View Full Version : From Worst to First

11-01-2010, 05:42 PM
I was watching about a months worth of NFL network last week. They had a special over the greatest worst to first changes, where teams, dynasties even emerge from the ashes of loosing teams. We need this transformation 4-14 since the bye last week puts us at the bottom of the barrel of the NFL.

That transformation almost always comes down to one or two things.

Sometimes, it's a change at head coach:

I believe that McDaniels can be a great head coach - but he is being dragged down by himself. I don't think this is all that atypical. I think there is a natural process in the NFL that requires good coaches to have their pre-conceived notions beaten out of them before they are any good. Usually that ritualized beating occurs during the natural humiliation of being fired, and having to go beg for work from other head coaches and play by their rules. Belichick had five years in Cleveland, producing only a single winning season. Fired, picked up by New England, and he delivers. Those seasons in Cleveland were so epically bad that the ended with Art Modall leaving town with the then Browns in tow, soon to become the Ravens. Want Bill Blichick? We apparently got the browns version of him.

Is it possible to find a way to give McDaniels that drubbing without firing him? I think so. Take away all the things that he doesn't have to do as a head coach, let him focus on being a head coach, not a GM+QB Coach+Offensive Coordinator+Head Coach. There are several people out there that have a long consistent history of fixing broken teams, that can give Josh someone to depend on in the organization, instead of making the organization dependent on him.

My choice here would be Parcells, who has just finished revitalizing Miami and happens to be the originator of the coaching tree that Josh follows. The time to do something is now - waiting two more years could lead to a situation just as disastrous as the Browns. I honestly think this is the best solution. McDaniels runs a very specific offense, and has just finished gutting the Shanahan parts. If he leaves, he leaves us with a lot of broken toys. If left unattended, he might just keep wrecking the legos rather then building anything constructive.

We have a lot of things to build. Dawkins and Champ are gone after this season. It's as simple as that. It was inevitable the moment that the team didn't re-up Champ's negotiation. The good news is that it is unlikely that any draft contracts will be offered and signed until the new CBA is in place - a new CBA almost certain to reign in the terror of the top five contracts in the NFL. It might be possible to get some superb talent without breaking the piggy bank.

The second possibility is a change at Quarterback. This is most often the catalyst for change. But while it's easy to look at some of the incredible turn around - the Patriots, Arizona, etc, it's also true that compared to the overall number of QB changes, it's a shot in the dark.

The Orton fans point to a statistically strong number of yards thrown (ironically ignoring their own argument that they posed when Cutler was here - yards don't matte, wins do). Mike Shanahan once stated that a Quarterback earns his pay on third down, as part of the justification to bench Plummer and put in Cutler. Broncos were 2-10 on third down yesterday. However, the flip-side of the Plummer decisions still holds. Cutler beat Plummer statistically, but the team didn't do any better, in the first of the now routine late season collapses. Worse, the manner of which Jay was handed the job revealed how little control and confidence Mike had the locker room. The veterans felt that Mike "owed" them and Jake starting jobs, and the resulting rift tore the team apart.

By that same measure, Josh "owes" the veterans of the team the chance for them to compete. While there is still a shot, as I think there is unless we loose next week, they should have a chance to make this team work. Orton has put together a good, but not great season. He is eight in QB rating, which is enough for a gobsmaking number of yards. He is also giving away games, at a time where very little on this team is working. One more typical performance at the hands of KC, and this team and season will be lost.

Does it make sense to put in Tebow once the season is lost? Here are the things to watch:

1) The attendance at Invesco. Commercial realities rule all. This was the factor that caused Mike and Cutler out, and it won't be any nicer to Mike and Kyle.

2) Kyle usually regresses after the bye. Over the last three years, his QB rating is 10 points lower, his YPA a full yard lower, interceptions skyrocket, and his total yards thrown barely half of what it is in first half. Partially this is due to injury concerns, but that injury concern is a reflection of Kyle's physiology. Does the added bulk this year make a difference? We will see.

3) Kyle plays very poorly at Invesco. Last year, there was enough of a overlap to wonder if it where Invesco or if it were injury. This year, with no injury, the significantly worse performance at Invesco continued. No home field advantage means you won't make it to the playoffs.

4) Kyle is dying in third down in the red zone. He hasn't converted a single time when given the ball to pass on third and goal.

5) A more mobile quarterback would have a easier time with the offensive line.

6) Our defense is due for some significant collapse the second half. Older players usually result in second half let downs, and we have the oldest defense in the league. This will drown whatever quarterback still survives.

I said last week not to put Tebow in for any reason, and the ease of which he scored the touchdown left me with some egg on my face. I guess I am going to go full tilt in the other direction. It's time to see if Tebow can pass the ball. If he can, it's time for Tebow in the red zone and in third down. It's time to see if Tebow can be the future of this team.

A lot of teams are going to come knocking around for Tebow this summer. Jaguars, Panthers, Raiders, Arizona and Minnesota all need quarterbacks, and there will not be that many good quarterbacks available. Josh may decide to trade him to get additional draft picks that he desperately needs - we need more depth at the D-line, new safeties another runningback, and corners. Ignoring for the moment that if he does, the national guard will have to be mobilized to protect his house, it makes sense to see what Tebow really has. Not wasting that (almost certainly low) first round pick at this point is critical to the future of this franchise. But a 1st round d-lineman, a second round running back, a third round safeties would go a long way to fixing this team.

I still think that McDaniels can be the head head coach we need, but adult supervision and a long realistic look at our team at every position is a necessary formula to go from worst to first.