When the score moved to 21-0, I simply lost the ability to be mad. After last week's terrible loss to the Jets, and the blowout only one week before that at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, I simply couldn't bring myself to throw anything or shout anything. I just watched the game like it was any other.
The Denver Broncos, for the first time in my near 21 years, made me embarrassed to be a fan. So embarrased, that I did not find the ridicule amusing in either a positive or negative way. So humiliated, that I honestly wondered what it would be like to have the number one pick in the draft.
Obviously, I had plenty of knee jerk reactions, but this game was so humiliating, that I think everything I said during the game stands. I think Josh McDaniels is in danger of being fired. I think Kyle Orton is in danger of losing his job. One thing is for sure, those two were part of the most embarrassing loss I have ever witnessed. Pat Bowlen is the owner of a franchise which he is very, very proud of. The players and coaches today did not reflect that pride, and the shot of John Elway in a Raiders uniform on Sunday Night Football personified what it felt like to be a Denver Broncso fan today--sickening.Back in early 2009, I suggested immediately after Mike Shanahan was fired that Josh McDaniels and Scott Pioli take over the Denver Broncos' organization. I had taken a liking to the Patriots' style of play and saw obviously what McDaniels had done with Matt Cassel and Tom Brady, and wanted the dude in town. I promoted his hire from the start, and was pretty excited when we made it official.
McDaniels proceeded to trade the Broncos' three premiere offensive playmakers in Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Tony Scheffler. I had no problem with this, and still don't. I think the Broncos rid themselves of some bad locker room guys, and replaced their positions and production adequately.
I have had the back of McDaniels from the very start, and have defended his every move with this team. Up until today, I believed that something would change, just given time.
Not only has nothing changed, the Broncos have now suffered three of the worst losses in regular season team history with drubbings at home at the hands of all three divisional opponents. The Chargers have obviously regressed, but the Raiders and Chiefs have both made decent improvement under their new management.
Josh McDaniels has had control of this team for two years, and he has put himself and the Broncos in the spotlight with various different moves. He led this team to one of the more exciting starts in team history with a 6-0 mark through the first six games in 2009. Since then, this team has been absolutely abysmal, and has shown little or no sign of improvement.
I have not lost hope in this season, because my glass is always half full. Seven games is not quite long enough to throw in the towel, especially considering the division we play in. However, the way we played against the Raiders exposed tons of weakness on this team, and I'm not talking about fundamentally. The Broncos have been overmatched physically, they have been out-coached, and they have been ill-prepared for almost every game this season.
Statistically, they are one of the worst first quarter teams in the NFL. To me, this shows a lack of preparedness. It also shows a lack of intensity. The Broncos used to be a team that could score on the first drive every time. The first play scripted by the Broncos today was an interception taken for a touchdown. The second one was a fumble recovered for a touchdown, which was only called back because of a mistake by the officials.
The Raiders do one thing well--run the football. The Broncos were not prepared today to stop the run. I understand that we are without Dawkins and Ayers, but are they going to take our run defense from worst to first? The Broncos seemed to not have too much trouble executing against the run versus the Jets, so what gives? Darren McFadden looked like the next great thing on Sunday, and the Raiders marched for over 300 yards on the ground.
I cannot blame one person for this loss. From our coaching, to our players, there was but one player I thought that played well on Sunday, and it was Knowshon Moreno, who by the way is a stud.
Moreno was great in the passing game, catching three passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 14 times for 53 yards and should have had a touchdown, but we mistakenly passed the ball from one yard out on two straight plays.
There's your stud for the week. The rest of the organization falls in the dud column. The Broncos did not value their fans whatsoever on Sunday, and they need to make things right in the 49ers game on Sunday.
We should have crushed the Raiders. This game was absolutely ours for the taking. We were desperate for a victory, hosting a team that had just lost to a previously winless 49ers group. The Broncos were a unanimous pick for a victory.
It did not happen. For the second straight year, this team cannot execute when it needs to most. Against Jacksonville, we missed a chance to tie with an interception at the end of the game. We blew it against the Indianapolis Colts. We blew it against the Jets. Now, we blew it against the Raiders, and we got blown out.
During the game, I was tweeting for McDaniels' head. I was fed up. He has made far too many mistakes for my liking. At this point in time, he doesn't seem to be a good fit as the head coach as the Denver Broncos. Now, I love some of the players he's brought in. I love some of the moves he's made. But if you're going to come in, change the roster the way he did, and make so many controversial moves, you sure as heck better deliver.
