The Denver Broncos are an interesting team. They have a coach who believes more in the system than the player. Conventional wisdom says you have to have trust in the players that you are having run your system. If they trust you, as a coach, then they will do as you tell them. The rocky start with coach McDaniels and his players was based on trust.
Jay Cutler, the most evident of the bunch. Who eventually was traded to Chicago. Left because he says he was lied to and did not trust him. That led to a trickle down effect. Brandon Marshall gone. Peyton Hillis Gone. Tony Scheffler gone! The most bizarre thing, is these were the core guys to the success of this offense.
Now, after having the locker room with his players, what does he need to do to get this team in the playoffs. Regardless of what people feel about his people skills, McDaniels has great game planning ability. He is passionate and intelligent as a scheme maker. So his top 5 things to accomplish are these.
Establish his starter in training camp at the QB position. They have a very solid Kyle Orton who had very solid numbers as a starter. His arm proved to be better than people believed, as well as his accuracy. He is smart and knows the scheme better going into his second season. The reason, he was not as successful the second half of the season. The lack of a running game. So teams were able to dictate the defense to the passing game. Brady Quinn has a better arm and is more athletic. If he can learn quickly and show better throws down the field. This might help stretch the field and open up running lanes. One needs to be declared the starter early.
Secondly, run the football much better on short downs and goal line situations. Knowshon Moreno, had a very strong finish with TD's in his rookie season and is a good running back. The addition of J.J. Arrington, might lead to some bigger plays on the ground. The Broncos had very few big run plays last season. Tim Tebow in Packages will of course be helpful. It will keep teams guessing and he will be good enough to run on short downs. Buckhalter was very serviceable last season, and should still be the same this season.
Third, is already done. They resigned Elvis Dummerville, and added Jammal Williams, to the Defensive tackle position. The secondary will play much better when you have Safety help. Which only happens when your front seven can clog the middle and disrupt the run and pass lanes. With Williams in the middle that will happen often. They also still have D.J. Williams and Robert Ayers. The defense improved drastically last season and should continue to do so.
The fourth thing is something they had a problem with last season. Stretch the field! With the drafting of Demaryius Thomas, who is another Brandon Marshall type receiver. He will probably be placed in the same situations as Marshall. Screens and crossing routes to free him up. Yet, he is faster than Marshall so this might bode well for running more deeper routes. Decker is an excellent hands guy who also blocks well. Jabbar Gaffney, is solid and after that, the receivers are serviceable. I truly believe McKinnley can be that deep threat and game breaker, who was limited in touches last season.
The fifth and final phase, is coaching. McDaniels, admitted to learning on the job last season. He said, he made a few mistakes and will make improvements. One, he needs to keep the players on his side and find ways to motivate them, without telling them that it's his way or no way. Players understand that and don't need that drilled into them. The benching of Brandon Marshall last year, caused the broncos to divide and quit. As a result they lost the final game that could have had them in the playoffs. Hillis and Scheffler immediately cleaned out their lockers. He is an offensive coach and his offense is where the problems were. If he can make the players feel valued they will do all he wants. This should lead to a much better season than 8-8. The division is very unstable, and all the teams are having issues. The Broncos can emerge, as the best in the west.