So we got some bad news about one of the best players on our football team this week. Our All-Everything LT is going to miss the rest of the season with the dreaded Lisfranc sprain. This has obviously caused huge reactions all across the NFL in general and MHR in particular. Here is my response: We're gonna win it anyhow.
Among the most popular reactions is this: "The sky is falling! We have lost our best O-lineman and Manning won't have enough time to find his receivers! Suddenly we are not Super Bowl frontrunners, we're middle of the pack contenders!".
My response: we are still loaded. Our D-line has played excellent ball. Wesley Woodyard is a stud. Outside of one bonehead move, Trevathan may have been our most impactful LB to date. Shaun Phillips has played well too. DRC has been shutdown material. Chris Harris has been his usual amazing self. Rahim Moore has put the playoffs behind him and has turned into the second coming of Steve Atwater. Duke Ihenacho has turned into the most surprising player we have on either side of the ball. And our two best defenders have not even stepped onto the field yet. All of that is purely on the defensive side of the ball. The Clady injury does nothing to affect any of that.
On special teams, we still have Trindon Holliday who is a threat to take the ball to the house every time he drops back to receive a kick. We still have Britton Colquitt who is one of the league's best punters. We still have Prater who is shockingly making kicks from the 40-49 yard range. And let's not forget Bruton, maybe our best special teamer overall.
Now let's look at the offense.
We still have DT and we all know what he can do. We still have Decker, who, while he isn't elite, is still a very good player. We still have Welker, who, dropped passes last week notwithstanding, is an elite player. We still have Orange Julius who is transforming into a beast before our very eyes. We still have Moreno in the backfield, who is very good in the passing game and last week gave us a glimmer of what our running game can be. We still have Franklin, Vasquez, ManRam (who has played better than many, including myself, expected), Kuper is nearly ready to come back, and Beadles has been solid. And finally, we have the single most important player on our offense, the guy who brings all the rest of it together: we still have PEYTON FREAKING MANNING!!!
And now on to coaching. We still have Jack Del Rio who will find ways to keep our defense effective regardless of what personnel is on the field. We still have John Fox who has shown such an ability to adapt to what he has that it is almost a super power at this point. Need I remind you that he made a Tebow-run offense into something that actually made it to, and subsequently won, an NFL playoff game? And then turned around and installed the incredibly complex Manning offense the very next year? And who has made adjustments at the halftime of damn near every game and blown the hinges off of the opponents? Do you really think that he won't find a way to adjust to minimize the effect the loss of Clady has?
Every team in the league faces adversity. The teams that make it to and then eventually win the Super Bowl are the ones that fight through that adversity and win in spite of it. Isn't that what we want the Broncos to be? Super Bowl winners? Then let's have faith that our brain trust of Fox, JDR and Elway will find a way to get it done. This is still an amazing team. And there is no QB in the league better suited to handle the loss of a stud LT than Peyton Freakin' Manning, and he is on our team. And so I say it again: We're gonna win it anyhow.
UPDATE:So, it looks as though it is possible that the Niners will lose Aldon Smith for a while to suspension. We can only hope that the league enforces its rules fairly and he gets to sit for a while for committing infractions that are quite frankly considerably worse than what Miller did. Additionally, we now have confirmation that Seattle will be without their starting LT for at least 6 to 8 weeks. So now all of the top three teams in the league, us, the Seahawks and the Niners, have extremely important pieces of their teams missing significant time. I wonder if the other two teams will weather their losses as well as we have ours so far. At any rate, I am feeling better about our chances today than I did yesterday, and I felt pretty good yesterday.