The Broncos have penalized, fumbled and fallen into the basement of the second worst division in the NFL, and the worst part about it? They're all alone. The majority of the teams in this division are in a rebuilding phase. Tom Cable in Oakland, Todd Haley in KC and of course our own Josh McDaniels all started picking up the scraps of their rosters at the same time and began building their foundations. How far has the McDaniels/Xanders come in that time?
Before you go and throw yourself off of the seemingly empty Broncos bandwagon, know this, the team the Broncos lost to last night is now number one in the NFL in pass defense, total defense, pass offense and total offense. I say again, the Chargers are #1 in all those categories. Of course the Broncos certainly did nothing but help those statistics last night, but the Chargers certainly seem on their way to winning their sixth consecutive division title. The Broncos on the other hand, are a team without an identity. When I look around the division I see teams like KC and Oakland developing identities both in the running game and in the front seven on defense. When each team installed a new head coach, it seemed like Denver needed the least rebuilding given its 8-8 record in 2008. But something happened, the Broncos experienced a 78% roster turnover in two years.
I heard a statement from Brian Xanders earlier this year that has put a lot of the Broncos losses into perspective for me, " 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." I have been trying to figure where all the players that replaced those 32 have come from and what kind of impact they have made on the rebuilding process.
I found a statement in the profile section of Brian Xanders in the Broncos Yearbook magazine that I found interesting. It states, " During the last two years, Denver has been one of the NFL's most aggressive clubs... signing the most unrestricted free agents (17) ... while completing the third-most trades (15) in the NFL." The article goes on to say, " In addition, Denver has selected 10 players during the first three rounds of the last two NFL drafts...that ties for the most in the league over that stretch. The Broncos enter the 2010 training camp with only 19 players remaining from that 2008 roster". Players like Tyler Polumbus and Jarvis Moss have been dropped since the beginning of camp, so that 78% has only gone up.
Xanders and McDaniels have ripped up and rebuilt this roster faster than anyone else in the league over the past two years. They have outpaced not only Cable and Haley but also Morris in Tampa Bay, Schwartz in Detroit, Spagnuolo in St. Louis and a few others. Looking back now it appears they have hastily built a house of cards without a solid foundation that is being held up by gimmick play actions, untimely corner blitzes, and a pass rush that can be timed with a sun dial. Last night, in front of the entire country, the rebuilding process of the past two years hit rock bottom.
It's time to start rebuilding once again but first we need to find our identity, we need to build a solid foundation and that begins with continuity on the roster.