I've been training some new hires to prepare our store for the upcoming holiday season and the "diamonds in the rough" that I have been working on got me thinking about the "diamonds in the rough" that are our 2011 Denver Broncos.Come grab a stone and take a close look at it's potential...
(This is a slow developing story by the way, kind of appropriate for the topic, lol)
The diamond business has been a big part of my life since 2002. My love for football is actually what landed me my first job in jewelry...The manager of the jewelry store a few doors down would drop in to the pizza parlor I was working at to catch up on football scores when he had to work on Sundays in the month of December. We got to talking Broncos and Rams football a whole lot. And one day, he came in and offered me a job selling jewelry and the rest is history. Although we didn't end up working together much since he moved on to another company, we still catch games and hang out to this day...talking up the Tebow-Bradford rivalry that will soon be realized as the Broncos and Rams meet in Super Bowl after Super Bowl in the coming years!
The competitive aspect of the business I am in allows me to use my inner competitiveness to achieve sales results for my company. In sales there is always pressure. You are only as good as your last day of volume you had. Hero to zero in an instant. As a manager the pressure to perform is a constant. Every day is a quota, a grind. In some ways, it is like football. On the gridiron, many of these same rules apply. Constant pressure. Only as good as your last game, your last play.
As a manager, it is my job to recruit, develop, and retain talent. It is my job to put together a crew that can work cohesively as a unit, as well as shine on an individual level. I am only as strong as my weakest link. Sometimes I hire people that have had no experience at all in retail...diamonds in the rough. Why? Because they show more potential than some of the veterans of the business that have been selling rocks for years and years. Do I expect the inexperienced Jewelry Consultant to step right in and deliver the same results as my more established employees? No. Not right away, anyway. There is a growing period. A period in which the new Jewelry Consultant learns their craft...they learn about the variety of gemstones, diamonds, and they slowly become well rounded associates. But they are still thinking about every step they make in their guest interactions. The new consultant is afraid to make a mistake in their presentation. Repetitions. More Repetitions are needed.
After time, the consultant doesn't have to think about the steps in their presentation. They aren't telling themselves, "Don't forget to use your showpad. Don't forget to only show one piece at a time. Don't forget to mention credit and low monthly payments. Don't forget to offer free jewelry cleaning. Don't forget what the discounts are." And on and on and on. All of these things are on the mind of the new consultant and I don't see much of the employee's potential yet. So the consultant stumbles and walks a guest that maybe the veteran consultant would have closed. But experience is gained. Experience that this "diamond in the rough" will learn from and use to his advantage when December comes.And when December comes, the new consultant is now doing the fundamental things without having to think about it and their natural sales ability is allowed to show. And before I know it, the new consultant is selling great, closing deals on their own and it is coming naturally to them.
This is why I am very optimistic about our football team. I see natural talent on both sides of the ball. Raw talent.
"Diamonds in the Rough"
We have a young QB with unlimited football potential that is willing to learn. Right now he is thinking about everything. "Don't fumble the snap. Set your feet correctly as coach says to. Check your reads. Don't run first. Keep the ball high. Throw with a short motion." All of these things are going on in our young QB's head right now. Every single play. And that's not even including what thoughts are going on in his head about the defensive alignment, the play call, the protection. So the quarterback stumbles and blows a game that maybe the veteran quarterback would have given us our best chance to win. But experience is gained. Experience that this "diamond in the rough" will learn from and use to his advantage when December comes. And when December comes, the new quarterback is now doing the fundamental things without having to think about it and their natural football ability is allowed to show. And before you know it, the new Quarterback is throwing great, winning games(with help of the team) and it's coming naturally to him.
It is John Fox's job to see that his "diamonds in the rough" continue to develop, and I think he is. He is allowing Tim Tebow to step into the games and gain repetitions. With every sloppy throw, misread, turnover or whatever it may be...Tim is learning and with every snap he is coming closer to grasping the fundamentals. John Fox got to where he is because he is a good leader of men. He isn't as stupid as we sometimes think he is. I believe Fox sees the great potential in Tebow and is using 2011 to work on the fundamentals that need work.
Here is another kid with loads of talent, heart, and love of the game. And Fox knows this. I have seen strides in Moreno's running of late and I think the game is beginning to slow down for him quite a bit. There are still jittery feet seen but it is becoming less and less. We are beginning to see Moreno finish off his runs more. He is also beginning to show the PATIENCE needed to allow the hole to develop...the same PATIENCE that could be used by our fans to allow our top prospects to develop.
Von has one of the higher ceilings of any Broncos player I have seen. His leadership will begin to show in the locker room and on the field soon...but he is still thinking of his coverages, zones, and other responsibilities to be a leader. Once his play on the field becomes second nature, I think we will see the dominant leader on defense that we have missed since the days of Al Wilson and Steve Atwater.
This kid looked like he showed up to work with a hangover on Sunday. That being said, he looks like he is thinking too much about getting hurt right now. More repetitions are needed. More healthy repetitions and Demaryius will begin to have confidence in himself and his abilities. And then he will begin to develop into a strong receiver. He was drafted for his raw ability and potential to be the best receiver out of that draft. And he still has that chance. PATIENCE is needed.
