Fans cried for the coach's head after an 8-8 finish, what can we expect if it gets worse?
Well, the other shoe has fallen on Wade Phillips' head. As I mentioned in an article last week, I felt it was only a matter of time before this happened. And guess who may be a potential candidate to replace interim coach Jason Garrett? Bill Cowher!
Yet this article is not about the melodrama that is the Cowboys, this is Broncos Country and here in Denver we discuss our own miseries.
Speaking of miseries, since Wade got the axe, is it possible, if the Broncos falter in another division home game this weekend against the resurgent Chiefs, that Josh McDaniels follows suit?
Last week I spoke of why he would not be fired, this week I intend to prove why he probably should be.
Personnel, Personnel, Personnel
It is understood there are a myriad of reasons why Josh McDaniels should be fired. The most glaring reason being personnel decisions. There have been articles submitted daily, that speak to the grandiosity of Kyle Orton.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I hated the Cutler for Orton trade. I am certain there are many who will insult my intelligence, and that is fine.
Before this occurs, I want to point out that McD traded a Pro Bowl quarterback for a player who had a career’s worth of health issues. Orton’s claim to fame was his record as a starting QB. “He’s a winner” was all I kept hearing (boasting a record of 21-11 as a starter).
Aside from the record, how many of those wins were orchestrated by the vaunted Bears defense or a Devin Hester punt return? Now, and without the assistance, Mr. Winner is 4-14 in his last 18 starts.
Yet, who in their right mind trades away a franchise QB? People will argue that Cutler never won a playoff game; he never even got Denver to the playoffs.
Well, here we sit, and Orton has not either. It could be argued that Orton is playing better now than Cutler is in Chicago. Is he really? Statistically yes, but stats are deceiving. Just ask Phillip Rivers. Orton ranks in the Top Five in passing, Cutler does not.
Yet the Chicago Bears are in contention for their division; last I checked 5-3 is still better than 2-6. Isn’t winning all that matters? Or, because we are defending Orton now, do moral victories count? Moreover, is it possible that Orton’s passing stats are slightly inflated due to the anemic rushing attack and Cutler’s are diminished because his receivers are equally as inept?
Expecting Cutler to perform as he did when surrounded by the weapons he had in Denver is the equivalent of asking a NASCAR driver to win a race with a Pinto.
"But we also got draft picks" is a quip I often hear. And how did that work out?
In knowing what we know now about McD, I am utterly shocked with his narcissistic tendencies and severe egocentrism, that he did not feel that he could “mold” Cutler. Nevertheless, he did not want that.
He wanted a “yes-man” and that is what he got. I understand that I may be beating the proverbial dead horse with this issue, but it bears repeating because it speaks directly to the vacuous nature of McDaniels’ personnel decisions.
On to Orton
The most glaring contradiction with Orton can be found in his blatant inability to do anything productive when the game is on the line. He can toss the ball from here to London in the second and third quarter, but when the time comes to be clutch, Orton stalls the car.
Evidence of this is his game winning or tying drives in his career: seven (and the stats are not great). Typically, seven would be a lucky number in Denver, but in this case, it is not.
To put this into perspective, Josh Freeman, the pseudo-rookie of the Tampa Bay Bucs, just finished his 17th pro start. He already has five game-winning or tying drives.
There are many outside factors that can contribute or water down a stat like this.
One is defense, which clearly Orton had in Chicago; the other is the QB’s ability to perform in these types of situations. It is evident that Orton lacks the aptitude to execute under pressure.
Is it coincidence that the Bears benched Orton, after he got them to the Super Bowl, in favor of Rex Grossman (yes, the same Rex Grossman from two weeks ago)? Is it not possible that the Bears knew of the shortcomings of Orton and that is why they were ready to pull the trigger on him as soon as McD called them?
Orton is a game manager at best. He is the prototype “just don’t do anything to lose the game for us” QB. This is a game theory, except for one glaring reality: in the three games in which Denver had a chance to either tie or win the game in the fourth (Jacksonville, the Jets, San Francisco), Orton has turned the ball over.
Moreover, we have watched as he abashedly walks off the field disgruntled. These are not mere coincidences; this is empirical truth.
A Room Full of Morally Depraved Prima Donnas?
Another problem with the “don’t lose the game for us theory” is McD got rid of any semblance of offensive talent we had on this team. It is here that I segue into a second reason why McDaniels should be fired.
I can throw out names like Hillis and Marshall and how we wasted a draft pick for Alphonso Smith (the same draft pick we got for Cutler), or why we drafted Moreno when we clearly needed defense to strengthen the argument.
I liken McDaniels' complete overhaul of the Broncos, from the QB down through the first decent Defensive Coordinator we had in years, to the Ditka Draft Revolution of 1999.
With this in mind, let's continue with Marshall. I have been pleasantly amazed with the production of Brandon Lloyd. Anyone who says they saw this coming is either clairvoyant or lying to you.
Nevertheless, I disagree with the sentiment that we are just fine without Marshall. I also find it amusing when people argue the sum of all of our receivers equals Marshall’s production.
So, let me get this straight: it takes five guys to equal one? Who is our go-to receiver in crunch time?
We could say Lloyd, but what happens when Orton decides to only find him three or four times a game, or he is double covered?
I simply find it hard to believe that everybody on our offense, Pre-McD, lacked moral fiber and character. Cutler, Marshall, Scheffler, and Hillis were all a bunch of prima-donna punks? Casey Weigman? He's just old.
Oh, by the way, Peyton Hillis just scored another touchdown
In a recent article, McDaniels was asked what he thought about Hillis’ success in Cleveland. He shrugged off the question by stating Hillis would not fit in our system.
Okay…apparently we could not use a back that has scored in every game this season and had over a 100 yards rushing against a Ravens defense where we netted a franchise low. Then…did anyone see the game against the Patriots yesterday?
As Doug Farrar points out on Yahoo Sports, Hillis has outrushed the ENTIRE Bronco team. He is on track to become the first white dude to rush for over a 1,000 yards since Craig James did it for New England in 1985.
With regard to Scheffler, I know that he made some moronic comments at the end of last season, but is that really the reason why he was traded?
In training camp this year, McD was very high on Marquez Branson, a layover from last year's practice squad, saying he was going to take Scheffler’s place. Unfortunately, Branson was cut and never made it out of the preseason. And Richard Quinn, whom we wasted another draft pick to move in the draft to acquire, has not lived up to the hype either. I believe he had less than ten receptions in college.
Is it possible that “All the King’s (Shanahan) Men” had to go and that is why Scheffler was traded? Clearly, we miss a tight end that can stretch the field.
He Outsmarted Himself?
The fact is McD tried to use the same formula for winning that is utilized in New England; hence the fascination with every New England castoff that is available (see: Green, Jarvis and Maroney, Lawrence and…even the long snapper)!
The caveat is Tom Brady does not play in Denver and McD is not Bill Belichick. You cannot just “adopt” a team’s mentality. Orton is not Tom Brady; he is not even Bobby Brady.
Maybe McD sold us the Kool-Aid and we drank it because we wanted to believe this guy could really work miracles and make Orton into Brady; a miracle performed once before with Matt Cassell (who McD also wanted). Is it possible that what made Cassell look so great could've been a couple of guys named Welker and Moss?
I am not insinuating that Bowlen should go rogue a al Jerry Jones and can McD tomorrow, but if we finish in the 5-11 ballpark (7-20 in his last 27), how can his stay be justified?
We can sit and hope that Orton will come through in the clutch, just as we can hope that McD will be fired. Unfortunately, neither is likely to happen.