After finishing the regular season 8-8 and missing the playoffs, Pat Bowlen decided it was time for a change.
Well, here it comes.
Mike Shanahan was fired on December 30, 2008. His replacement, Josh McDaniels, was hired on January 12, 2009.
Shortly after taking over the new job, McDaniels shook up both sides of the ball. He brought in Mike Nolan to run the Broncos defense, and the scheme was changed from a 4-3 to a 3-4.
The Denver D was ranked 30th in points, 19th in yards, 26th in defending the pass, and 27th against the run.
There is plenty of room for improvement there. The problem comes when addressing the personnel. Six of the 11 defensive starters have changed and aside from Brian Dawkins, none of those changes scream improvement.
Ronald Fields, Darrell Reid, and Kenny Peterson will be the starters on the defensive line. Dumervil, Boss Bailey, DJ Williams, and Andra Davis will be the backing corps, while Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill will team up with Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman in the backfield.
Before the offensive playbook could be addressed, there was a meltdown at the quarterback position and Jay Cutler fled the scene.
McDaniels added Kyle Orton to run his offense, which is not Mike Shanahan’s offense. No, we have not seen the end of the west coast offesne, or the running back-by-committee. McDaniels will implement some variation of the offense he was running in Foxboro.
In fact, it’s not easy to narrow down the Patriots offense. With the receivers constantly moving around and playing off each other, the offensive system is like water. It constantly shifts and moves to better adjust to defenses around the league. Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall should shine in this offense; think Welker and Moss.
You will not be shown the same offense two weeks in a row and for a team that just drafted University of Georgia standout Knowshon Moreno, it should be noted that the Patriots were sixth n the NFL in rushing last year. Buckhalter will likely get the bulk of the load in carries this year.
Jeremy Bates was released to make room for the Broncos’ new QB coach, Mike McCoy. McCoy worked with Steve Beuerlein and Jake Delhomme in the Carolina organization and will now be an asset to Orton and the Denver O.
It’s unfortunate to see a Pro Bowler run out of town, but points on the board and a stack of ‘W’s can make that bitterness disappear. One thing’s for sure, if the Denver Broncos don’t succeed, it won’t be because they didn’t make moves.