Congratulations Josh McDaniels, you have pulled off one amazing April Fool's joke.
There is no other way to explain how he took over a team with a top notch offense, a lousy defense and a subpar special teams and reduced it to this. First he signed a bunch of older defensive players, then a bunch of mediocre running backs and a long snapper. Then he said he's going to get rid of the zone blocking running game that the Broncos have used to such effectiveness over the past 15 years, continuing producing one of the top running games in the league. There is a reason people copy what the Broncos did with that scheme. Injuries forced the Broncos to use 7 different running backs last year and the total rushing yards was still 12th in the league (the Patriots were 6th but they ran it 126 more times, if the Broncos ran the ball as much as the Patriots did the Broncos would have been the 2nd ranked attack and trailed the league leader by 55 yards as the Broncos had the 2nd best yards per carry average).
Then there is this whole Jay Cutler mess that last night seems to have taken its last turn. Cutler is most likely on his way out of town. So now we'll have a mediocre offense to go with the still lousy defense and special teams. Last year we pinned our hopes on winning 35-30. When Cutler, and the 7 different running backs, were not enough to put up 35 points we got creamed. Right now our quarterback will be Chris Simms. He hasn't played since a spleen injury in 2006. That's 45 missed games. In the 3 games he did play in 2006 he had 1 touchdown and 7 interceptions with a 54% completion rate. Cutler over the course of over 1200 attempts has a 62.5% completion rate. Simms is a huge downgrade.
With a healthy rushing attack and an improved defense it was conceivable that we could compete for a wild card, or maybe get some luck and take the division away from the Chargers. Now that doesn't seem possible at all. The 2009 schedule was going to be tough anyway (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New England, Dallas, N.Y. Giants, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Washington) and now we'll have a mediocre team across the board.
Realistically I think we can beat Cincinnati and, nope that's it. We had our hands full against Cleveland last year and now our offense will be worse. In the division we will probably beat the Raiders twice and perhaps beat the Chiefs once. So we'll be staring at 3-13. With Cutler it would still be a tough schedule but I could see us finishing 7-9 or 8-8. That might not be good enough for a wild card, its usually not but you never know.
Hopefully later today Josh McDaniels will have a press conference where he says this was all a big joke. That Cutler and he made up a week ago but they thought this would be funny. If this truly is reality then its going to be a long year. The countdown to the draft will start around week 3 or 4. Here's hoping we don't tie Detroit's mark from last year, I wouldn't rule it out.
Stone House and Warrenton Turnpike, 1903
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