Denver Broncos: 10 Reasons They Need to Focus on Winning, Not Rebuilding
As the Broncos' record continues to dip even further below .500 and even deeper into last place, Denver fans have been calling for Tim Tebow to take over. The Denver Broncos are still a very talented team that can win now, though it is going to take a little help from the rest of the league.
Here are 10 reasons we need to focus on winning now, rather than look ahead to next year's draft.
10. Brian Dawkins
When Dawkins signed with the Denver Broncos, he was brought over to be the leader of a defense that was clearly in need of one. He also did not come over here to help rebuild a struggling Denver Broncos team. The pieces on the defensive side of the ball have been set to keep Denver in games, and during the early stretch of the season they did just that.
They kept us in the game against the Colts and the Jets, two top-tier teams, and allowed us to beat the Titans and the Seahawks, two middle-of-the-pack teams. Dawkins is not getting any younger, and he is here to help us win now. Shifting this season into rebuilding mode is a direct slap his face.
9. Champ Bailey
See the previous slide. Champ has been a loyal member of the Denver Broncos for years now, and is reaching that point in his career where he will sacrifice a bigger paycheck for a ring. His contract is set to expire, and he is the centerpiece of this defense.
If the team shifts into rebuilding mode, Champ will have no reason to remain in Denver. He is not the type of player you can replace overnight, and his departure will move Denver from competing in one to two years to possibly three to four.
8. The AFC West Is Still Up for Grabs
The AFC west has completely flip-flopped in the last year, with the Broncos and Chargers in the cellar, and the Chiefs and Raiders on top. Although we are just about halfway through the season, the division is still up for grabs.
Denver still has to play the Chargers and the Chiefs twice, along with the Raiders once more. Matt Cassel didn't do it with the Patriots, and he isn't going to do it with the Chiefs. Given the fact that the Broncos are only a few games behind the division leader with this much time, anything is possible. Probable, however, is a different story.
7. Kyle Orton
Kyle Orton started Week 9 second in passing yards behind Philip Rivers, who is currently breaking records week in and week out. There is absolutely no reason to bench Orton right now, who despite the numerous critics that like to refer to Orton's numbers as "hollow", is tied for sixth in the league in touchdowns with 12 (tied with Brady, Ryan, Palmers, Rodgers, Fitzpatrick).
Interestingly, I haven't heard anything about Brady's or Ryan's passing numbers being hollow. I suppose when you can't run the ball (or stop the run), your passing numbers are not good enough. If Tebow is the plan for next year, let Orton prove he can sustain these numbers for an entire season so that we get maximum trade value out of him.
6. The Running Game Is What It Is
All season long, critics and fans have proclaimed how bad the Denver run game is. Not only that, they say that we can't possibly make a deep playoff run without a running game. To that I say this: Did anyone see what happened last year to the Indianapolis Colts?
The Colts were not out of the Super Bowl until a Peyton Manning interception late in the fourth quarter. They made it that far without a running game. How did they do it? The same way Denver can, through the air. Alright, and a pretty good pass rush.
5. Tim Tebow Is Not Ready Yet
In limited time thus far, Tebow hasn't really done anything too flashy. Although I myself am guilty of calling for more Tebow time, he simply is not ready to take over. We saw the vast improvement Orton made in McDaniel's system from year one to year two, and I have no doubt in my mind that Tebow will make a similar jump from this year to next.
Not only that, I think by 2013 he will have an MVP-caliber year, but that depends heavily upon who is coach is. Had Tebow come in this year and broken off a couple of 30 yards runs, or 40-plus yard passes for touchdowns, I'd say throw him in. But for now, let's let him continue to learn and not force him to be the second coming of Alex Smith.
4. Josh McDaniels Is Too Proud to Admit They Are This Bad
The Broncos aren't willing to commit to McDaniels for the 2011-12 season right now, which speaks volumes about his job security. It still amazes me that ANY coach in the NFL is signed for longer than two years during his first head coaching stint with a new team, but what do I know.
The Broncos owe McD a lot of money, and they're still paying Mike Shanahan. I doubt they will want to add a third coach to that list, but if they don't, expect McDaniels to continue to make drastic moves to do whatever he can to keep the team competitive. Most fans were calling for his head after that Cutler trade, when the fact is, he robbed Chicago blind. I believe he is moving the team forward, but we just have to be patient.
3. Tim Tebow Is More Valuable on the Bench
Right now, Tim Tebow's value is all in what he might do for McD and the Denver Broncos. McD will never have officially failed in Denver until Tebow fails. If Orton can lead this team to a 7-9 record through a strong second-half push, I feel the season will have been salvaged.
McD will hold onto his job another year, and we may have another year of Orton if things start off hot. Tebow is currently serving as McDaniel's golden ticket, and will eventually serve as a distraction to a losing effort. If we start rebuilding now and throw Tebow in and he fails, McDaniels will be fired, and we will more than likely start this personnel merry-go-round all over again.
If Tebow gets hurt, McDaniels is gone. I'd much rather start him Game 1 of next year and let him figure it out with an improved line, rather than risk losing him or having him develop bad habits behind our horrid offensive line.
Admitting you are in rebuilding mode is as depressing as a decision that you can make managing a professional sports team. Making this decision at the halfway point in the year is even worse.
There is still plenty of time to mount a respectable return to form assuming we can go in and steal a couple of division games. This Denver Broncos organization has been one of the more respectable NFL franchises over the course of the last 15 years, and I believe Tebow will eventually bring us back to the top.
1. The Fans Deserve It
Although Denver doesn't have quite the 40-year waiting list for season tickets that the Green Bay Packers do, they still have one heck of a loyal fanbase. Watching Barrel Man stand in the snow with nothing on but his barrel is nothing short of spectacular, as many diehard fans would agree.
These 16 games a year are anxiously anticipated by one of the largest and most loyal fan bases within the NFL. Not only that, this fan base has already had to endure the growing pains of rebuilding after John Elway retired, and I think we can all agree that it has taken much too long.
I don't care who is throwing the touchdowns, or who is out there catching them. Just score more of them.