In 23 games, he absolutely has not. The Broncos are not a better team today than they were in Mike Shanahan's last game. In fact, you could argue that they are worse. I think they have better personnel, but this team is never prepared for games. They cannot be relied upon to "take care of business" and that is something that is unacceptable for a head coach in the NFL.
McDaniels is a solid coordinator (though some of his calls today were lackluster at best), but he does not seem to have a grasp on this team after two years. He does not seem to have command of our locker room. I could be dead wrong about that, but from a fan's perspective, the Broncos have come out flat in every game this season. Even Seattle drove down the field on us before the great Champ Bailey bailed us out.
The Broncos cannot close out close games. They did it once against Tennessee, on the road, a very impressive effort. As a whole, this has been in my opinion, a near failed project. The Broncos have good enough personnel right now that they should be winning 9-11 games this year. They are not getting it done.
Josh McDaniels knows he's responsible for this, and he said as much after the game. His players were not prepared, his offense was stale at best, and nobody looked interested in the Raiders game on Sunday.
That all falls on the head coach. I said on my Twitter account that I would not be surprised if Josh McDaniels is not with the Broncos at the end of the season, and after having time to think about what I'd said, I stand by it. I don't think the Broncos can afford to continue to go through this.
McDaniels' age is not a factor in this. I believe great leaders come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, genders--whatever. Pat Bowlen went with McDaniels, who was a project, and to this point, it has not worked out for him. There could be a match out there right now. I have always been a big fan of Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.
Gruden has been to and won a Super Bowl. He really likes Tim Tebow, who is our quarterback of the future. He knows the game as well as any coach in the league, and was fired pre-maturely in Tampa Bay in my opinion. As much as I love listening to Gruden on Monday Night Football, I would love it even more if he were roaming the sidelines for the Denver Broncos.
This is no personal shot at Josh McDaniels, and I promise not to be one of those fans who writes countless posts calling for McDaniels to be fired. If we choose to go forward with McDaniels after this season, I will support it. But if we keep losing, I will lose my patience.
I find myself more and more questioning McDaniels on a game to game basis. I question why you would leave your starting quarterback in the game in a 45 point rout. I question why when Knowshon Moreno gets you to the one yard line late in a blowout, you don't reward him with the score. I question this team's mental toughness. I question their physical toughness. I question not signing your franchise player to an extension.
McDaniels has brought in a bunch of players with promise and has done some good things with this organization. I am not yet impressed with the results.
RIght now, the Broncos are on track to be picking sixth in the 2011 NFL Draft. They have dealt away their 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th round picks. Through other trades, they have six picks in the draft. I don't think the Broncos need to re-build the entire roster, but there are a few things that I think need to be done.
1. I think Tim Tebow needs to start sooner rather than later
Kyle Orton will not be starting for this team next season, and if he is, I don't expect great things. Orton has put up solid numbers this season, but the last two games have been his worst of the season, and he almost looks dis-interested. The Broncos have gone from one of the league's feared passing teams to the opposite. The Raiders had their way with Orton against the pass today.
Perhaps I'm jumping the gun here, but let me ask you all something--WHAT DO WE HAVE TO LOSE?!
If the Broncos lose to the 49ers, and I'm the head coach, I'm starting Tim Tebow. You hate to do that, because it drives down the value of Orton on the trade market, but shoot, you have to do SOMETHING.
2. Our team speed needs to increase ASAP
I know the Raiders are all fast and athletic, but did anyone else see how slow we looked today? It looked like we were running with lead in our cleats. The defense especially is a very slow group of guys. We should be looking to add some solid athletes in the coming draft, rather than guys who just know where to be who are not the fleetest of foot.
I'm talking adding speed and quickness on the defensive line in the form of an Adrian Clayborn, a guy who can play sideline to sideline as well as punch you in the mouth at the line of scrimmage. I'm talking about adding speed at linebacker, perhaps in the form of a Travis Lewis or Chad Greenway as a free agent. We could use some speed certainly in the defensive backfield, especially at the safety position.
3. Someone needs to light a fire under this team's butt
I don't care what we have to do, but if we play another game like this, I would start cutting guys. I wouldn't even put up with it anymore. Today, we were the worst team in the NFL. If that continues, I see no reason why our coach will be the same guy at the end of the year.
We need something to get this team going, and we need it now.