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Horse Tracks: John Elway is a Football Guy ... Duh

When a blogger is wrong, I usually just shrug and move along, but when its a scathing review of John Elway the General Manager it brings out my inner Internet troll. I just couldn't hold back this time.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The blog post in question was written by Jake Marsing over at Mile High Huddle. Before we get to Horse Tracks, I'm going to dissect and destroy his entire premise with little professional courtesy. I shall track down your terrible points and destroy them.

John Elway Flushes Money Down Toilet

Right off the bat, this guy swings at the worst pitch in baseball history. For a strike, obviously, but let's read below and ridicule together, shall we?

Elway’s disguised those holes by throwing piles upon piles of cash at veteran free agents. He’s created a top-heavy roster with lots of big names, but little depth or homegrown talent. Whether it’s Wes Welker, Shaun Phillips, DeMarcus Ware, or Peyton Manning (the king of all high-priced free agents), Elway’s become a master at throwing his legacy around and convincing players on the back nine of their careers to sign in Denver.

Instead of curing what’s ailed the Broncos roster, most of these signings have been nothing more than a series of overpriced Band-Aids. John Elway has spent his time as Denver’s GM trying to find enough cotton balls to fill the hole in the side of the Titanic. And as a result, after four remarkably successful seasons, this team is finally starting to take on water.

Wait, what? Take on water? Well, according to, the Denver Broncos have a healthy $15,527,342 in cap space that includes the recent franchise tag of Demaryius Thomas and Peyton Manning's bloated $20,000,000 contract.

However, from reading Jake's musings, he is acting like the Broncos are $20,000,000 in the red like the New Orleans Saints or $11,000,000 in the red like the New England Patriots or even slightly in the red like the $5,700,000 AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs have for themselves.

He must be talking about dead money, since John Elway is obviously so reckless with overspending. Nope, not that either. The Broncos have just over $900,000 in dead money, which is good for 7th best in the NFL. Not the catastrophic $17,000,000 in dead money the Detroit Lions have right now.

Okay, then it must be the coming cap hell that ole reckless Elway is setting us all up for in years to come. After all, the Broncos ship has begun to take on water. Again, nope! The Broncos have over $50,000,000 in projected cap space with zero dead money in 2016 that doesn't include the likely $20,000,000 in cap savings from a Peyton Manning retirement. It then jumps to the hundred millions after that.

If you look at the facts, John Elway has added a bunch of these high profile free agents without hampering his ability to add future talent. If you ask me, that looks like a Football Guy to me. A guy who is committed to winning from now on.

John Elway Sucks At Drafting

This one may be hotly debated, since its easy to judge young players before they should be judged. I typically reserve judgement until a drafted player enters his fourth season, but that goes against today's need for instant production and judgement.

If any other NFL GM repeatedly missed on early round draft picks, there’d be serious questions about that GM’s ability to do the job. Yet, out of Elway’s twelve picks in the first three rounds of the draft, only four (Von Miller, Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, and Derek Wolfe) have started more than thirteen games in the NFL. Few have asked serious questions about Elway’s competency on draft day.

Ironically, three of those four contributors came four drafts ago in the 2011 NFL Draft. Buy hey, we want those sexy picks that are instant studs. The painful reality is that the Broncos are victims of their own success.

They are not picking the best of the best of each draft, so when the draft boards fell against them they traded back to gain value in the hopes of getting lucky elsewhere. Derek Wolfe is one such example, but so is Cody Latimer and Montee Ball. Both of those two players have potential and it would be crazy to pass judgement this early into their careers.

Bradley Roby also played extremely well for a rookie cornerback and Elway has set this franchise up with potentially three lockdown corners in a pass-happy league. Yeah, what a bum that guy is.

Oh, but wait. Elway drafts Pro Bowlers in later rounds. Then why bash him for being a drafting buffoon?

For all of the considerable difficulties Elway's had in the early rounds of the draft, it should be noted that he's hit on late round players with fairly regular consistency. Nate Irving, Julius Thomas, Danny Trevathan, Malik Jackson and Virgil Green have all contributed to the team's recent success. And Elway's found some diamonds in the rough off the post-draft refuse pile in Chris Harris, Jr. and C.J. Anderson.

The writer can't even let up on his distaste of Elway for even a minute as he resorts to calling guys like Chris Harris Jr. and C.J. Anderson guys drafted from the "refuse pile".  Come on man!

Who The Hell is Chris Landry?

He sure as hell isn't Tom Landry, so why do we care what he has to say? The fact that his quote brought about this opinion piece is a head scratcher.

Many in NFL circles question Elway’s style of roster building. NFL consultant Chris Landry has publicly called him, "an incompetent general manager." To Landry, and many like him around the league, Elway simply isn’t equipped to run a pro football franchise. Landry opined on #7’s style to Denver’s 104.3 the FAN earlier this month, "John’s a good guy. I like John. But, you can’t simply throw money at your roster and expect to build a champion. He’s got to draft better. John’s a player. He’s not a football guy." Whether Landry’s assessment of Elway is entirely accurate or not, his point shouldn’t be underestimated.

This only tells me that Chris Landry has no clue what he is talking about and his circle is pretty small. You can throw all the money you have at a roster if you do it without screwing yourself over and John Elway has done exactly that. This Landry guy is just jealous.

Blaming The Wrong Guy

All the focus is on John Elway and how stupid he is for firing such a successful coach. Several times in his post, Jake blasts Elway for firing John Fox. Here are a couple of those angry screeds:

If any other NFL GM fired a head coach with a winning percentage of nearly 70%, there’d be serious questions about that GM’s ability to do the job. Yet, when Elway fired head coach John Fox, few asked questions.

Few questioned it because John Fox ran a country club of veterans, refusing to allow young talent to develop on the field.

Despite many promises, and flashy free agent signings, John Elway’s Denver Broncos have yet to deliver a world championship. However, for whatever reason, no one seems to be placing any blame whatsoever on the man in charge of the operation. Elway has consistently missed on his draft picks, made questionable hiring decisions, and overspent on free agent players.

Yeah, again, John Fox is as much or more to blame for that than John Elway. Which begs the question as to who is to blame for failing to get the talent to produce on the field. John Elway or John Fox?

It took John Elway fifteen years to win a world championship for the Denver Broncos wearing the team’s uniform. If he can’t honestly look himself in the mirror and asses what it takes to become a competent executive, it will take far longer for him to win another ring wearing a suit and tie. [sic]

Okay. Now you're just being mean, Jake. That's just mean man!

UPDATE: Brandon Perna also sides with Elway

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