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Blowing Up the Broncos and Building a Winner

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I get email, every now and again. Most of it is junk mail, telling me about new scholarships or how to get free gift cards. However, once in a while I get sent some interesting things. Recently, I was sent a link to an radio show called "The Ricky Gervais Show". Thanks again to the person who sent me the link. You know who you were.

Anyways, after watching the Broncos end their 2010 season, I'm reminded of a quote that I heard on the show. On the show, there is a very dense character named Karl Pilkington. He is an English fellow who believes everything he hears on TV or reads on the internet. He is fascinated with monkeys and isn't afraid to state his opinion, no matter how ridiculous it is. Many times, he is asked his opinion about different subjects and is vehemently bashed by Ricky Gervais for being an idiot. 

Anyways, like I said, there was a discussion about bombs dropping in the Middle East. It came to a point in the conversation where Ricky Gervais said...

It is a bit worrying. Am I supposed to get gas masks or something like that? 

Karl chimed in with this response.

You see, you would worry about it. The sort of people who are successful are worrying about it more than other people just because they've got more to lose, haven't they? You see? Do you know what I mean? You've got like Bruce Willis on the telly saying "oh, that's not good is it?" and it's because he's got a big house and loads of cars. If you live on a council estates, you're like "Oh well, if it gets bombed it's doing us all a favor. We'll get loads of new blocks of flats and stuff to live in." That happened with Manchester, didn't it? Did us a favor. Got a nice new Marks and Spencer and that...

Yes, he really said that.

Anyways, I am not going to write a story about fighting in the middle east. That's not what I was going for. This Karl Pilkington quote got me thinking about when a team (player, coach, system, owner, etc.) is "blown up". 

If your team is in bad shape (and I think a 4-12 record qualifies), then fans aren't going to think twice about blowing up the team and starting over. By getting rid of players and coaches who contributed to the poor performance, there is hope to bring in players and coaches who could build towards a successful future. Hope springs eternal in the offseason!

When a team gets rid of someone (player, coach, owner) or something (system), think of that like someone dropping a bomb on a building. The entire structure is destroyed, leaving room to build up a different structure. A clean slate or new foundation, if you will. By bringing in a new scheme, coach, or player, the team is trying to build towards success. Once it is all finished, you are looking at a totally different town (team) than the one that was destroyed in the past.

I told you it was a beautiful metaphor, didn't I?

What is so great about blowing up the team is that you are left with an infinite number of directions for your new team to take. You can turn your ground and pound offense into a five wide shotgun offense. You could turn your 4-3 defense into a 3-4 defense. You could change your playcalling and - if you really want to mix things up - you could switch to a different uniform.

The possibilities are endless. 

After the 2008 season, the Denver Broncos "blew up" the team. Shanahan was fired, most of the defense was cut, Cutler was traded, and a completely new defensive system was installed. The transition continued the next season when Scheffler and Marshall left, along with Andra Davis, Peyton Hillis and others.

Clean slate. New direction. A breath of fresh air... blah blah blah.... other idioms...

Many around the nation, mainly those in the main stream media, were skeptical about all of that and, after seeing what happened this season, they had every right to be. From the outside, it looked like the Broncos were just dropping bombs on the team, leaving it in complete shambles. Looking back on it, though, was that really an accurate depiction of what was going on? Yes, the Broncos were changing things around and Josh McDaniels was putting his own stamp on the team, but did he really have enough time to see his plan through? We'll never know. Halfway through construction, the Broncos decided that they didn't like how slowly the building was being put together. They fired McDaniels and have committed to build something else. What that "something else" is, we don't know.

What we do know is that we're back to square one. We've got a few quality pieces laying around, but none of those pieces are guaranteed to be incorporated into the final product. The Broncos could start 53 new players next year, for all we know.


Now What?

We've got John Elway in charge of the building, now, and there has already been a ton of chatter about which direction he will lead us. Will he go after Coach Harbaugh from Stanford? If he does, will that mean the end of Tim Tebow in Denver and the beginning of Andrew Luck?

There's a lot to be determined between now and then. For one, the Broncos have the second pick in the draft. We may not even get a shot at Andrew Luck if the Carolina Panthers want him.

On the other hand, maybe John Elway thinks highly of Tim Tebow?

At this point, there's no way for us to know any of this. The Broncos have no identity. We can't know what the Broncos draft will look like 5 months from now when we don't know what our defensive scheme will be, who our head coach will be, who our defensive coordinator will be, who our offensive coordinator will be.... the list goes on.

There are far too many variables left unsolved for us to know much of anything about the 2011 Broncos, let alone who we'll draft with the 2nd overall pick. 


Clean Slate

Despite all that, I'm optimistic. We know what the Broncos were in 2010... They were bad. However, in 2011, the Broncos can be whatever they want. They have no identity, right now, but they're free to develop whatever identity they want in the coming months. The Broncos are a clean slate - a new foundation. The new coaching staff doesn't have to be married to Tim Tebow if they don't want to be, but if they feel like he can contribute to their plans, then Tebow will be a Bronco for a long time.

If the Denver Broncos are a metaphorical construction site, then the new architect (whoever that's going to be) has some pieces laying around if he wants to use them. However, if he wants to buy his own wood and nails, that's his own prerogative. Will the 2011 Broncos have Tebow or not? Will the 2011 Broncos have Brian Dawkins or not? Will the 2011 Broncos have Champ Bailey or not?

To be honest, I don't care what the 2011 Broncos look like... as long as they win.