Raw. 4 of the 5 players I mentioned thus far I consider raw. And Fox is grilling. Orlando Franklin is getting repetitions where he struggles, in pass protection...and now it's covering the blindside of the Broncos' fans football savior. Right now Orlando is thinking in pass protection. Don't let him get inside. Don't let him get outside. Don't let him gain leverage. Don't forget the snap count." All of these thoughts while the opposition sees blood and line up their #1 pass rusher against him as often as possible. Experience is being gained.
Robert is very close to playing without having to think so much. The fundamentals of his position have been grasped and it is very close to Robert's time to shine. A beast in defending the run, Ayers will begin to pile up stats as he finds himself in the right position now to clean up the messes Miller and Dumervil are sure to create.
"Diamonds that have lost their shine"
I've always been a fan of Andre's and thought he did a decent job covering the opposite side of Champ. in 2011, I think Goodman's one-on-one cover skills have deteriorated and with that, his weakness as a tackler are being exposed more and more. This is a veteran that I think is taking up playing time on the field where a player like Chris Harris could use the repetitions for the better of the team in the future.
"A Diamond is Forever...at least a couple more years anyway"
Still the best player on the field for the Denver Broncos and usually on either team. Injuries may have hampered him a bit of late, but I look forward to seeing Champ transition to a ball hawk safety in the near future.
I said in the offseason that Brian still had gas left in the tank and Dennis Allen is proving me correct. However, Dennis Allen may have been a bit too confident in Dawkins' recent renaissance as he seemed to be in coverage a bit more this past Sunday rather than down inside the box making plays defending the run. And Dawkins leadership and character qualities should not be overlooked as the young safeties Moore and Carter learn from a future HOF'er.
A LB that has had a solid career. More things may have been expected from DJ on and off the field. But this is a player who still plays at a high level and has been able to stay relatively healthy throughout his career as well. With a seemingly competent Defensive Coordinator on board now, I see DJ becoming more of a playmaker in the near future.
Kyle has been a true professional amidst all of the chaos surrounding his benching. He has accepted his demotion quite well and has been the ultimate "team" guy. Kyle has stated he would like to get into coaching some day, he is doing a good job mentoring Tim Tebow and I believe it will begin to show very soon in Tim's pocket presence.
One of the few remaining coaches from McDaniel's handpicked puppets. It seems to me McCoy is a bit over his head right now as an offensive coordinator in this league. Just as much as Tim Tebow has looked bad, McCoy has looked worse. When McDaniels was around it was said he was a micro manager who did everyone's job. It looks as if McCoy benefited a bit from this, let's see if McCoy can turn it around over the next 9 games. Just like Tebow, McCoy does not have many games under his belt either, so he is still thinking and gaining experience.
The Home Crowd
I don't know what it was, but it seemed like after the wide open bomb completion to Titus Young was made, the entire life of the crowd was sucked out of the stadium. In what was supposed to be Orange Sunday, a chance for Bronco fans to reclaim their throne as the loudest, toughest place to play at...ended up a huge letdown. There was not a whole lot to cheer for, but being detached way out in CA I feel like I would appreciate the mere opportunity to sit in front of my Broncos at home on a Sunday...and cheer them on through thick and thin. I didn't hear that much on Sunday...it seemed more like a SF 49er crowd from back when they were dominant and they expected to win. The fans just weren't excited, an older crowd or who knows what. Point is im pissed that opposing teams like to visit Denver so they can mock our Mile High Salutes, our Tebowing, and whatever else they please. Please fans out there in Denver...HELP restore our homefield advantage, and if you can't cheer for this team...sell your tickets to a fan that would appreciate the opportunity to be in the stands. This is Broncos Country, if you are at the games...act like it and cheer your heart out for this team and be glad that you are fortunate enough to be there. I am tired of hearing about the fact that the new stadium isn't like old Mile High...screw that! I drove 1,000 miles to a game in Denver New Year's Eve and the place was rocking!!! The stadium isn't the problem, it is the fans inside it that choose to not get loud. And I don't buy the prices of tix have priced out the true Broncos fans either...other new stadiums have no problem getting loud...ones that charge just as much for tickets.(Sorry for the rant here but the lack of a sustained enthusiastic Mile High crowd really bothers me)
I am stoked about the Broncos bringing back the orange uniforms! However, their record when using them as an alternate jersey has been absolutely horrible the past few seasons. I don't have an exact stat but it can't be too much better than 2-7 or so...
-loss to Oakland on Christmas Eve in 2006? (Al Wilson's big hit on Wheatley in the snow)
-loss to Indianapolis on Vandershank's last second field goal
-loss to NY Jets last year
-loss to Oakland this year
-loss to Detroit this year
-win vs KC last year!!!!!!!
I'm sure there are more but those are the ones that come to mind.
The Hat I wore on Sunday
Blame the Detroit loss on me folks. I got a bit cocky after the Dolphins win and busted out my throwback orange "D" Reebok hat for the game...the same damn hat I wore last year when the Broncos lost 59-14 to Oakland. So that hat while on my dome has been outscored in two games, 104-24. My bad guys.
"The Final Product"
Once the core of our team...the 1st round talent comes together and is able to play football without "thinking" about it we are going to have one hell of a football team. The talent is there. It is this organization's job to develop the talent and polish our "diamonds in the rough" so that in the near future, the finished product will be a 3rd Super Bowl ring.