|11-23-2006, 02:55 AM||#1|
The Kranz Dictum
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Tranquility Base
Big Bad Jake & The Tumbleweed Connection
Big Bad Jake & The Tumbleweed Connection
In October 1970 Elton John released his second album, a concept album, entitled “Tumbleweed Connection”. Bernie Taupin wrote all but one song being influenced at the time by the musical output of The Band (“Music from Big Pink”, “The Band”) and the Marty Robbins song “El Paso”. Mike Shanahan had his own Concept when he brought in Jake Plummer to run his Offense, replacing an ineffective Brian Griese in 2003.
Listening to this well produced album that reached the top ten of the Billboard 200, but never provided a true smash single, one can find many parallels between this concept album from the 1970’s and a successful quarterback that has run his course in “an old cow town”. If you have a copy of this album pop it in and read along, you may find some interesting parallels with the concept of the tribulations of 1870’s west and the 2006 Denver Broncos “gunslinger”.
“The Ballad of a Well Known Gun”
“Tumbleweed Connection” kicks off with “The Ballad of a Well Known Gun”. In the song the hero laments about running from town to town abandoning his family to out run the law or those that want to challenge his skills as a shootist. Jake has buckled under the pressure of a new gun in town. Whether or not the presence of Jay Cutler behind Plummer has affected his performance has caused him to look over his should this year he is the current leader & needs to make one last stand in Kansas City and fight with both barrels blazing.
‘Now they've found meJake would show Denver fans much about his character if he were to show up and make one last Old West Stand, not fade away and sneak off into the sunset.
I won't run
I'm tired of hearing
There goes a well-known gun’
“Come Down in Time”
A slow mellow tune typical of laid back 70’s, this seems to fit the laid back attitude the casual fan seems to get from Jake. Notable for the parallel in the lyrics:
“Come down in time
And I’ll meet you half way”
Shanahan asked Jake to man his team at the end of the 2002 season. He met Jake half way utilizing his mobility to get him out of the pocket and buy him time to hit his receivers. Defenses have adjusted keeping Jake more in the pocket in 2005 and 2006 forcing Jake into quicker decisions resulting in less positive plays.
Has the loss of fellow Wyoming neighbor Jeb Putzier in Free Agency left Jake without the:
“Good old country comfort in my bones
Just the sweetest sound my ears have ever known
Just an old-fashioned feeling fully-grown
Country comfort's in a truck that's going home…”
Without reliable production from the Tight-end position this year the Bronco Offense has been hard pressed to convert third downs.
“Son of Your Father”
A blind brother, with a hook for a hand, tries to get his sighted brother to pay him $20 before he leaves his farm, a fight ensues and they kill each other. The moral here to be drawn is that a bad Quarterback can destroy a coach if the situation is not handled right.
For charity's an argument
That only leads to harm
So be careful when they're kind to you
Don't you end up in the dirt
Just remember what I'm saying to you
And you likely won't get hurt”
A coach has to be sure that he does not play a bad older Quarterback too long and that he does not destroy a young Quarterback by throwing him in to the line up too fast. Jake would be smart not to kill his “son of the same NFL father” and do as Bernie writes:
“You're the son of your father
Try a little bit harder
Do for me as he would do for you
With blood and water bricks and mortar
He built for you a home
You're the son of your father
So treat me as your own”
Both Jay and Jake work for Pat Bowlen and the Bronco Organization towards one common goal, neither should be holding back the other.
“My Fathers Gun”
A great song with a great horn section reminiscent of The Bands “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. Jake made a commitment to the Broncos to play to the best of his abilities when signed in 2002. His play has been inconsistent though his regular season record has hovered around the .600 mark.
“I'll take my horse and I'll ride the northern plain
To wear the color of the greys and join the fight again
I'll not rest until I know the cause is fought and won
From this day on until I die I'll wear my father's gun”
Who ever finishes the 2006 season as Quarterback for the Broncos will need to lead:
`Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men
So slip us a rope and sail on round the bend
“Where to now St. Peter”
What lies ahead for both Shanahan and Plummer? Is Cutler the answer? What trade value and who will be willing to trade for a 10 year veteran? Questions abound, only time can tell:
“So where to now St. Peter
If it's true I'm in your hands
I may not be a Christian
But I've done all one man can
I understand I'm on the road
Where all that was is gone
So where to now St. Peter
Show me which road I'm on
Which road I'm on”
In Love Song Bernie Taupin goes to the rock and roll well, Good Love gone bad.
“ You say it’s very hard
To leave behind the life we knew
But there is no other way
And now it is really up to you”
Bernie puts it on his partner, challenging her to make the relationship work and asking if their relationship was what they really thought it was. Maybe Shanahan should reflect back on this season and see it for what it has been and not what it should have been from training camp. Sometimes we things for what we want them to be and not what they are.
The fan base does have to miss having a hall of fame quarterback at the helm of the Denver Broncos but not everyone expects Hall of Fame numbers from every QB to take a snap from under a Bronco center, or guard in some cases…
“Lately I've been thinking how much I miss my lady
Amoreena's in the cornfield brightening the daybreak
Living like a lusty flower, running through the grass for hours
Rolling through the hay like a puppy child”
Though Shanahan has to miss John Elway he was a once a life time talent. Still it is fun to reminisce when songs like this come on the ipod or we see John in a Skybox at Invesco field at Mile High.
“Talking Old Soldiers”
After 10 years in the league Jake has more youth than Jay Cutler as a threat to his job. He has had some good moments in a Bronco Uniform and can hold his head high. There are other young players on other teams that he will have to compete against though, who knows maybe some day he will have a drink with Rod Smith and John Lynch:
“Well it's time I moved off
But it's been great just listening to you
And I might even see you next time I'm passing through
You're right there's so much going on
No one seems to want to know
So keep well, keep well old friend
And have another drink on me
Just ignore all the others you got your memories”
You got your memories
“Burn Down the Mission”
Really the only thing Jake can do to “stay alive” is to “Burn down the mission” & play well in Kansas City.
You tell me there's an angel in your treeLetting it all hang out and play loose hitting receivers in stride and getting the ball into their hands while keeping it out of the defenders would go a long way to keeping Cutler on the bench for another week. This needs to be Jakes battle cry, he needs to lead and show that he will not go quietly into the night.
Did he say he'd come to call on me
For things are getting desperate in our home
Living in the parish of the restless folks I know”
“Burn down the mission
If we're gonna stay alive
Watch the black smoke fly to heaven
See the red flame light the sky
Burn down the mission
Burn it down to stay alive
It's our only chance of living
Take all you need to live inside
Deep in the woods the squirrels are out today
My wife cried when they came to take me away
But what more could I do just to keep her warm
Than burn burn burn burn down the mission walls”
Shanahan benching Plummer and burning the remaining link to his starting career in Denver would begin a new dawn for Jay Cutler. Will his stay end up like a tumbleweed blowing through a ghost town or memories of high living and silver trophies? Only time will tell. In the meantime pop this classic album in your Turn-table/8-Track/cd-player/ipod and draw your own conclusions.
Steven Henricksen 11/22/2006