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Old 09-12-2009, 10:22 AM   #1
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Default Mike Rice - Broncos entering Unknown

A little piece of level headed puffery that got me excited:

http://blog.denverbroncos.com/mrice/...#comment-63329

Into The Great Unknown
September 12th, 2009 - 10:29am by mike_rice


It is time to stop talking and start playing. Thank goodness.

The Broncos open the 2009 regular season Sunday in Cincinnati. We will get an idea of where the Broncos stand after an off-season of change.

Deep down, I believe the Broncos will be better than many people, especially national ďexperts,Ē think they will. I know I hope they will be but ultimately, I donít know.


ďI think we have a better idea than most people outside of this building of what we think weíre going to put out there,Ē Head Coach Josh McDaniels said on Friday. ďBut thereís always a little but of uncertainty before opening day. You want to get out there, get the butterflies out of the way and start playing football and start trying to execute the way you need to.Ē

At this point, I simply cannot buy into the notion that the Broncos will only win four or five games. Iíve spoken with some people who find those numbers to be high. Please. Come let us reason together. Is it possible the Broncos could struggle that much? Of course itís possible. Barring a rash of injuries, it is highly unlikely, in my opinion, given the talent on this team.

Disagree? Letís take a look at some of the evidence, first on offense.

Kyle Orton has been a reliable, if not spectacular, starting quarterback in a conservative offensive system in Chicago. At Purdue, he showed he could be the trigger man for a high-powered offense. Granted, itís not completely an apples-to-apples comparison but it does show that he has been able to throw the ball effectively in the past.

Orton will be operating behind an offensive line that has already shown itself to be really, really good. Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris are terrific young tackles who should only get better. Chris Kuper and Ben Hamilton are really good guards. And center Casey Wiegmann is the iron man in the middle who seemingly gets better with age.

Tight end? Daniel Graham is another o-lineman in the run game and has much more to give as a receiver. Tony Scheffler is a big-time target and the Broncos are well aware of his ability.

At running back, there is a great mix of proven veterans and young talent with guys like Correll Buckhalter and Lamont Jordan, Peyton Hillis and Knowshon Moreno. While the backs are different from past years, the line is back. I have no doubt the Broncos will be able to run the ball well.

On defense, there are questions to be sure. But the overriding question I keep asking myself is, ďCan the Broncos defense struggle any more than it has the past few years?Ē This is a unit that has surrendered over 400 points in each of the last two seasons.

With all of the changes, including a new defensive coordinator with a new scheme, I find it impossible to believe the Broncos wonít at least be just a little better on defense. The have upgraded their talent, they seem to be committed to a more attacking style and they seem to be adapting to the 3-4.

In his 11 years as an NFL defensive coordinator, Mike Nolanís units have forced an average of 32 turnovers per season. That tells me he has a philosophy and a system that has, more often that not, produced results on the field.

While Iím on the topic of the coaching staff, let me add that there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Josh McDaniels will be a great NFL head coach. There are times in all of our lives when we get the opportunity to do something at a higher level for the first time. He is ready for this and he will be successful.

I know on the verge of the first game, the schedule looks tough. Heck, I think the opener in Cincinnati is hardly a gimme win. But letís not forget that the Arizona Cardinals went to the Super Bowl last year. All Iím saying is that one never knows what will happen during the course of a season.

On the other end of the spectrum, I canít sit here in mid-September and honestly say I believe the Broncos will win 11 or 12 games. I definitely think it is possible. But there are too many unanswered questions right now and there have simply been more changes than there have been opportunities for this team to how good it can be.

So what do I expect out of the Broncosí 2009 season?

1 Ė I expect the Broncos will continue to improve throughout the season. I believe, again barring key injuries, the Broncos will be better at the end of the season than they are at the beginning. Everything is new right now. As these players get used to the new systems at regular season game speed, I think theyíll show steady improvement.

2 Ė I expect to have fun following them. I donít mind it at all when uncertainty is the primary feeling I have about a team. I donít mind not having any kind of true feel for what I think will happen Sunday against the Bengals. Iím embracing the unknown.

3 Ė I expect it to be an interesting season. I canít see this team having a miserable year. And Iím not at all ruling out the possibility of a great year. Iím sure it will be an interesting year as this team establishes an identity and goes out each week to try to win a game.

ďI think our entire team, all our staff, is excited for Sunday,Ē McDaniels said on Friday.

So am I. Let the games begin.

What are your expectations for the season? Iíd love to get your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,
Mike
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
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Great write up! Enjoyable read for sure!

