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Old 08-08-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
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It's been a long and interesting off-season. I remember thinking we had legit shot at contending for the title around this time last year...

Fast forward to 2009, Shanny is no longer roaming the sideline, the up-and-coming franchise qb gone and brand new defensive scheme...

I decided to compare last years starting line-up for the opening day vs. this yearís (projected).

QB
2008: J. Cutler/P. Ramsey : A-
He was what you call a true franchise qb. Young, athletic and competitive, he could more than make up his shortcomings with pure athleticism. A future pro-bowler.
2009: Kyle Orton/C. Simms: B-
Orton had his ups and downs in his time in Chi-town. His lack of arm strength can be compensated if he can adjust to qb-friendly system of McDaniels, a Hoodie disciple.

RB
2008: Selvin Young/Andre Hall/Michael Pittman/Cecil Sapp: B
This was an overachieving bunch. They took full advantage of the blocking-scheme and each contributed despite injuries, but lack of continuity was an issue.
2009: Buckhalter/Hillis/Moreno/Jordan: A-
This group is more athletic, can all catch the ball out of backfield and Moreno may be the highest-rated RB drafted by the team. Hillis has shown he can be the workhorse, if called upon.

WR
2008: B. Marshall/D. Jackson/B. Stokley/E. Royal : B-
Marshall is destined for the stardom, Jackson and Stokley donít exactly strike fear on opposing teams and Royal was going to be a return specialist.
2009: B. Marshall/E. Royal/J. Gaffney/B. Stokley/K. McKinley: A
We may have two pro-bowlers, Marshall has to prove he can demand big money. Royal can be a star and McKinley can be a starter in 2 or 3 years.

TE
2008: D. Graham/T. Sheffler/N. Jackson: A-
2009: D. Graham/T. Sheffler/R. Quinn: A-
They are essentially same group, except I have high hopes for Quinn.

OL
2008: R. Clady/B. Hamilton/T. Nalen/C. Kuper/R. Harris: C+
Nalen was an injury-prone. Both Harris and Clady were essentially rookies.
2009: R. Clady/B. Hamilton/C. Wiegmann/C. Kuper/R. Harris: A
After a pro-bowl campaign by Wiegmann and Clady(snubbed), this is the strongest OL Broncs fielded in years. Harris can only get better.

DL
2008: J. Engleberger/E. Dumervil/D. Robertson/M. Thomas: D-
An uninspiring bunch, at least there were some hopes Robertson was going to resurrect his career in Den.
2009: R. Fields/M. Thomas/K. Peterson/C. Baker/C. Powell: D
Not much better than last yearís squad on paper, but they canít possibly get worse, can they?

LB
2008: D. Williams/B. Bailey/N. Koutouvides/N. Webster: C
Coaching staff put all their chips in new signees Bailey and Koutou.. whatís his name, it cost them dearly later in the season.
2009: D. Williams/A. Davis/T. Crowder/E. Dumervil/R. Ayers: B
D.J. will play inside where he can be more effective (over 100 tks in 2007), Davis is 3-4 ILB, Crowder has so far shown that he can contribute and Ayers can be a star.

DB
2008: C. Bailey/D. Bly/H. Abdullah/M. McCree/M. Manuel: C
Ouch, this may be the worst secondary ever by the end of season. At least Champ and Dre were THOUGHT to be one of best tandem in preseason.
2009: C. Bailey/A. Goodman/B. Dawkins/R. Hill/J. Williams/A. Smith: B-
When healthy, Bailey is one of the best in the league. Both Goodman and Hill must show they can be starters. Dawkins provides a much needed leadership and JMFW and Fonzo are the future.

ST
2008: M. Prater/S. Paulescu/M. Leach/E. Royal: C-
With losing Elam, this unit was unproven and a lot of question marks.
2009: M. Prater/B. Kern/L. Paxton/A. Smith: C+
Kern had a solid season in í08. Paxton is more expensive version of Leach. Prater must improve his numbers.

