Someone has to pay. I mean, you can't give up 52 points in what was essentially a playoff game and keep your job, can you? Add that 52 points to the other 398 points the Broncos surrendered and you have what some would say was the worst defense in team history and someone has to pay, dammit.
The Broncos defense was bad, and unfortunately for the team and fans, it was at its worst when it mattered most Sunday Night. I can't say the job that Bob Slowik did was acceptable, at least judging by the results on the field. I would caution you, however, to think twice before simply disposing of the embattled defensive coordinator in favor of yet another change. While Slowik and the defense definitely have some explaining to do, what the Broncos need right now is stability.
We can look at this a couple ways. The Broncos defense was bad in 2007, made few significant additions other than Boss Bailey, whom everyone knew was an injury risk to begin with, and parted ways with John Lynch and Domonique Foxworth. I'm not going to say I was against any of those moves, because I wasn't, but right from the word go the defense was at a disadvantage talent wise.
To start, let's look at the front-7, which I would argue is the worst in the NFL. While I would agree that guys like John Engelberger, Ebenezar Ekuban and Kenny Peterson are solid guys to build depth, you cannot have a starting lineup filled with them. The Broncos did, and when you add Nate Webster and Jamie Winborn to the mix you can see that problems with personnel arise almost immediately. If it wasn't role players forced into major roles, the Broncos were relying on young players that are still trying to come into their own. Jarvis Moss showed flashes of being a player, and Marcus Thomas will be a solid contributor in the future, but the front-line, A-List talent just isn't there. You need it to win consistently in the National Football League.
We have talked, and will talk about the improvements the Broncos need to make to the defensive side of the ball. Football is won or lost in the trenches and the Broncos lost those battles more often than not. The focus this off-season HAS TO BE improving the overall talent level of the front-7. Impact players must be brought in along the defensive line and within the linebacking corp for the Broncos defense to take the next step as a defense and a football team.
That brings us back to Bob Slowik. I can't tell you what kind of coordinator he is, or whether or not his scheme will work. What I can tell you with complete certainty is that no coordinator out there would have gotten the defense the Broncos were rolling out there every Sunday to perform that much better that what Slowik did. That is a testament to the lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball more than a nod to Slowik's coaching ability. Slowik deserves the chance to bring in the playmakers he needs, whether through the draft or free agency, to do what he needs to do with this defense.
The Broncos have been running the same offensive scheme for 15 years now. Shouldn't the defense be allowed to grow into a defensive system longer than 12 months?
Again, I am not any more satisfied than any of you with the performance of the defense. What I am, however, is a realist. Unless the Broncos commit to brining in the type of defensive talent they have on offense it won't matter who is running the show. Until I can say different, it is the players that need to change and not the coach.