While I don't see a McDaniels coached team getting worse throughout the season, the one thing that I do see is a brutal schedule that really is going to stymie a lot of the signs that the team is really improving throughout the season. I do believe the pride of this team will be our defense which should have an amazing season...I'm really excited for a lot of these guys to have break out seasons now that they appear to be in a system where they can 1) trust one another and in the system; 2) have some of the best veteran leadership in the game in Dawkins, Bailey, Haggan, and Doom; 3) understand that their coach is offensively minded so eventual good things will happen with that side of the ball.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:47 AM   #3
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I agree with him completely. We have 9 returning starters on offense where the O-line should be that much better from having a year together under their belts. We upgraded at RB across the board with Hillis returning, Buckhalter added (who has been far more successful in this league than the likes of Selvin Young and Andre Hall), and added the consensus top RB in the draft. Yes, we downgraded at QB, but at least Orton has shown that he can win in this league.

And let's be honest, after the Broncos first three games last year, we averaged LESS than 20 points a game for the remainder of the year. That tells me right now that last years offense was really less than average. McDaniels has shown that he can run a good offense and we have weapons in Marshall, Royal, Gaffney, Scheffler and Moreno that seem well suited to his offense.

On defense, I would argue that we were the worst defense in the NFL last year. We could get worse, but I honestly don't see that happening. I bet we end up in the middle of the pack (15th - 20th), which is a huge improvement over last year. Nolan has shown that he is a good defensive coordinator. And honestly, how can we not get more turnovers than last year where we had like what, 10??

So all in all, our offense I think should not have any fallback and I honestly think we will average more points per game this year. Our defense should in all likely hood be better and force more turnovers. Given the difficultly of the schedule, I would say that we are headed for a 7 - 9 win season, which for all the turnover would be a really good start for McD. Next year we are definitely in the playoffs. Bank it!!
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:21 AM   #4
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i still dont get the 'downgrade' at qb. orton has a winning percentage FAR superior to cutler. cutler hasnt done anything except put up decent numbers in 3 games last year with several current and future pro bowlers around him on an offense whose first three options were pass, pass, pass
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:21 AM   #5
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Watching the Steelers Titans game on Thursday showed me how far the team has to go to be elite. Having said that, I'm very optimistic for the year and excited to see what we put on the field.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
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Watching the Steelers Titans game on Thursday showed me how far the team has to go to be elite. Having said that, I'm very optimistic for the year and excited to see what we put on the field.
It also showed how much an all-pro safety can help a team. I'm curious to see how NE does without Harrison....I'm guessing that NE is not as good as they think, because Rodney was the glue that held that defense together.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:59 PM   #7
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I believe, again barring key injuries, the Broncos will be better at the end of the season than they are at the beginning.
Improve as the season goes by?

What a concept!
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:00 PM   #8
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i still dont get the 'downgrade' at qb. orton has a winning percentage FAR superior to cutler. cutler hasnt done anything except put up decent numbers in 3 games last year with several current and future pro bowlers around him on an offense whose first three options were pass, pass, pass
What color is the sky in your world?
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by KS Bronco View Post
i still dont get the 'downgrade' at qb. orton has a winning percentage FAR superior to cutler. cutler hasnt done anything except put up decent numbers in 3 games last year with several current and future pro bowlers around him on an offense whose first three options were pass, pass, pass
This line of thought has been debunked numerous times.
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Harvitz81 View Post
I agree with him completely. We have 9 returning starters on offense where the O-line should be that much better from having a year together under their belts. We upgraded at RB across the board with Hillis returning, Buckhalter added (who has been far more successful in this league than the likes of Selvin Young and Andre Hall), and added the consensus top RB in the draft. Yes, we downgraded at QB, but at least Orton has shown that he can win in this league.

And let's be honest, after the Broncos first three games last year, we averaged LESS than 20 points a game for the remainder of the year. That tells me right now that last years offense was really less than average. McDaniels has shown that he can run a good offense and we have weapons in Marshall, Royal, Gaffney, Scheffler and Moreno that seem well suited to his offense.

On defense, I would argue that we were the worst defense in the NFL last year. We could get worse, but I honestly don't see that happening. I bet we end up in the middle of the pack (15th - 20th), which is a huge improvement over last year. Nolan has shown that he is a good defensive coordinator. And honestly, how can we not get more turnovers than last year where we had like what, 10??

