In 1983, a Stanford quarterback came to Denver and completely changed the face of the Broncos franchise. He led them to five Super Bowls, winning two of them, and can be considered the greatest quarterback of all time.
In 2011 John Elway has rejoined a Denver Broncos team that is in complete disarray. Once again the city of Denver will put their faith in the hands of the great Elway, but this time as a member of the front office. Elway has decided he will re-join the Broncos as the Vice President of Football Operations.
As a Broncos fan, I have always trusted Elway, and I certainly will in his new role with the organization. There are a few moves that only a person with Elway’s credentials can accomplish, and he needs to utilize these to restore the Broncos back to the top of the National Football League.
The Broncos haven’t been this bad in recent memory and they need to do something to change the culture before it’s too late. It’s not like they are the Detroit Lions, this franchise is accustom to winning, it’s natural. So after Josh McDaniels destroyed one of the best franchises in the league, the Broncos need someone to get them out of this place that reminds me of the Oakland Raiders’ “black hole.”
Matter of fact, how about Josh McDaniels replaces Tom Cable in Oakland, that would be great for the Broncos. McDaniels could turn Darren McFadden into a 50 yards per game running back, and attempt to turn Jason Campbell into a 4,000 yard passer. Honestly, who would fit the Raiders head coach position better than Josh McDaniels?
But back to the Broncos. The first move for Denver is to get rid of everything that has to do with Josh McDaniels. They have to clean house, and the great Elway, while inexperienced at his new position, should be able to help with this.
The key for this team is to find a coach and build around him with class guys. This organization has spent too much time being irrelevant in the NFL, they need a head coach to team up with Tebow, they need someone who can get the most out of Tebow.
You already have a natural leader in place at quarterback. Yeah, he may have some flaws, he can’t throw the ball like an NFL quarterback, he will get beat up by running the football the way he does, he may not be the smartest guy in the world.
Screw it, this guy has drive and desire like we’ve never seen at the quarterback position. You can tell with his second half performances thus far, that he will do what it takes to win, there’s just something about this guy. Despite his lack of NFL-quality tools, I believe he is an NFL quarterback, and this is a guy that you can build around.
The first guy that comes to mind for all NFL teams looking for a head coach is Jim Harbaugh. If Denver were able to land Harbaugh it would be great, but there are other guys out there. I think the move is to pay Harbaugh what it takes to get them out of this funk.
Yeah, the Broncos will be paying three head coaches next season (Shanahan and McDaniels), but they shouldn’t have to pay McDaniels the entirety of what they owe him because of McSpygate. If I’m Bowlen, I pay Harbaugh what it takes, regardless of how much it is. If you can’t land Harbaugh, there are other guys out there who can lead this franchise out of this situation.
If you’re going to build around Tebow, I think the best way to go is to get a coach who is known for defense and running the football. Not to hide Tebow’s arm, but rather bring out the most with what you’ve got in place. Besides a weak offensive line, the Broncos have a solid foundation in place to make for a strong running game with Knowshon Moreno and Tebow.
Remember back in the day when the Broncos were playing for division titles and Super Bowls? They had a dominant run game, taking advantage of the Mile High city, wearing down defenses who couldn’t handle the high altitude. The Broncos need to bring that back. Draft athletic lineman who will be able to handle playing in the altitude and can out last the opponent’s defensive line in terms of endurance.
But it’s more than just drafting these guys, a lot of it is schemes, and the Broncos need a coach who can put the right running scheme into place (Gary Kubiak?).
The Broncos are talented at receiver, so the pass game will open up once you run the football. You don’t have Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but you do have something you can work with in Tebow, so build an offense around him.
Also, Denver needs playmakers on defense. You have the second pick in the upcoming draft, what do you do with it? The value of Broncos' second pick is considerably lower than Carolina’s No. 1 pick, not many teams will be trying to trade for the pick, they all want the first pick because of Andrew Luck.
So trading the pick might not bring you the same value that it would in years past, which is too bad for the Broncos cause they need a lot of help in a lot of different places.
But what they need most is a playmaker on defense, and they can fill that void with the second pick in the draft. They have the ability to pick the best defensive player in college football, and this is one that you can’t screw up. This draft pick has to be a guy that you can build a defense around. With needs on the defensive line and in the secondary, it would make sense to spend the pick in either of those positions.
The Broncos have Elvis Dumervil coming back next season, so maybe a defensive lineman to help generate quarterback pressure with Dumervil could be an option. Maybe defensive end Da’Quan Bowers from Clemson or tackle Nick Fairley from Auburn. Or maybe you try to get help in the secondary with a decline and possible departure of Champ Bailey.
If that’s the route that Elway and company decide to go then they should draft cornerback Patrick Peterson from LSU, who is a rare talent at the position. No matter where you go with this pick, you can’t screw this one up, this has to be a guy who is going to be a rock for the defense for years to come.
The Broncos organization has a lot of work to do, and they may be a couple years away from competing. However, if you can bring the right coach and the right system in, with the current parity in the league there is no reason the Denver Broncos can’t compete in 2011.