There are a lot of opinions about Josh McDaniels, The Denver Broncos, and what is happening to cause such a proud franchise to suffer so many defeats. So why read one more? Because some basic understanding of the behaviors of humans might help you sleep better tonight. Stick around for the jump, but please, do what I have struggled to do so often. Try not to allow the pain you feel about losing or the hope you have for the future distract you from the facts.
As a financial analyst, I have had the privelage of watching a lot of people suffer the last few years. In case you weren't aware there has been a bit of trouble in the financial markets over the last few years. I get to meet with a lot of clients consistently and repeatedly, and there are a few trends that I tend to see. I believe those trends translate to football and may help us all understand why so many are so confused and frustrated with Josh McDaniels and the Denver Broncos!
The first thing I have seen, is that investors tend to beleive they have more control, over the outcomes of a particular decision, than they actually do. The reality with investing, as in football personel decisions, is that you make the best decisions with the information that you have, and see how it works out. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, but the rational is what you can control.
Josh McDaniels has had a sound rational for the personel decisions that he has made. Wether you agree with it or not he has been very clear to point it out. He wants smart, tough, physical guys that will not distract the team with character or other issues. That is a very sound rational.
That rational sent Jay Cutler to the Bears for picks and Kyle Orton. Many would say that decision has worked out pretty well so far. That rational sent Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins for 2 second round picks. Based on the emergence of of Brandon Lloyd, and the lack of distractions, most would say that has worked out fine as well. That same rational was used to trade Peyton Hillis to the browns, many believe Hillis struggled to pick up the system and he had problems holding on to the football. That decision hasn't worked out that well. Alphonzo Smith was picked at the expense of a number one draft pick based on that criteria, when he failed to exibit the mental toughness to bounce back from bad plays, he was traded to the Lions for a player that McDaniels felt would fit that profile. That decison clearly hasn't worked out so far. Many have reported that, Tony Scheffler was not a good fit, based in this staffs rational, based on toughness and attitude. The pick acquired for Scheffler was used on Perish Cox, it is too early to tell but many feel Perish Cox could be a star in this league, and is starting his career nicely. The decisions to add K. Vickerson and J. Hunter have both worked out well so far and other teams felt they were not good enough to make thier squad.
Another great example of the lack of control of outcomes is the draft order. Many look at the fact that A. Smith was a high pick and call his realease a failure without acknowledging that the success of C. Vaughn and S. Thompson an unrestricted and 7th round pick. The draft for the Broncos this year looks by most accounts to be very strong and some of the later picks have contributed far more than some of the earleir picks.
Have all of this staffs picks worked out so far? Nope? Have they stuck to their rational? Yep. Do other organizations use the same rational with success? Absolutley. Has the current staff shown and improvement in their drafts from year one to year two? I beleive so.
The second thing I have seen, over the last few years, is that investors tend to make the mistake of isolating decisions as apposed to looking at those decisions in light of the entire picture. If they bought a stock for a sounds reason and that stock went down, it is assumed that it was a bad decison. Often times the reality is that it was a good decision, baded on good reational, and that decision happened not to work out.
The offensive and defensive fronts for the Denver Broncos are great examples of this principle. Josh McDaniels announced today, that Ryan Harriss would play left guard this week and Z. Beattles will move to left guard. Many have looked at the play of the O line so far this year and said that many bad decisions have been made by McDaniels so far. They have pointed to the fact that Beattles was drafted to be a guard and was playing tackle, and hasn't played well. They point to the fact that Daniels and Hochstein have not played well at left guard. They point to the fact that Weigman was traded to KC and had played well, and Walton had played poorly.
While the assessments are, in isolation, are actually true they do not reflect the entire picture. Beattles has played pretty good, for a rookie, at right tackle, but not to the standard of a healthy R. Harris in the first half of the season. What this fails to acknowledge is R. Harris has had a serious ankle injury all year and has struggled to play well with limited mobility. The personel playing guard has struggled all year. That personel was forced to play becuase Beattles was the best option to play tackle a more important position in a pass based offense. Casey Weigman has played for a great running team, in K.C. The Broncos were in desperate need to get younger at center and made the decion to break in a rookie now. That decison has cost us this year, but it may have a tramendous long term benefit as many beleive Walton has the potential to be an outstanding center for years.
Many decisoin made by the Broncos can be questioned in isolation that make a lot more sense when looked at from a wholistic perspective.
Lasty investors tend to draw a conclusion that good portfolio decisions should equate to the portfolio have positive returns. While that is always the goal, when times are really bad in the markets, you may make good decisoins, based on sound rational, and still lose money. The Denver Broncos coaching staff, has been making their decisions in a bad market if you will.
While Josh McDaniels communicated that he expected to win, the reality is that he was brought in to rebuild this franchise. Over the past 2 years the Broncos have released an enougmous amount of players that have not been resigned by other clubs. This is sufficient evidence to prove that the roster had a lot of holes when Josh arrived. Add to the challenges, that existed on the roster, the injuries this year to E. Dumerville, R. Ayers, A Goodman, D. McBath, B Dawkins, K Moreno, K Buckhalter, L. White, K VIckerson, R. Cladey, R. Harris, R, Hochstein...
The reality is that the Denver Broncos didn't have a good team to start with, haven't had time to rebuild that roster, and have been playing without many of their good players. Add to that, the fact that the injuries on the defence forced an entire scheme change before the Jets game! This is just a bad year in the market for Denver. Many of the decisions that have been made, no matter how bad they appear at this point, are not the reason why we are losing. Last year a team that was not as good stayed healthy, this year a team that had a better roster did not. The health of the Denver Broncos is the most likely reason for poor perfornance!
To summerize, Josh McDaniels and the rest of the staff don't have as much control over the outcomes as we think they do, the decisions of that staff should not be looked at in isolation, and sometimes the ball just doesn't roll your way.
There are many things this team has done well and many things that it has not. The point of this article was to point out that the current state of our franchise is largely not what it seems, the mind just likes to play tricks on us.