Fortunately for Eric Studesville and the Denver Broncos, they play against Derek “I take this game seriously” Anderson and the lowly Arizona Cardinals this weekend. This is a nice debut match-up for Studesville, as he tests the waters of head coaching in the NFL.
Arizona is last place in the NFC West division. Ouch. If you’re last in that division, you’re almost as bad as the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals are 2-4 at home this season, but the Broncos are 1-5 on the road. Still, you can’t do much better than coach against the Cardinals in your first game. Studesville should be thankful…or should he?
Many Broncos fans had not heard the name Studesville until two days ago, but a lot of them are just glad the name McDaniels isn’t listed under Denver’s head coaching position anymore.
The negative repercussions left by McDaniels are numerous. The biggest beef I have with the former coach is that he cut hard-nosed running back Peyton Hillis, who is now making a career in Cleveland and should be heading to his first Pro Bowl, if fans have any common sense. Knowshon Moreno is a capable running back, but Hillis seems to me to be a more athletic, agile and powerful player than Moreno.
If McDaniels would have given Hillis a chance maybe they would not have drafted Moreno. Then, ideally, they would have picked up linebacker/defensive end Brian Orakpo, of the Washington Redskins, and Denver would have one of the best pass rushing combos in the NFL in Elvis Dumervil and Orakpo.
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This leads me to my next point. The Broncos have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. This was not the case for the better part of last season with newly acquired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Granted, Dumervil has not played a down this season and the Broncos have no pass rush without him (insert Orakpo). However, Denver does not seem to have the passion they did last season with Nolan. After this season, Don Martindale may be the latest defensive coordinator who gets canned in Denver.
My third biggest problem, but certainly not last with McDaniels, is that he traded away arguably the most talented wide receiver in the NFL. Quarterback Kyle Orton and Marshall built a respectable rapport with each other in their first season together last year, showcased by Marshall’s record-breaking performance at the end of the season.
Imagine the Broncos had an offense consisting of up and coming Orton, future Pro-Bowler Hillis and Marshall. Add Brandon Lloyd and other McDaniels’ victim Tony Scheffler to that mix and you have got one of the most potent and feared offenses in the league. Also imagine a (healthy) defense with the likes of Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins, D.J. Williams, Elvis Dumervil and Brian Orakpo. It sounds like a pretty good team, right?
Let’s come back to reality, as painful as it may be. The Broncos do have a good offense, at least passing offense, but that’s because the running game has been less than stellar and they’re usually playing from behind because the defense can’t stop a rock. They’re last place in the AFC West, which is almost as bad as the NFC West and only have a high draft pick to look forward to. As far as I’m concerned, McDaniels was definitely a good riddance, maybe the team can actually make some progress now.