Dear Bronco fans that are searching for answers, recovering from bad draft decisions, still in shock from the Tebow move, still pissed about Cutler, still angry about Marshall, who are still infuriated by 59-14, and in disarray,
I feel your pain.
But there is hope.
If the right cure comes...
What Mike Shanahan did in Denver helped the Broncos establish itself as an elite franchise in the NFL. He did what Dan Reeves couldn't ever accomplish by bringing 2 Lombardi's home to the city of Denver. He was the reason why the Broncos picked up Terrell Davis. Shanahan always had a knack for picking up skilled offensive players in later rounds. With that being said, he always had one fatal flaw.
He couldn't draft on the other side of the ball.
Look at all of his misses.
Round 1 – Willie Middlebrooks CB- Started just 1 game for the Broncos and was out of the NFL at the end of the 2005 season.
Round 2- Paul Toviessi DE- Never played a down in the NFL
Also, in round 4 he drafted punter Nick Harris who was cut before the regular season started. What a waste!
Round 3- Dorsett Davis DT- Played just three seasons in the NFL.
Round 2- Terry Pierce LB- Was out of the NFL after 2004
Round 3- Jeremy Lesuer CB- Played in just 2 NFL games his entire career
Round 1-Jarvis Moss DE-Released on November 23, 2010 and was later picked up by Oakland.
Round 2-Tim Crowder DE- Released in 2009 and is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Round 4- Marcus Thomas DT- 1 Sack in 4 years with the Broncos
It is clear that while he was able to pick up some key players on D in the earlier rounds (Deltha O'neal, D.J. Williams, Elvis Dumervill, Al Wilson), he wasted too many picks on players that did virtually nothing.
Offenisvely, he was usually sharp in the draft, but he did make a few key errors which include:
Round 1-Ashley Lelie
Round 3- Maurice Clarrett
As a result of poor drafting on deffense, Shanahan always tried to sure up the deffense via free agency which amounted to very little for Denver's D. He experimented with aging deffensive players in a "win now" effort that fell apart miserably.
Because of this trend, Josh Mcdaniels inherited the 29<sup>th</sup> ranked deffense in the NFL.
The only reason Denver's D had success in 2009 was because Mike Nolan's scheme disguised a very untalented group of players outside of Doom, DJ, and Champ.
Mcdaniels did have a chance to sure up the deffense in the draft prior to the season, but here is what he chose instead.
Round 1- Robert Ayers-Has started 7 games so far in 2 seasons recording just 1.5 sacks (Clay Mathews was still on the board)
With this said, I believe the jury is still out on these two, but they need to step up their game and fast.
2010 rolls around after yet another collapse of epic proportions.
Then Mike Nolan departs after just one season leaving an unofficial gaping hole in the Broncos' Deffense.
So what does McDaniels do?
Round 1-Demaryius Thomas WR
Round 1-Tim Tebow QB
Round 2-Zane Beadles OT
Round 3-J.D. Walton C
Round 3-Eric Decker WR
This all adds up to one constant for the Broncos over the past decade.
Poor drafting and poor deffense which forces the Broncos to try aging deffenders.
So now the question becomes "So who should the Broncos pick as head coach to avoid these problems?"
Here is the cure.
It's not who the Broncos should pick as head coach, but it's who they should pick up as General Manager.
Take a look at some of the NFL's best general manager's at work.
Bill Polian, Indianapolis Colts President/GM for the past 13 years, draft decisions include:
1.Peyton Manning QB (instead of Ryan Leaf for that matter)
2.Edgerrin James RB
3. Mike Peterson OLB
4. Reggie Wayne WR
5. Dwight Freeny DE
6. Dallas Clark TE
7. Bob Sanders FS
8. Antoine Bethea SS
9. Pierre Garcon WR
10. Robert Mathis DE
Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh Steelers GM for 10 years
1.Plaxico Burress WR (He may be in jail, but that doesn't take away the fact that he had talent)
2. Casey Hampton NT
3. Antwaan Randle El WR
4. Larry Foote ILB
5. Troy Polamalu SS
6. Ben Roethlisberger QB
7. Heath Miller TE
8. Santonio Holmes WR
9. Lawrence Timmons LB
10. Lamar Woodly LB
These are just a few of the players these two GM's have acquired through the draft. Since 2000, this all adds up to a combined:
3 Super Bowl Championships
4 Conference Championships
10 Division Titles
15 Playoff Appearences
19-12 Record in the Post-Season
While Tony Dungy amd Bill Cowher should recieve most of the credit, these two men helped build these teams behind the scenes.
Look at Denver's track record in the Shanahan/Mcdaniels era since 2000. These coaches tried to be coach and GM and here is the result.
1 Division Title
4 Playoff Appearences
1-4 Record in the Post-Season
Denver had a great coach in Shanahan for most of the 2000's. The problem was that there wasn't a bonified GM to go along with him.
This is why I firmly believe that a great coach AND a good GM are required for success in today's NFL. With the exception of Bill Bellicheck, this has proven to be true.
Shanahan tried to do it by himself and failed.
Look at the revival Miami had once Parcels became GM.
Brian Xanders was listed as Denver's GM, but much like Bellicheck, McDaniels called the shots and Xanders was along for the ride.
As a result of this, I do not have confidence in him as the Broncos' GM. Why keep a guy who was McDaniels' right hand man in drafting anyway?
He was listed as the worst GM in the NFL by draftbible.com
After Josh McDaniels was fired, COO Joe Ellis alluded that the Broncos may lean towards getting a bonfied GM and then going after a head coach.
In my opinion, this is the best direction for the franchise to take.
I understand that good GM's don't fall from trees and it may take a couple of years to get one, but if one is available; the Broncos shouldn't hesitate.
That is my diagnosis.
Rise and Be Healed Bronco Nation!