I’m done. Done venting. Done with my frustration. Done with my disappointment. The loss to K.C. in the big picture no longer matters. Truth is our Broncos start off this week with a clean slate. Anybody here ever have baggage? Over failed relationships, mistakes in life, missed opportunities, any of that? How miserable were you during these hard times in your life? I’ve had them just like anybody else and those are not fun things to be associated with. It’s easy to make yourself miserable with these things, but the fact remains folks, life goes on and so must we.
A clean slate is a gift. With it comes the responsibility of moving on. With it comes the promise that even though you can’t go back in time and make corrections to your life, even though you can’t hit a reset button, or wave some magical wand in front of your eyes that zaps those things away, you can see yourself. You can see yourself how you were, you can see yourself in the present, and you can look ahead to what you would do different when faced with similar circumstances.
Our Broncos need to look back and remember what has gotten them to this point. They need to view their successes and failures in the 2011 season not as accomplishments and failures, but learning experiences to build off of. They need to preen their collective thoughts to identify the little things that helped for them into a TEAM. Things like a 6-game winning streak, multiple comeback efforts, individual gains in technique and production are not the cause of but rather the result of doing things correctly. In the same breath, losing, turnovers, missed assignments are not the cause of but rather the result of doing things incorrectly. It’s not as cut and dry as that, things in life never are---there are many shades of grey and few things that are black and white. But as important as soul-searching and reflection are, it’s just as important to move on and evolve into a creature of motion.
What I’m going to say now may or may not be well understood, but I perceive it to be the truth. The identity of the Denver Broncos is not a running team that plays tough defense, controls the clock, or wins the field position battle. These things are not the cause of but rather the result of playing like a TEAM. TEAM is the identity of the 2011-2012 Denver Broncos. It doesn’t come from a winning streak, a losing streak, a comeback victory, a blowout loss, or inept individual performances. It comes from our front office, coaching staff, and players doing their job, preparing in the best way possible, leaving no stone unturned, trusting in each other, and playing and coaching beyond their individual capabilities and limitations.
So in the spirit of a 0-0 clean slate and appearance in the tournament, here’s some of what needs to happen for our TEAM to be successful.
John Fox has to look at his past mistakes in clock management and realize that sometimes a 5-yard penalty is less of a detriment than a lost timeout. He has to allow his team to be more aggressive in situations like we saw today at the end of the half. Make up your mind beforehand, that when you get to a 2-minute situation, that you are going to go after the other team and try and score points. You can’t leave these things to chance you must plan ahead, because there is no greater loss in life or football than time wasted.
Mike McCoy has to look at his past mistakes in play calling and find a way to get his young QB into a rhythm early on. He has to know that Tebow is a streaky player and needs to build his confidence early instead of relying on a miracle late. Both he and Fox have to look into their past mistakes of being too conservative for the sake of not turning the ball over in order to help his young QB make that tough throw, take off from the pocket when need be, and allow the offense more opportunity to put points on the board. If they screw up, so be it, but at least they went down trying.
Dennis Allen has to look at his past mistakes and put the best personnel on the field. That means if Von Miller is hurt or ineffective, the guy shouldn’t be out there. Both he and us fans need to understand that it isn’t an indictment on Von Miller---he’s had a great season, it’s a truthful evaluation that the thumb injury has nullified his pass rush and made him a liability in the run game.
Our offensive line needs to realize that although Chris Kuper’s injury was probably the worst thing that could have happened for him and the team, that they must step up to the challenge and play hard for their fallen brother.
Our veterans such as Champ Bailey, Willis McGahee, and Brian Dawkins need to take this time to school our younger players on what it means to make the most of your opportunities. The playoffs aren’t guaranteed---they’ve all been through miserable seasons of past where the result was an early vacation. They need to make these young players realize the value of cherishing this opportunity and playing as if this is the last chance they’ll get.
Our younger players need to shut all the other noise in their lives right now as if nothing else matters. Eat, sleep, breathe football and not one thing else.
Tim Tebow needs to look at the mistakes of his past…and forget them. This week he said something to the effect that “I don’t know if you want to forget the turnovers...” the implication being that you can learn from them. Yes Tim you can, but you also let them turn you into a QB like Kyle Orton---someone who plays scared. The reason why I’ve backed you thus far in the face of sometimes downright ineptitude is that fact that no matter what, your TEAM could count on you to play with guts, determination, and confidence. Win or lose, mistakes or none, you would be the same guy that his teammates could look to for encouragement. This TEAM deserves to have one of its leaders’ back, not someone who is playing afraid to make mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, Tim Tebow the person probably hasn’t changed, but Tim Tebow the football player did this week and I don’t like it and neither should you. If our TEAM is successful, it will be because you have the confidence to put the ball in a tight spot, it will be because you held onto the ball in a zone read play and scampered off the backside for 30. It will be because you can make a play when things break down. Just be yourself, I’ve expected nothing more or less---you know how to be a winner, you know how to make plays, you know how to lead, so just do it!!!
As fans, we need to look at our past and not bicker with each other anymore. Let’s look at this playoff opportunity the same way the Broncos need to…as a TEAM. We’re all onboard with supporting our team and wanting them to succeed, so let’s prove it by being civil with each other. We don’t have to agree with each other, but we should get along. Leave the offseason wants and prognostications alone until we get there, this week let’s focus on nothing more than Broncos football and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As of yesterday evening the Denver Broncos ceased being an 8-8 team that backed into the playoffs. They are no longer the AFC West Champs, nor are they the #4 seed. These things don’t define us, our identity as TEAM defines us. We are one of twelve at the moment, nothing more, nothing less. The slate is clean Broncos, make the most of it!!!