With all the angst going around calling for Josh McDaniels' head on a platter, the firing of Brian Xanders or even calls for you to sell the team (really?), I have come to realize that this is actually your doing. Since these problems are yours and yours alone, let me explain why I believe you must stand pat and stick to your original plan.
It was you, Mr. Bowlen, who decided to hire a new Head Coach and General Manager who have huge potential and tremendous football IQ, but who both wholly lacked any experience within their new positions. These two men have had to earn their spurs on the job and mistakes have been made, however, they have also made some brilliant moves. The up and down nature of their performance is more indicative of their learning curve than an indictment of some inability to do their job.
As Josh McDaniels continues his growth as a motivator and play caller, his players will gradually respond more and more to their leader. It could happen overnight through a huge moment, it may have already happened and the results are soon to follow or it may never happen. If the latter is the case, then it would be prudent to make a change, so long as McDaniels was given his full term to make something of this team.
Brian Xanders has already made a positive mark on this football team through the draft and free agency. His unique ability to seemingly work well with Josh McDaniels without overbearing egos impresses me. It is refreshing considering how many A.J. Smith's are out there emasculating their respective head coaches.
The problem is, Mr. Bowlen, you decided to hire your two leading men with a combined zero years of experience at their respective positions to completely rebuild your football team. Such a task will take more than eighteen months to complete and it is up to you to show Broncoland your patience and resolve to look at the big picture. Fans and Journalists are not exactly macro-thinkers, rather they are invariably prone to emotional and irrational thoughts. A man in your position must look years into the future and I must believe you had to have known there would be more bad games than good games in the first two years.
This is why I believe you must stand pat, Mr. Bowlen. If these words have not convinced you, allow me to expand upon my opinion with some facts.
- 32 players from the 2008 roster are no longer playing in the National Football League. By comparison, the 2008 Kansas City Chiefs who went 2-14 for the season had 22 players out of the NFL by 2010. Even one of the worst teams in the football had more long term depth on its roster than the Broncos did.
- Draft failures from 2001-2008 have crippled the organization. Two pretty solid drafts and two solid free agencies will not be enough to correct the terrible drafts of the previous seven years. Brian Xanders and Josh McDaniels have thus far proven an ability in drafting quality players. It certainly appears there is light at the end of this very dark and dismal tunnel.
- Mike Shanahan spent his final years denying the reality that the Broncos needed to enter a rebuilding mode. His delay made things far worse than they were in Kansas City, as Herm Edwards actually made a few steps prior to being fired towards rebuilding. Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders are 18 months into a complete rebuilding of the team.
"We let go of 32 players from 2008 (roster and practice squad) who were here who never played in the NFL again," Xanders said. "There's a plan in place. We're laying the foundation for success. And most of the decisions have been productive."
So in hindsight, I must apologize to you as well Mr. Bowlen. My expectations of this team were not realistic. That is not to say I am not happy with the direction the organization is headed, rather I am just having a difficult time keeping my head straight as we all walk through the dark tunnel together. I see the light; I hope you do as well.
For now, I am grateful to have a great owner for my team. I believe in what Brian Xanders and Josh McDaniels are doing to build this team and we all must weather the storm as they both grow into their roles as General Manager and Head Coach, as well as, weathering the mistake-prone youngsters that are now filling out the roster. As time goes on, the storms will become less intense and eventually disappear, while the mistakes and gaffs will evaporate with each game played.
For certainly, starting over is a far worse proposition than staying the course.