There you have it. Even with a more difficult schedule, I think we can be a borderline Playoff team. IF SD struggles (definitely possible with Turner at helm), we may get an undeserving playoff spot.
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:04 AM   #2
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cool post. I think I agree with most of your assessments, although obviously it's tough to distinguish between what we thought the grades were going into the season last year and what they ended up being in reality. Same will be the case this year, in regards to the discrepancy between how we think certain units/players will fare, and what they actually end up doing.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:36 PM   #3
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The only problem with the SD comparison is that the Broncos' at large opponents are New England and Indianapolis, while the Chargers' at large opponents are Tennessee and Miami.

It is just ironic, that the first place schedule is easier than the second place schedule. By a reversal of mojo, both the Patriots and Colts, suffered injuries last season and did not win their division. While, the division winners, Dolphins and Titans, have been severely depleted from last season by losing some key Free Agents.

And one consolation of a touch schedule and a potentially difficult season for a rebuilding team is the prospect of a high draft pick the next season, but wait.....

I just hope that by some other reversal of fates, all these things can somehow work in our favor, but I am just hoping......

Last edited by atomicbloke; 08-08-2009 at 12:40 PM..
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:41 PM   #4
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Your a little off I'd say:

QB Worse
RB Better (We better be having used the #12 here)
WR Push (What makes us better?...BMarsh might not even play)
TE Push (Nothing new here...oh, Quinn...whippy)
OL Push (Same group...repeating is alot harder to do)
DL Push (We did nothing to improve here...still scrubs)
LB Push (Davis, Ayers and a bunch of converts need to prove themselves first)
DB Better (Although Dawkins injury is a concern)
ST Push (Why are we better?...Bruton?)

Schedule Worse (Have you seen our schedule?)
Head coach Worse (He'll be good eventually...let's hope)
Overall Coaching Better

I'd say, we're just about where we were last year...talent wise...so it comes down to coaching. I'll buy into us being better coached overall this year...but we still have one hell of a schedule to contend with.

Compared to last year, I'd say our chances are worse now than then.

Let's hope not!

Last edited by Hamrob; 08-09-2009 at 12:07 PM..
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:46 PM   #5
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"2009: Kyle Orton/C. Simms: B-"

oh man, people are really going to be disappointed when they actually see Kyle Orton up close, some of you really are just willfully ignorant of how bad our QBs really are.. haha
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:58 PM   #6
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Some of those grades must have been written while looking through orange and blue glasses. The two positions that jump out at me with these grades is QB and OL.

You really think QB is B-? That's wishful thinking at it's best. At this point, until Orton or who every proves the bulk of us wrong, they are garbage, and the Broncos have one of the worst QB situations in the league. I hope Orton or somebody else can rise up and become a stud, but I just don't see it. There's a much better chance of them sucking ass than being good.

As for the O Line, they jump from a C+ to a A-? They have the same group from last year. I'll give you that a couple of the younger lineman will be better, but that's a big jump. I'd say you really undervalued last year's line. That was a real bright spot for the team. I'd give them a much higher grade than a C+. And this year it's tough to grade them out because those linemen were picked to play in Shanny's system. Will they be as good in a new system? Hopefully, but we won't know. And one reason the sack total was low was because Cutler could get out of the pocket. Will who ever they roll out there be able to do that?
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonelbeef View Post
"2009: Kyle Orton/C. Simms: B-"

oh man, people are really going to be disappointed when they actually see Kyle Orton up close, some of you really are just willfully ignorant of how bad our QBs really are.. haha
Without seeing him in camp I thought he would do well in the system.

But after watching that pratice video from the other night and reading others imput.

It will be tough to win more than 6 games with Orton back there.
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:11 PM   #8
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You really think QB is B-? That's wishful thinking at it's best. At this point, until Orton or who every proves the bulk of us wrong, they are garbage, and the Broncos have one of the worst QB situations in the league. I hope Orton or somebody else can rise up and become a stud, but I just don't see it. There's a much better chance of them sucking ass than being good.
My grade is not based on Orton's talent level. Sure, B- seems high, but so far, he seems to be learning the complex offense o.k. (save for tha last practice game). Here's a hope that he won't score as many TDs as Cutler, but throws fewer INTs with a lot of dinks and dunks. Also he has a lot better weapons around him than when he was with Bears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason in LA View Post
As for the O Line, they jump from a C+ to a A-? They have the same group from last year. I'll give you that a couple of the younger lineman will be better, but that's a big jump. I'd say you really undervalued last year's line. That was a real bright spot for the team. I'd give them a much higher grade than a C+. And this year it's tough to grade them out because those linemen were picked to play in Shanny's system. Will they be as good in a new system? Hopefully, but we won't know. And one reason the sack total was low was because Cutler could get out of the pocket. Will who ever they roll out there be able to do that?
The grade is based on purely at the start of the season. neither Clady or Harris had a single start in NFL. We didn't think Clady would be this good this fast. Also the center position was a hugh question mark with Nalen's injury.

