue with this team and the defense just can’t seem to get off the field in critical situations (i.e., the Seahawks 2 minute drill).
4) I love the Broncos and coach McDaniels and I will support them until the day I die.
And now to the grist……As far as I can tell, McDaniels is a detail oriented coach. I think everyone can agree that the attention to detail was evident in the first preseason game, where there were relatively few mental mistakes (absolutely amazing for a young, first time head coach, in his first game). I’m not a coach but I was really impressed that McDaniels had the team practicing how to enter the field and how to stretch! Based on this previous evidence, I was shocked to see the wheels fall off in the second half of the Seahawk game. The holding calls, the turnovers, the missed assignments, the confusion in all three phases of the game (e.g., two players going after the ball on the kick return, a blocked punt, receivers being grouped within 5 yards of each other and none of them having a clue the ball was coming, defenders still getting into position as the ball was snapped). I couldn’t believe my eyes. Where was the discipline we saw in the SF game?
I was also disappointed with Brandstater and Ayers. I feel that equivalent players on other teams have performed much better than Brandstater and Ayers. Case in point, the Washington Redskins. Chase Daniels and Brian Orakpo had really strong nights for the ‘Skins (against the Super Bowl Champion Steelers I might add). Orakpo was shockingly quick off the snap and showed amazing closing speed, he really looks like a force to be reckoned with. Chase Daniels didn’t have huge numbers but he made plays, so much so that he may have put Colt Brennan out of a job. Anyway, the point is, given McDaniels’ attention to detail, I would have thought that Brandstater and Ayers would have been in a much better position to succeed. Neither player looked to be ready for a simple preseason game. I’m not saying that this won’t change, but I’m not impressed so far, especially given McDaniels’ previous success with QB’s. I certainly hope that Simms’ injury is not serious, because Brandstater certainly is not ready to be a #2 and until the roster purges at the end of the preseason, there won’t be any viable QBs to bring in.
So what’s the point of this post? The point is that I am disappointed in myself for not paying attention to the evidence at hand. Instead, I drank a little too much Kool Aid, and now I’m paying for it in the form of unmet expectations.
I realize that not everyone will share my point of view but I prefer to be realistic about my team. We have a new coaching staff (except for Turner, Dennison, and Burns), ~47 new players in camp, new schemes in all phases of the game, a potentially difficult schedule, and a controversy-filled offseason. Based on this evidence, why would anyone assume that we are going to have a 10+ win season? While I hope the Broncos will shock the world, I am willing to accept almost any outcome as long as the team is disciplined and physical, which is why I was ecstatic when I heard Coach McDaniels declare that he wants the same things. Unfortunately, the sloppiness in the second half of last night’s game was disconcerting and somewhat surprising given McDaniels philosophy and the relative success of the first preseason game. Here’s to hoping that the team gets on the same page, works their asses off, and manages to shock a few people during the regular season. In the meantime, I'm willing to be patient and reduce my expectations….damn Kool Aid.