Is the Denver Broncos' Culture Change a Mirage?

Josh GilchristContributor INovember 17, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  Chris Simms #2 of the Denver Broncos is sacked during the game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 15, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Broncos 27-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Out of love for my team, I am going to criticize my team today. I named my site Broncos Culture because I wanted it to focus on the culture change taking place under Josh McDaniels. Sadly, this past pathetic loss has seriously made me question how much the culture really has changed with the Denver Broncos. Here are some thoughts and observations:

1. Denver is doing what they have done the past three years. The Broncos get all of their fans excited with a hot start and then they fall apart. They lose to teams that they have they have no business losing to like the Redskins this year and the Bills and the Raiders last year.

2. All of the critics have said that the Denver Broncos are a fluke this year. Many have said that they won’t make the playoffs. I hate to quote the elder Jim Mora, but I’ve got to ask, “PLAYOFFS? Don’t talk about playoffs! Playoffs? I just hope we win a game!” When we lose to the 2-6 Washington Redskins, we deserve all of the criticism we get.

3. Some of the haters among Denver Broncos fans got their wish on Sunday when Kyle Orton was injured. How did Chris Simms look to you haters? Are you happy that our “awful” starter was finally out of the way? Is anyone behind center really better than Kyle Orton?

Be careful what you wish for next time. Orton was one of three players who did anything positive for the Broncos in Washington on Sunday afternoon. Simms was awful. I like Simms, but he is clearly not ready to start in the NFL again. He was missing simple screen and checkdown passes for crying out loud!

4. Our special teams is a joke. During the first six weeks, I paid so much respect to our coaching staff’s ability to make adjustments during halftime, therefore, it baffles me that nothing is changing with our special teams.

We keep giving up punt and kick returns and, now, gadget plays where the freakin’ punter rolls out to the right with absolutely no pressure, throws across his body to the left and hits a wide open fullback with no defender within 10 yards. Something needs to change.

That play turned the momentum and gave a weak team all of the confidence it needed to beat a team it should not have beaten.

5. I have praised the defense a lot this year. The new attitude on defense was the most refreshing change to me in weeks one through six. In weeks eight and nine, they seemed to be letting up late in the games. Sunday was indicative of a bend, but don’t break defense that has changed into a bend and break one.

Ladell Betts ran like any running back who played against the Broncos in 2008. Ladell Betts! It was a nightmare. It is time for a gut check for these guys because San Diego, New York, and Indy are ridiculously better than the Redskins.

6. I was happy with Knowshon Moreno’s performance on Sunday. I have no idea why they had Chris Simms throw up that prayer in the third quarter to Brandon Marshall when we were driving down the field.

That interception was another huge momentum shift in favor of the Redskins. They should have kept running the ball with Albert Haynesworth on the sideline.

7. We have been outscored 58-14 in the second half during that last three games. What an awful change this is. I want to know what our coaches are going to do to turn this around. We are being outplayed and outcoached in all facets of the game. The Broncos are not giving it their all for the full 60 minutes.

8. With all of that said, I am not abandoning ship. I love my team. I will support my coach. They are facing adversity that they must find a way to overcome. Maybe the 6-0 start was a little misleading as far as determining how far our team could go, but we still did it, and this shows that we have the ability to hang around and win games against decent teams.

Because of that start, anything less than 10 wins is an absolute failure. Not making the playoffs is an absolute failure. Losing to San Diego at home after socking them in the mouth in SoCal is an absolute failure.

Losing to the Washington Redskins with San Diego, New York, and Indianapolis on the horizon is an absolute failure. Josh McDaniels was not brought in to fail. I do not want my team to fail.

However, I am afraid that there are some among us who want nothing more than for Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton to fail so that they can feel justified for protesting Shanahan’s firing and Jay Cutler’s trade.

9. I have looked for positives as much as I can in weeks past. This is not one of those weeks. I would no longer call myself hopeful or optimistic, but I would say I am fully supportive. Rain or shine, win, lose, or draw; let’s go Broncos! Turn it back around.