|01-04-2009, 07:39 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Denver's Super success in 10 big moves
The No. 1 goal for the Broncos next season?
Win the Super Bowl. Nothing less will do.
There is a long tradition of football excellence in Denver. Upholding it is franchise owner Pat Bowlen's civic duty.
Here's a 10-point plan to make the Broncos contenders again:
1. Hire Steve Spagnuolo as coach.
The tradition began with the Orange Crush. Restore it.
Firing Mike Shanahan was a waste of everybody's blood- pressure medicine, unless the Broncos can find a replacement who brings a talent Shanny lacked.
Spagnuolo, defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, knows how to stuff people. Now, wouldn't that be a refreshing change in Denver?
2. Show Albert Haynesworth the money.
To fix this defense, it will cost Bowlen more than a contract for a new coach.
Denver goes off to work with the least intimidating front seven since Snow White's dwarfs. The two big-ticket, big-play free agents who could possibly hit the market this year are Carolina's Julius Peppers and Haynesworth of Tennessee.
3. Hire Scott Pioli as general manager.
For a decade, the best organization in sports has been the New England Patriots. Three main reasons are Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Pioli, the team's personnel guru.
While Jim Goodman has undoubtedly improved Denver's IQ on draft day, the Broncos need somebody to stop the expensive free-agent mistakes (see Niko Koutouvides) and desperate trades (see Dewayne Robertson) that Shanahan made.
4. Put Champ Bailey on trade block.
OK, I know what you're thinking. How could trading Denver's best defensive player help?
Listen: Bailey will be 31 years old before the next time he plays an NFL game. Not even a Hall of Fame cornerback can infuse your defense with nastiness. So see if Bailey could bring a haul of draft picks to rebuild a defensive unit with many holes. If no team makes the Broncos an offer they can't refuse, then No. 24 is back in starting lineup next fall.
5. Draft a Southern Cal Trojan.
In a college game in which scoring has gone wild, the only statistic to be trusted is the 9.0 points per game surrendered by USC. When the Broncos pick No. 12 in the first round, if they see Trojans linebacker Rey Maualuga or safety Taylor Mays on the board, it's a no-brainer.
6. Get a real tailback.
Enough with the "American Idol" approach to filling the position. Who's carrying the rock this week? Peyton Hillis or Clay Aiken?
Invest a second-round draft choice in a tailback. Anybody remember where Denver picked up Clinton Portis in 2002?
7. Keep Jeremy Bates, Bobby Turner.
Maybe the real masterminds of Denver's explosive offense are Bates, who called the plays, and Turner, the running backs coach who made Terrell Davis famous.
So maybe the lone condition for Spagnuolo or anybody else to get the job as head coach is a solemn promise to retain Bates and Turner.
8. Make John Elway your QB tutor.
Elway can smack a golf ball and cook a mean steak, but that doesn't make him a GM. Besides, locking himself in a dark room to watch endless videotape of 21-year-old defensive tackles is no way for an NFL legend to spend the rest of his life.
But there is a job with the Broncos that cries out for Elway's expertise. As a quarterback, Jay Cutler has it all, except the demeanor for the toughest political job in Colorado. Hire Elway as an executive consultant to Bowlen, whose first task for the Duke would be to tutor Cutler.
9. Don't lose a brick in the wall.
The Broncos' offensive line was the best since tackle Gary Zimmerman left the building. Make sure 35-year-old center Casey Wiegmann, a wise graybeard contemplating retirement, sticks around Dove Valley another year.
10. Roll back ticket prices.
There was one aspect of firing Shanahan that perhaps Bow- len could not possibly fully understand. With new Broncomaniacs standing in the unemployment line every day, it does not sit well to see a coach get paid $20 million to go away.
So give loyal Denver fans a break. Cut ticket prices by 5 percent and see how much karma it will buy the Broncos.
The bottom line.
Shanahan did not invent pro football excellence in Denver.
Red Miller and Dan Reeves did.
As sure as Shanahan inherited Elway as his quarterback, the only coach to win NFL championships in Denver also benefited from the tradition established by Miller and Reeves, who won 60 percent of their regular-season games and produced nine playoff victories, including four trips to the Super Bowl in 16 seasons, from 1977-92.
Let history show the success of Reeves and Miller compares very favorably with the 61 percent winning rate in regular-season tilts, the eight playoff victories and two Super Bowl trips in Shanahan's 14 seasons.
The big difference? Shana- han won the big one. Twice.
He's gone, and Shanny will sweat to get back to the Super Bowl to show the Broncos how wrong they were for firing him.
But if tradition, pride and the stadium we built count for anything, the owner of the Broncos owes us another championship.
And it can be done.
No pressure, Mr. Bowlen.