Last edited by boppool; 08-08-2009 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boppool View Post
My grade is not based on Orton's talent level. Sure, B- seems high, but so far, he seems to be learning the complex offense o.k. (save for tha last practice game). Here's a hope that he won't score as many TDs as Cutler, but throws fewer INTs with a lot of dinks and dunks. Also he has a lot better weapons around him than when he was with Bears.



The grade is based on purely at the start of the season. neither Clady or Harris had a single start in NFL. We didn't think Clady would be this good this fast. Also the center position was a hugh question mark with Nalen's injury.
No way can Orton/Simms realistically be graded higher than a "C".... and that's probably overrating them.
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:31 PM   #10
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When last year's OL that had one of the best seasons in NFL history got a C+, lulz were had.
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:38 PM   #11
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When last year's OL that had one of the best seasons in NFL history got a C+, lulz were had.
Let me restate that again. C+ was graded at the beginning of the season not at the end.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:38 PM   #12
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Yeah............starters are one part of the puzzle.....what about coaching.....??....Nolan is the real deal.........Slowik was a bad dream.........I just got back from a business trip to Boston.........everyone I asked said Josh the Kid is for real......so.......I'm saying that our defensive coaching went from a D to a B minus...Nolan was a good linebackers coach when he was with us before.......the strenght of our D has always been the backers......and the choice of Ayers as our second pick speaks vloumes.....Nolan will have a very good D within two years.......
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boppool View Post
My grade is not based on Orton's talent level. Sure, B- seems high, but so far, he seems to be learning the complex offense o.k. (save for tha last practice game). Here's a hope that he won't score as many TDs as Cutler, but throws fewer INTs with a lot of dinks and dunks. Also he has a lot better weapons around him than when he was with Bears.



The grade is based on purely at the start of the season. neither Clady or Harris had a single start in NFL. We didn't think Clady would be this good this fast. Also the center position was a hugh question mark with Nalen's injury.
Oh, I see, this is like a college football preseason poll, which is pretty much useless.

And it appears you grade on the QB position is based on what you hope it will be, not what it actually is.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:02 PM   #14
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with the D-line being bigger and with a real D-line coach and D-coordinater they can't be worse................can they
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boppool View Post
It's been a long and interesting off-season. I remember thinking we had legit shot at contending for the title around this time last year...

Fast forward to 2009, Shanny is no longer roaming the sideline, the up-and-coming franchise qb gone and brand new defensive scheme...

I decided to compare last years starting line-up for the opening day vs. this yearís (projected).

QB
2008: J. Cutler/P. Ramsey : A-
He was what you call a true franchise qb. Young, athletic and competitive, he could more than make up his shortcomings with pure athleticism. A future pro-bowler.
2009: Kyle Orton/C. Simms: B-
Orton had his ups and downs in his time in Chi-town. His lack of arm strength can be compensated if he can adjust to qb-friendly system of McDaniels, a Hoodie disciple.

RB
2008: Selvin Young/Andre Hall/Michael Pittman/Cecil Sapp: B
This was an overachieving bunch. They took full advantage of the blocking-scheme and each contributed despite injuries, but lack of continuity was an issue.
2009: Buckhalter/Hillis/Moreno/Jordan: A-
This group is more athletic, can all catch the ball out of backfield and Moreno may be the highest-rated RB drafted by the team. Hillis has shown he can be the workhorse, if called upon.

WR
2008: B. Marshall/D. Jackson/B. Stokley/E. Royal : B-
Marshall is destined for the stardom, Jackson and Stokley donít exactly strike fear on opposing teams and Royal was going to be a return specialist.
2009: B. Marshall/E. Royal/J. Gaffney/B. Stokley/K. McKinley: A
We may have two pro-bowlers, Marshall has to prove he can demand big money. Royal can be a star and McKinley can be a starter in 2 or 3 years.

