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Bronco Fans, Will the Rats Be Leaving a Sinking Ship?

Michael Keller@@MichaelK_NFLAnalyst IIIJanuary 4, 2010

DENVER - JANUARY 03: A Broncos fan holds a sign expressing his sentiments about head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs at Invesco Field at Mile High on January 3, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

After watching the last eight weeks of this season of the Denver Broncos, it has become clear that whether it is an intended consequence or not, there will be a MAJOR housecleaning before next training camp.

The glorious stadium that Bowlen had the taxpayers of Denver build is about as terrifying to incoming teams as that white gelding on top of the South stands wall.

Was a change at the head coaching position warranted after the past several seasons of continuing mediocrity? Probably. Was there a bit too much player coddling going on in some instances. Probably.

But when looking for a replacement for a coach with the credentials that Shanahan had, it might have made sense to look to someone who actually had some head coaching experience. And to hire one as young as McDaniels, it is asking for some issues to crop up.

One issue is that the new coach can't seem to figure out how to prevent a second-half meltdown, just like his predecessor couldn't.

Also, for someone who was trained under the mantle of Master Hoody himself, where everything is cloaked in mystery and wrapped in secrecy, spouting off to the media about your issues with certain players and almost writing off any chance at making a playoff slot seems to be rather immature and puzzling, to say the least.

The message seemed to be: "I am the boss of you and that is more important than winning a damn game and having a shot at the playoffs." That message sure seemed to get through to the rest of the team, especially the defense and even the offense in the second half.

When you can make the lowly Raiders and Chiefs look like contending teams, you have succeeded in getting your ego-driven message across loud and clear.

Now to the even more painful issue that is the thrust of my headline:

The past eight weeks and the behavior of the head coach has set the stage for a mass exodus of what talent currently resides on the Bronco roster. It is almost a given that both WR Marshall and TE Scheffler will be gone. LB/DE Dumervil may not be too far behind them, either. Champ Bailey will be considering his options, as will Ty Law. In addition, guards Hochstein, Kuper, and Hamilton could take that walk down the hall. If I am not mistaking, that would mean two starters (Kuper and Hochstein) from the O-line plus a backup (Hamilton) could be gone.

Add to that the kickers (Prater and Berger) and Lloyd, a decent backup WR and you have some major holes to fill. Oh, and of course, Orton, making about $1 million, could get another offer, although not too likely.

But, you say, they wouldn't all leave, would they? Probably not, this is about money but also more than that. Players want to play where they feel they have a chance at a Super Bowl ring, or at least to go deep into the playoffs. And they also want to play for an organization that has a commitment to winning and that treats the players with some level of respect.

That used to be the reason so many players wanted to come to play here. It was that kind of environment. Plus, Denver is not the worst place to live.

With that perception changing, it will be harder to keep the RFAs and the UFAs, not to mention signing other FAs to build back a quality team.

This article isn't meant to cry "Wolf" or that all is lost, just to point out that all is not well on the Good Ship Bronco as some leaks are starting to flood the bilges.

And the rats might just be getting restless!

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