Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Addition By Subtraction Or The Sinking Of A Franchise?

The Denver Broncos have had some trouble in the past. A defensive back was shot to death on New Year's Eve, Travis Henry attempted to impregnate every woman in America, the team became obsessed with Cleveland Browns rejects, and there has been a different running back leading the team in rushing every year.

But there has never been an off-season so gravid with controversy and change than this one. The inexplicable off-season continues for the Denver Broncos as star wide receiver Brandon Marshall wants to follow Jay Cutler out of town. Remember back when the firing of Mike Shanahan was thought to be the biggest controversy for the Broncos this year?

This nonsense has to bother Broncos owner Pat Bowlen who has consistently been one of the NFL's most solid owners. He doesn't treat his team like it's simply a part of his investment portfolio (see the current San Francisco 49ers) nor does he attempt to use his team to stroke his ego (look no further than Oakland or Dallas). Yet Bowlen is the one who fired Shanahan and hired new head coach Josh McDaniels, so I guess ye reap what ye sow.

Now a
bout head coach McDaniels. This off-season is proving one of two things: he is a man wise beyond his years, or he is too inexperienced to hold down an NFL head coaching position and the Broncos are suffering for it. I'll expand on both:

y I- Josh McDaniels is wise and he's thinking into the future:
No one
is arguing the talents of Cutler and Marshall, they have been a top QB/WR tandem in all of football the past couple of years.

But the go
al is a Lombardi Trophy, not a passing title. And teams generally don't win Super Bowls with a quarterback who cries any time someone dares consider someone else might be better than him. McDaniels may have met Cutler and realized there was no way he had the mindset to lead a team through the grinder of the NFL playoffs (after all, McDaniels had spent time with Tom Brady in New England.)

So McDaniels makes a play for Matt Cassell and loses out to K.C. Cutler throws a hissy fit and McDaniels refuses to give in to the quarterback's whining because he knows that's not going to help the team win. Everything escalates and before you know it, Cutler is out of town. McDaniels didn't expect Cutler to be gone, but he wasn't going to let Cutler act like a diva.

Meanwhile, the Broncos got a quarterback who is less talented in Kyle Orton, but one who has spent his NFL life battling for his position thereby making him mentally tough. Plus, the Broncos got several extra draft picks to help build the team around Orton.

Brandon Marshall should probably concentrate more on staying off the police short list before he starts demanding trades. The receiver is super talented, yet he possesses that crazy gene that several wideouts have.

If Marshall goes, the Broncos will get even more draft picks which the team can use to shore up various other positions. Within three years the Broncos will change from a team that has to win track meet type games because it has a high octane passing offense, but nothing else to a well-balanced machine that has a ball control offense and a precision passing game accompanied by a young talented defense. Just like McDaniels wanted.


Theory II- McD
aniels is in over his head and his shenanigans will cost the Broncos:
McDaniels reminds me a bit too much of Lane Kiffin. Both are young, aggressive coaches who are smart about the X's and O's in football, but have zero ability to manage people.

In his zeal to prove he belongs as a head coach in the NFL, McDaniels may be rubbing multiple Broncos the wrong way. Here is this little pup who is actually younger than several of the players and he's tossing teammates around like he's playing John Madden Football on his Playstation.

NFL coaches have a room full of egos to manage and the smart ones understand the effects brash
moves will have on a team and not just on the roster. McDaniels may have seen Bill Bellichick drop players he didn't like without blinking, but Bellichick spent a decade as one of the best defensive coordinators in football. He had some clout. McDaniels does not and he needs to understand that he has to prove himself to his team as well as vice versa.

I give McDaniels credit for making some big moves during his early stay in Denver. I just hope he has properly thought these moves through before he destroys his NFL career before it begins.

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