TE
2008: D. Graham/T. Sheffler/N. Jackson: A-
2009: D. Graham/T. Sheffler/R. Quinn: A-
They are essentially same group, except I have high hopes for Quinn.

OL
2008: R. Clady/B. Hamilton/T. Nalen/C. Kuper/R. Harris: C+
Nalen was an injury-prone. Both Harris and Clady were essentially rookies.
2009: R. Clady/B. Hamilton/C. Wiegmann/C. Kuper/R. Harris: A
After a pro-bowl campaign by Wiegmann and Clady(snubbed), this is the strongest OL Broncs fielded in years. Harris can only get better.

DL
2008: J. Engleberger/E. Dumervil/D. Robertson/M. Thomas: D-
An uninspiring bunch, at least there were some hopes Robertson was going to resurrect his career in Den.
2009: R. Fields/M. Thomas/K. Peterson/C. Baker/C. Powell: D
Not much better than last yearís squad on paper, but they canít possibly get worse, can they?

LB
2008: D. Williams/B. Bailey/N. Koutouvides/N. Webster: C
Coaching staff put all their chips in new signees Bailey and Koutou.. whatís his name, it cost them dearly later in the season.
2009: D. Williams/A. Davis/T. Crowder/E. Dumervil/R. Ayers: B
D.J. will play inside where he can be more effective (over 100 tks in 2007), Davis is 3-4 ILB, Crowder has so far shown that he can contribute and Ayers can be a star.

DB
2008: C. Bailey/D. Bly/H. Abdullah/M. McCree/M. Manuel: C
Ouch, this may be the worst secondary ever by the end of season. At least Champ and Dre were THOUGHT to be one of best tandem in preseason.
2009: C. Bailey/A. Goodman/B. Dawkins/R. Hill/J. Williams/A. Smith: B-
When healthy, Bailey is one of the best in the league. Both Goodman and Hill must show they can be starters. Dawkins provides a much needed leadership and JMFW and Fonzo are the future.

ST
2008: M. Prater/S. Paulescu/M. Leach/E. Royal: C-
With losing Elam, this unit was unproven and a lot of question marks.
2009: M. Prater/B. Kern/L. Paxton/A. Smith: C+
Kern had a solid season in í08. Paxton is more expensive version of Leach. Prater must improve his numbers.

There you have it. Even with a more difficult schedule, I think we can be a borderline Playoff team. IF SD struggles (definitely possible with Turner at helm), we may get an undeserving playoff spot.
1. What is this noodle-arm sentiment towards Orton all about? I played along when we first got him, but after studying some of his videos with the Bears and in practice, Orton's throwing arm is not a concern. Maybe his pocket presence is, but from what I've seen Orton can rip the ball almost as good as Cutler, and his long ball is more accurate. As times goes by, I feel better and better about the Cutler trade.

2. I'm almost positive that come regular season, Ayers will play RDE.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:36 PM   #16
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Guys, the offense is ALWAYS behind the defense at this stage in the game.

Orton isn't going to put up yards anywhere close to Cutlers last year, but he WILL throw fewer INTs, and I think you'll be surprised at the number of touchdowns he gets.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:10 PM   #17
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Only thing i don't agree with is your accessment of our DB's this/last year. I'd give last years DB's a D+ at best and this years a B+/A-.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:23 PM   #18
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Let me restate that again. C+ was graded at the beginning of the season not at the end.
I get that, but I think that it would be more relevant to use what we do know about last year's team...since that's the one that actually took the field.

See, what you are doing is, by intention or not, devaluing a few areas of last year's team and in doing so making this years team look better, on paper. Last year we weren't expected to even sniff the playoffs. Due to unexpected O-line dominance and riding the back of Cutler we almost did it.

Take into account that it would be hard for the O-line to do it all over again (injuries, harder opponents), and the fact that we probably lost 2.333 letter grades in our QB ranking.... I just don't see having a shot.