So all in all, our offense I think should not have any fallback and I honestly think we will average more points per game this year. Our defense should in all likely hood be better and force more turnovers. Given the difficultly of the schedule, I would say that we are headed for a 7 - 9 win season, which for all the turnover would be a really good start for McD. Next year we are definitely in the playoffs. Bank it!!
Denver averaged 25 pts a game when Hillis saw time at RB. Also, to go along with that, the defense gave up around 23 points a game.
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:06 PM   #11
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i still dont get the 'downgrade' at qb. orton has a winning percentage FAR superior to cutler. cutler hasnt done anything except put up decent numbers in 3 games last year with several current and future pro bowlers around him on an offense whose first three options were pass, pass, pass
pinning W/L on a QB is retarded. A QB can go out and throw for 500 yards 6 TDs with zero picks and still lose the game, while another QB can throw for 120 yards 1 TD and 3 picks and get the win. Offense, defense, and special teams. There are what 52 plus guys on a football team and ONE player gets the W or L. Keep on believing that bull**** if you want.
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:12 PM   #12
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i still dont get the 'downgrade' at qb. orton has a winning percentage FAR superior to cutler. cutler hasnt done anything except put up decent numbers in 3 games last year with several current and future pro bowlers around him on an offense whose first three options were pass, pass, pass
11 of his 21 wins came from 2006 where his offense avg 16.2 ppg
Det went 0-16 last year and averaged more than Chi did in '06
I think Tom B can start and avg 16.2 ppg
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:22 PM   #13
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Denver averaged 25 pts a game when Hillis saw time at RB. Also, to go along with that, the defense gave up around 23 points a game.
So your saying that getting rid of Cutler and keeping Hillis was a good move. Wow, you finally agree with McD. Way to finally see the light Lex....
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:24 PM   #14
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So your saying that getting rid of Cutler and keeping Hillis was a good move. Wow, you finally agree with McD. Way to finally see the light Lex....
Are you actually asking a question? Because it kind of seem like you were really having a conversation with yourself.
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:25 PM   #15
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Improve as the season goes by?

What a concept!
What happened to you? Seriously. You used to be upbeat, maybe not positive about the way the team was going, but at least pleasant about things. You seem to becoming more and more cynical and spiteful by the post.
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:07 PM   #16
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i still dont get the 'downgrade' at qb. orton has a winning percentage FAR superior to cutler. cutler hasnt done anything except put up decent numbers in 3 games last year with several current and future pro bowlers around him on an offense whose first three options were pass, pass, pass
lol
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:29 PM   #17
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What happened to you? Seriously. You used to be upbeat, maybe not positive about the way the team was going, but at least pleasant about things. You seem to becoming more and more cynical and spiteful by the post.
he took a swig of So Cal's beer at training camp and contracted his case of negativeitis.
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:36 PM   #18
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i still dont get the 'downgrade' at qb. orton has a winning percentage FAR superior to cutler. cutler hasnt done anything except put up decent numbers in 3 games last year with several current and future pro bowlers around him on an offense whose first three options were pass, pass, pass
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:54 PM   #19
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pinning W/L on a QB is retarded. A QB can go out and throw for 500 yards 6 TDs with zero picks and still lose the game, while another QB can throw for 120 yards 1 TD and 3 picks and get the win. Offense, defense, and special teams. There are what 52 plus guys on a football team and ONE player gets the W or L. Keep on believing that bull**** if you want.
so why dont we trade him to try to improve those 52 other players. oh wair, thats what we f'ing did
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:58 PM   #20
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so why dont we trade him to try to improve those 52 other players. oh wair, thats what we f'ing did
As of right now only Orton and Cutler are starting out of that trade. Man we really rapped their ass on that ****ing deal.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:08 PM   #21
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As of right now only Orton and Cutler are starting out of that trade. Man we really rapped their ass on that ****ing deal.
so u dont believe in player development. i see u hold the shanahan philosophy of a quick fix, ie dre bly, dale carter, gardner, marquand manuel, nikokikovikusususus... should i keep going? yes, i do have faith in the 'patriot' way' seemed to work for them, u disagree?
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:09 PM   #22
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As of right now only Orton and Cutler are starting out of that trade. Man we really rapped their ass on that ****ing deal.
May have! Thing is we don't know yet.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:27 PM   #23
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May have! Thing is we don't know yet.
That is why I said as of now. Things can play out in our favor in the end but in week one the Bears gained Culter at the price of Orton. Not a bad trade for them.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:38 PM   #24
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That is why I said as of now. Things can play out in our favor in the end but in week one the Bears gained Culter at the price of Orton. Not a bad trade for them.
I don't follow your logic what about the two 1sts and the third, don;t they count yet.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:44 PM   #25
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I don't follow your logic what about the two 1sts and the third, don;t they count yet.
except draft picks are so over-rated it's ridiculous. chicago got a franchise QB, the absolute hardest position to ever fill in the history of the NFL for some measouly overpriced draft picks and a journeymen Qb.
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