|08-31-2007, 07:02 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Broncos have many questions to answer
It is possible that the 53rd Bronco may influence the fortunes of Team Shanahan this season, and should that happen, the final preseason pantomime against Arizona on Thursday night still would not have been necessary.
This was like driving to Oklahoma just to see if the spare tire leaks.
Conclusion? You just never know.
The hard money paid and the inconvenience endured for such an outing at Invesco Field was certainly more real than anything else on the evening. But the audience, sparser than usual, mostly paid attention, and the authentic Broncos lounged padless on the sideline, leaving open the question of why either bothered.
Certainly the real questions hang as heavily as ever, most notably the strain of starting a season with two seminew figures at the two most central positions to the offense and defense, quarterback and middle linebacker.
One of these is by choice, of course, and the other by attrition, meaning that the burden is heavier on Jay Cutler than it is on D.J. Williams, the difference between being anointed and being refitted.
Or, just to keep the automotive image going, Cutler is the new car, shiny and ding-free, while Williams is the old pickup now being used as a tractor.
What we saw of Cutler in limited and structured minutes in three games is not nearly as encouraging as it was last summer when Cutler got to play loose and limber against wannabes while Jake Plummer gave no indication that his attention span and desire had shriveled to the size of a couple of cashews.
In fact, if Cutler were in actual competition for a job, cries would be loud for the other guy, whoever he is and according to the game program, that would be, not even Patrick Ramsey but Darrell (The Barrel) Hackney.
Hackney is this year's Bradlee Van Pelt, the barometer of disaster. If Hackney makes the team, or if he ever takes a snap for the Broncos, hope and reason have not only died but committed suicide.
There is no looking past Cutler to anyone else, nor to any other outcome than positive. There were flashes of Cutler's impressive arm, a hint of special gifts in at least one two-minute drill against the Browns and the undeniable self-assurance that he is ready for all of this.
Cutler was given the status of a finished incumbent rather than, as he remains, an ambiguity, capable of going bad, better or most probably, a little of each as he learns on the job.
We also saw this summer little of the new running back, Travis Henry, or the new tight end, Daniel Graham. The offensive line will have at least one new member, Montrae Holland, and the receiver corps, outside of Javon Walker, brings the credentials of mail clerks.
This uncertain offensive crew is in this together, having no other choice but to feel their way along without familiar landmarks.
As if replacing a middle linebacker is not a harrowing enough task, the whole defense is being refitted under new coordinator Jim Bates, who like Williams and Cutler, also has yet to reassure.
Bates' defense has been susceptible to the run, the pass, poor tackling and getting in each other's way, all of this explained by getting used to the new system.
Whatever else was accomplished Thursday, the three defensive linemen drafted to fix things last spring appeared on the field several times together, with Marcus Thomas, Tim Crowder and Jarvis Moss appearing less like saviors than well oiled turnstiles.
The last we remember, other than poor Al Wilson being carted off in a fog, is that the defense finished the season much as the rest of us did, trying to stay interested after Plummer was replaced and ambition was relinquished.
Clear surrender was not much thanks to a defense that had carried the Broncos up to that point. Whether it was resentment or mutiny or exhaustion, the best part of the team became the most abused.
And it is the part that has taken on the greatest overhaul, from the conventional Bates for the resourceful Larry Coyer, from Williams for Wilson and Nate Webster for Williams and the overstuffed new middle of the line with Sam Adams and Amon Gordon, to the addition by reputation of Dré Bly for the tragic Darrent Williams, this whole bunch may be half a season from either jelling or rebelling.
So, on an odd Thursday in August, a whole game was suffered for no other reason than to determine who the fifth tight end might be and which practice squad standbys are which, not so much football as simply a harmless distraction.
And the last one the Broncos are likely to have for a while.
Last edited by dragondawg; 08-31-2007 at 07:05 AM..
|08-31-2007, 08:22 AM||#2|
helmet to helmet hitter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Arlington, TX
|08-31-2007, 12:21 PM||#3|
Join Date: Apr 2001
And the defense was on a decline, giving up 2nd half leads, long before Cutler was put in, so saying they "gave up" because the season was lost due to the QB change is utterly ridiculous.