Leaving last season, we had one problem. Defense. Plain and simple. Articles were written on this very site defending Jay Cutler, saying that if we had an average defense, we’d have won 7-10 more games during Jay’s two years as a starter. That had to do with talent (or rather a lack of it). We had a patchwork defensive line and linebacker core. Our defensive secondary was like swiss cheese because we couldn’t get any pressure on the QB.
The only argument against Shanahan that I am willing to accept is that he could not evaluate defensive talent. I truly feel that we were about 2-3 players away from Super Bowl contention, and that’s where my anger about hiring McDaniels and starting over came from.
I think Jay Cutler could have stayed here, we could have drafted specifically for need and fixed the defense. Shanny didn’t deserve the axe last year—injuries were far too prevalent to lay blame on him. If Peyton Hillis stays healthy we play ball control and continue to win games.
Now we’ve thrown away a franchise QB (yes, he is a franchise QB—he wins games by himself), traded away a likely top 10 pick next year (I don’t care about the economics, we need those players), reached on multiple “accessory” players (Smith, Ayers, Quinn) that we could have had much later and thrown away zone blocking—the only system that works with our lighter quicker offensive line. These screens had better improve, because that’s the only way we get the same value out of our OL this year.
Finally, I’m really upset at the state of the franchise. We were a model of class, had no drama, and generally put out at least .500 product. I’ll take .500 and a championship every 10-12 years all the time… look at Cincinatti, Detroit, and Oakland. You’d really rather go through a decade of sub .500 ball just because “it didn’t look good” at the end of last year? For all the eternal optimism on this board, that sentiment is just down right confusing.
Now we’ve got someone with no head coaching experience making his mistakes with our team, and everyone here gives him the benefit of the doubt? All of us screw up, and we usually screw up a lot. The product will be out on the field soon, and already people are preaching 3 years no matter what happens, as long as the “effort” is there. This hiring has changed the image of Denver to one of arrogance, deceit, and omnipotence—the New England way. I hope I get to see the smirk wiped of McDaniel’s face before he takes our franchise with him.