In 2009-10, the Broncos Will Be Rebuilding

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In 2009-10, the Broncos Will Be Rebuilding
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

A new era has begun in Broncos country. On January 11, Pat Bowlen replaced head coach Mike Shanahan with New England Patriots alum, Josh McDaniels. The move was expected to give a spark to a franchise that has been living in mediocrity in the 2000s; far removed from their championships of the late 1990s. And for a moment it did. McDaniels came in firing on all cylinders bringing in respected coaches like Mike Nolan and Mike McCoy and getting rid of the entire defensive scheme that Shanahan seemed to patch together year after year. McDaniels was also praised for luring Eagles free agent Brian Dawkins, but all that would be forgotten in the following months.

Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler and McDaniels were at odds after trade rumors involving the QB circulated throughout the league. McDaniels wasn’t totally honest with Cutler which led to the Pro Bowler officially requesting a trade. The Broncos obliged and sent Cutler to Chicago and in return got quarterback Kyle Orton and a collection of draft picks. At that moment, the Broncos became a team in the midst of rebuilding.

Say what you will about Mike Shanahan, but his offensive mind is one of the best in the league. He put together a superb Broncos offense that was second best in the league last season and discovered big offensive playmakers like Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Peyton Hillis and Ryan Clady. And along with Jay Cutler, McDaniels barely had to touch the offense. The Broncos defense was horrendous for the last several years, ranked 29th last season, and as a priority needed a major retooling. But with the Cutler trade, McDaniels now has a problem where he didn’t have one before.
 
The two possible starting quarterbacks he has are Kyle Orton and Chris Simms, neither which are as accurate, mobile, and powerful as Cutler. And as with any offense, the scheme is dictated by what a quarterback can and cannot do. Both Simms and Orton limit McDaniels’ playbook compared to what he could have had with Cutler.
 
Those limitations will show this upcoming season and with a schedule that sees four Super Bowl champions of the last five years and top tier teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, and Baltimore Ravens. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s hard to see them winning more than five games with the roster and a first year coach. Expect the Broncos to trudge through the year with their serviceable quarterbacks, defensive rookies, and then make some more moves in the 2010 draft.

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