No, silly, I'm not making another post to call out the fellow Broncos fans. This one is a call out of our own head coach. Yeah, some of you say I just follow the company line and like whatever Coach McD does because HE does it. Not so. I said in my last post that I'll call out anyone that deserves it and no one is exempt from it.
Admittedly, I tend to lean towards McD's side in the Marshall/McD debate. It's not a matter of bias, it's a matter of history. Josh McDaniels has made some mistakes, but BMarsh is KNOWN for being selfish and the recent events are a murky puddle of stink. It's hard to make out a clear cut story out of it, but then again we don't know the whole story and possibly never will.
So, while everyone is laying out their laundry for the world to see, I'm going to as well. Hey, it's fashionable right now! Besides, if the season is going to end in less than 12 hours from posting this, then I want to make sure everyone here knows where I stand. If nothing else, it's so no one can make the claim that I follow the company line blindly. This is a short compilation of things I think the coach needs to improve upon in his sophomore year to make things a wee bit better on the field. Again, this is just my opinion.
Josh, oh Josh. Where should I start? Well, we could start at the questionable short yardage decisions, or we could start at the part where you keep thinking Alphonso Smith is better than he seems to be right now. We could really start anywhere, but I'm gonna just make a little list. These, my friends, are the things that drive me crazy about our head coach.
- Learn from your mistakes -- It's said that a crazy person does the same thing over and over while expecting different results. I understand you wanting to get Knowshon as much game experience as possible. His rookie year is a mulligan of sorts. No, he isn't allowed to be a bust and not get blasted for it, but if the kid's gonna make mistakes, I'd prefer he made them now than over the course of the next 4 or 5 years. I like your idea of keeping a fresh running back in the game all the time, but it's curious that Knowshon can't get the same numbers Buckhalter can when they are sharing the load. True, Knowshon does have more TD's, but Bucks YPC makes Knowshon look like Muggsy Bogues is toting the rock in the land of the Jolly Green Giants. All I ask is that you examine the entire running operation. From the O line to the RB's themselves. Figure it out.
- Pick one blocking scheme and stick with it. -- Some of the more experienced offensive minds here might be able to debunk this one, but don't most teams use ONE blocking scheme for the offensive line? What's this crap about going from zone to power to zone and so forth? Terminology gets me a bit confused, but didn't the 2008 Broncos utilize zone? Was it not fairly successful? Why does the power scheme turn level headed men into crazy giddy little ladies? Someone please, help me out.
- Let Peyton Hillis in the game on SHORT YARDAGE SITUATIONS -- I don't know if he'll be around in 2010, but if Hillis is still donning predominantly orange in September, please let the man take the ball on 3rd or 4th and 1-2. I suppose you could do something along the lines of having Larsen as a FB and Hillis as an HB in this situation. Run a sweep or a draw with Larsen as a lead blocker and watch magic happen. I'm not saying to put Hillis in the game forever, I'm saying he can do things that Knowshon can't at this point.
- Reevaluate where Alphonso Smith fits best -- I only mention this because as a nickel CB, he really seems to get eaten alive. Even my elementary school football coach would target him in a passing situation and I don't doubt the 9 year old kid would catch the ball over Phonz anymore. Not all is bad with him, but for the price paid, I certainly hope the game slows down for him a little bit next year.
- Get yourself some help -- The playcalling has been suspect more than once this year. Unfortunately for you, there is no one to blame here but yourself. You took all the offensive playcalling responsibility so you take all the blame when it doesn't work. You live by the sword (or tactical knife, COD FTW) and you die by the sword. I'm sure you are more than capable of calling a good offensive game plan week in and week out, but for the love of Shosanna (Inglourious Basterds anyone?), please let someone else at least help you from time to time.
- Consult Brian Dawkins from time to time -- B Dawk doesn't seem like the type to take advantage of you if you're in a sensitive state. I'd be willing to bet he is the lifeblood of Denver's intensity this year. You've seen how the players react to Dawkins and what he means to the team. Maybe you should fraternize a little bit with that. One of the things that makes guys like Mike Tomlin so likable (and respectable) is the fact that he will tell you straight. He doesn't seem like the type to be above anyone. That kind of attitude could really resonate throughout your locker room full of young players. Remember week 5 when you were fist pumping the crowd? That was your signature moment. That defined you as a head coach to me. Be that guy more often.
- Admit if you screwed up -- Accountability is the word of the week, no? If YOU made a stupid call, then YOU need to admit that YOU made a mistake. Taking the blame for something like that might make you look like a fool now, but if you were my coach and admitted screwing up, I'd be much more likely to say "hey, that one was my bad" when I screw up. It's give and take.
- Your position demands respect, but your actions can take it away -- Does the head coach deserve to be treated with respect? Yes, he does. No one in that locker room has any business contradicting the coaches demands. However, there will come a time when people get tired of hearing the same song with nothing to show for it. I won't say that you have "lost the players" because I believe you still have control of the locker room. Just remember that the 45 guys you put on the field will determine whether or not you get to keep your job. Respect them as much as you want to be respected and I can almost guarantee you will go places. Guys like Dawkins, Graham and Orton will make sure no one takes your kindness for a weakness. Now is the time to establish yourself as the 54th man on the roster come gameday.
- Pound the fundamentals and coach with a chip on your shoulder -- The experts call you a blunder. The experts said the "front seven is garbage" (Mark Schlereth), and the team played with a chip on their shoulder for it the first 6 weeks. I think you'd be just as successful if you tried to beat every team 70-0 every single week. Make your game plan one that involves blowouts every single week and you might find yourself on the winning end of more close games.
Again, this is just my list of issues. There's a couple I've left out, but they don't bear repeating anyways. In no way do I think I'd do the job better than McD. He's the coach for a reason and I'm willing to wait and see his entire plan play out. These are things that I think could get worse with time if they aren't alleviated relatively soon. I've got faith in you, coach. Remember that just like the young players on the team, you are also young and you have just as much to work on as they do. You're smart, so I fully expect you to take care of what you need to between February and September. Got a list of criticisms? Share it with me.