However... Moreno and Hillis give hope. We can ride a ground game if they perform. I'm not sure if McD is prepared to do that, but it could happen. Ayers could be a beast along with either Dumervil or Moss when it comes to rushing the QB. Wesley Woodyard might make a huge impact. Champ could stay healthy all year. It isn't impossible. But it isn't enough to make me think that Seattle won't be selecting the heir to Matt Hassellbeck in the 2010 draft.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:25 PM   #19
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Only thing i don't agree with is your accessment of our DB's this/last year. I'd give last years DB's a D+ at best and this years a B+/A-.
Champ is a year older
Goodman probably isn't much of an improvement over Bly
Smith is an unproven rookie CB
Our starting SS just broke his hand
FS has improved.

If last year was a D+ please explain to me how you just jumped it up that high.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:27 PM   #20
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Your a little off I'd say:

QB Worse
RB Better (We better be having used the #12 here)
WR Push (What makes us better?...BMarsh might not even play)
TE Push (Nothing new here...oh, Quinn...whippy)
OL Push (Same group...repeating is alot harder to do)
DL Push (We did nothing to improve here...still scrubs)
LB Push (Davis, Ayers and a bunch of converts need to prove themselves first)
ST Push (Why are we better?...Bruton?)

Schedule Worse (Have you seen our schedule?)
Head coach Worse (He'll be good eventually...let's hope)
Overall Coaching Better

I'd say, we're just about where we were last year...talent wise...so it comes down to coaching. I'll buy into us being better coached overall this year...but we still have one hell of a schedule to contend with.

Compared to last year, I'd say our chances are worse now than then.

Let's hope not!
Need to add DBs, which is a definite Better. Agree with most of the rest.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:30 PM   #21
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Champ is a year older
Goodman probably isn't much of an improvement over Bly
Smith is an unproven rookie CB
Our starting SS just broke his hand
FS has improved.

If last year was a D+ please explain to me how you just jumped it up that high.
Still some questions for sure, but we can 1) hope for a full year from Champ and 2) expect Dawkins back (by most accounts within a couple weeks) giving us two NFL quality safeties, as opposed to last year when we had zero.

Whether Goodman is an improvement on Bly (who I honestly thought stepped up pretty well in Champ's absence on a terrible defense) remains to be seen, but the staff obviously thought he was an upgrade and he has shown some flashes in camp.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:07 PM   #22
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The only thing i disagree with is DBs. Goodman and Hill dont need to prove they can start...they've already been successful starters.
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:22 PM   #23
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DB
2008: C. Bailey/D. Bly/H. Abdullah/M. McCree/M. Manuel: C
Ouch, this may be the worst secondary ever by the end of season. At least Champ and Dre were THOUGHT to be one of best tandem in preseason.
2009: C. Bailey/A. Goodman/B. Dawkins/R. Hill/J. Williams/A. Smith: B-
When healthy, Bailey is one of the best in the league. Both Goodman and Hill must show they can be starters. Dawkins provides a much needed leadership and JMFW and Fonzo are the future.
Our safety play last year was PATHETIC... Champ was injured most of the year, Abdullah was CUT, and Bly was meh.

I'd give last season a D+ (though since you said opening day I'd probably give it a C-)

This season I'd give a B+ and maybe even an A-... it's a night and day difference.

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Old 08-08-2009, 07:57 PM   #24
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If McDaniels can make Matt Cassell, who didn't even start a college game, much less an NFL game until last season, look good, then I don't think a stretch Orton can perform well too. Orton is not nearly as bad as some want to believe and Cutler wasn't as good as they seem to think either.

The RB situation will be better and I'm hoping we might see more 2 back sets where say Moreno and Hillis are in there together since both are also good receiving threats, so gives the defense more to worry about, which can leave something else available. Defenses can't account for everything all the time.

The biggest question will be the defense and how improved it will be. Having Nolan running it gives me confidence that the unit will be better. Do they have all the pieces to be say a top 10 defense? No, at least without really overachieving. When you start with very little as they did this season, too hard to revamp the whole unit in one offseason.
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:02 PM   #25
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McD had 4 offseasons to work with Cassel and develop him into what he was last year.

4 offseasons.

Even then, he was fighting for a roster spot with Gutierrez last year until the very end.

It's unfair to expect Orton to achieve the same affluence in this offense in 6 months. It's not happening. Maybe if he'd had more time, but it just isn't possible. We'll see what Orton can do, and it might be good, but I wouldn't blame either him or McD if he fails to live up to some people's expectations.
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