I have taken a few days to really think about what I witnessed Sunday Night, and to really, really think about what is happening this season. Before I get into that, I just what to say what a relief it is to hear that Al Wilson appears to be fine and should fully recover. Amzingly, it is being REPORTED that Wilson may even play this Sunday in San Diego. What a lift that would be, but will it be enough?
In other injury news, Cecil Sapp became the latest Bronco to be placed on injured reserve. Sapp suffered a broken leg late in Sunday's loss to Seattle.
The injuries to this team are really starting to mount, and when you don;t have a lot of depth to begin with it is only a matter of time before they start to have a negative impact on the team.
That leads me to my thoughts on the state of the Denver Broncos today. They are what they are, a 7-5 team on the fringe of making the playoffs. They are alos a team that is 5-5 against competition not named the Oakland Raiders, and a team that has a 3-4 record against opponents with a winning record.
They are a sloppy team, as 5 turnovers last Sunday would demonstrate, but are we to expect anything else from a team filled with undrafted free agents playing large roles? Mike Bell fumbled last Sunday, he was undrafted. Brian Clark fumbled a crucial kick-off last Sunday, he too was undrafted. The lack of talent evaluation on this team is starting to catch up with them. While teams like the Patriots, or Chargers m ake the most of each and every pick, the Broncos have squandered many of them, taking fliers on players they hoped would become something. I call it the "Terrell Davis Effect". What TDE has done to the talent evaluators of this team, namely Mike Shanahan, is lead them to believe they are smarter than they actually are. Shanny thinks he can find another diamond in the rough, needle in a haystack, or potential hall of famer in the 6th round. Let's face it, that only happens once, and only if you are extremely lucky.
Special Teams has been a huge deficiency on this teams for years. Why? Becuase our drafts have been lackluster for years. Where do you think Special Teams players come from? They are the rookies/1st year/2nd year players drafted in the middle rounds. We used to succeed there. Ian Gold was a 2nd round pick that played special teams before becoming a starter. Now we don't have those guys. Becuase of the lack of talent the Broncos are forced to play Al Wilson on Special Teams and look how well that went.
Once again this off-season the Broncos will have a plethera of middle round draft choices. It's a good thing too, becuase this team has a lot of holes to fill. The Broncos would do themselves a big favor by looking for the best athlete in the draft at the time they are picking, and getting him. An example? How good would Chicago's Devin Hestor look in the Blue and Orange?
The Broncos used to do a great job of drafting Defensive Lineman, but then failed to lock them up when the time came. Unfortunitely we can not just plug anyone in. That area, more than any other, is also a weakness, and the lack of pressure we get from our front four has killed us when it matters the most.
One area not getting alot of attention is the Offensive Line, and that needs to change. The loss of Matt Lepsis was definitely a blow, but the rest of the line hasn't played up to it's reputation either. Tom Nalen is starting to show signs of his age, and George Foster completely lost his job to a guy that didn't play football for 2 years.
All in all, the team is about where it should be. Where they go form here is anyone's guess. Youo need only look to last season when the Steelers were 7-5 heading into Week 14, barely hanging on to the playoffs. We all know what they accomplished, 8 straight wins and a Lombardi Trophy. If the Broncos hold the same aspirations they may just have to do the same thing.