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Old 01-15-2010, 05:11 PM   #1
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Default Analysis: McDaniels faces familiar decision: youth or veterans

Analysis: McDaniels faces familiar decision: youth or veterans
By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post
Posted: 01/15/2010 01:00:00 AM MST


Talk to the old salts around the league about free agency and the draft, and the term "muddy the waters" will often come up.

Basically, that's the choice of signing a veteran player in free agency for a specific role rather than developing and playing a younger player in the same spot.

Because a veteran player takes practice snaps through the week and playing time on game day from a younger guy, the thought is it may take longer to develop a team's draft picks or second- and third-year players if there isn't a concerted effort to play them.

Hence you "muddy" the developmental waters with older players who may not be more talented or in the team's long-term plans, but they simply make fewer mistakes in the short term.

In his time with the Broncos, Mike Shanahan often muddied the waters when it came to young players. Shanahan, who took plenty of criticism for his work in the draft, also let quality young players go at times after giving them little chance to prove themselves because he preferred to work with more experienced players who didn't have the growing pains.

Domenik Hixon, who has made a nice career for himself since the Broncos tossed him aside, will always be a rather tidy example of this.

But it is exactly the spot the Broncos find themselves in right now. They have some young players, like guard Seth Olsen, safety Darcel McBath, outside linebacker Robert Ayers, defensive lineman Chris Baker and perhaps even wide receiver Kenny McKinley when he recovers from his knee surgery, who are in that all-important second offseason with the team.

They are also in position to at least compete for larger roles.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has shown himself to be a coach who prefers age and experience at times. Like most coaches, he detests mistakes, and veteran players will always make fewer of them.

McDaniels surrendered a draft pick for veteran defensive linemen Le Kevin Smith in training camp after looking at his guys. McDaniels signed cornerback Ty Law during the season because he preferred Law coming in off the street over his second-round pick Alphonso Smith or rookie Tony Carter in the slot.

McDaniels continually used LaMont Jordan as a third running back over a player such as second-year back Peyton Hillis, and in team meetings often lauded Jordan for making the right choices in the running game despite the fact Jordan carried the ball just five total times in the Broncos' last 11 games.

But after another 8-8 finish, the organization's fourth consecutive year on the outside looking in at the playoff bracket, the Broncos are now in a position to choose their direction.

They can be a team committed to the draft and then working with and playing those younger players. Or they can be a team that plays the draft picks who excel immediately and fills in the rest with an ever-changing cast of veteran free agents.

Like their running game this season, the Broncos were kind of stuck in the middle in 2009. They were kind of committed to young players and kind of reliant on late veteran additions such as Law, Le Kevin Smith, Vonnie Holliday and Russ Hochstein.

Former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who won at least 12 games in each of his last six seasons on the sideline and won at least 10 games in 10 seasons overall, always expressed the need and desire to play young players in the era of free agency.

And the Colts have rarely participated in the whirlwind of huge contracts to players they didn't draft.

"We're not afraid to play young guys," Dungy always said.

And for Dungy and the Colts, that meant a commitment to those young guys in practice, in games. They consistently made good choices in April and pushed them along to be ready to play in September.

In the uncertain labor landscape of the league, in which teams can't say for sure whether a salary cap will exist again down the road or what it will look like if it does, a team committed to its own players, its own draft picks, will more easily be able to adjust to any future labor deal.

McDaniels has already talked about the importance of this April's draft for his program. And as he prepares to enter the second year on his four-year deal, he'll be facing the choice of moving forward with youth, or, in the words of several personnel executives, "muddying the waters" and then simply trying to see what he can catch.

Jeff Legwold: 303-954-2359 or jlegwold@denverpost.com



Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/premium/br...#ixzz0cjHqpDB7
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:50 PM   #2
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Usually Legwold's articles are significantly better than this... can't win em all I suppose
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:52 PM   #3
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i thought this was an interesting angle.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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I think the article is spot-on in some regards. We certainly had problems developing talent over the past decade, and our FA track record was abysmal.

However, during Shanny's heyday... there was definitely a mix of young and old players, even though we were an older team. Guys like TD, Mobley, Pryce and others played big roles.

Patriots were the same way. They developed players but weren't afraid to stick a guy like Harrison or Seau out there, and did so with success.

To me, you've absolutely got to have a mix of both. You've got to be effective in FA AND in the draft.

I thought McD played the FA field very well last season. I expect a repeat, provided the rules are such that we can afford to sign guys. (i.e. labor deal.)
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:38 PM   #5
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Generally, signing big money free agents is a bad idea. How many of them actually perform well enough to justify the huge money you have to throw at them to get them to sign?

If you want superstars on your team, learn to draft well.

FA is great for filling in needs if you know what you're doing though. You should be able to find decent players for relatively affordable pay that can come in and improve the team and provide good depth. We did a very nice job of this last year, guys like Goodman, Hill, Davis, Holliday and Gaffney were all nice pickups. Hopefully we can find some similar type of deals this year, preferably on the lines.

I'm confident Moreno is going to start looking like a 1st round back pretty soon, and I think Ayers is going to be a good OLB by the time all is said and done.

Smith is a worry, because he essentially showed nothing last season. There's still time for him, but he'd want to make big leaps this offseason.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popps View Post
I think the article is spot-on in some regards. We certainly had problems developing talent over the past decade, and our FA track record was abysmal.

However, during Shanny's heyday... there was definitely a mix of young and old players, even though we were an older team. Guys like TD, Mobley, Pryce and others played big roles.

Patriots were the same way. They developed players but weren't afraid to stick a guy like Harrison or Seau out there, and did so with success.

To me, you've absolutely got to have a mix of both. You've got to be effective in FA AND in the draft.

I thought McD played the FA field very well last season. I expect a repeat, provided the rules are such that we can afford to sign guys. (i.e. labor deal.)
Perhaps it really comes down to...who's behind center. The heydays were Elway....since then, mediocracy.

Let's see McDaniels do it with Orton. I'd love to see it. It won't happen.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McSchism View Post
FA is great for filling in needs if you know what you're doing though. You should be able to find decent players for relatively affordable pay that can come in and improve the team and provide good depth. We did a very nice job of this last year, guys like Goodman, Hill, Davis, Holliday and Gaffney were all nice pickups. Hopefully we can find some similar type of deals this year, preferably on the lines.

I'm confident Moreno is going to start looking like a 1st round back pretty soon, and I think Ayers is going to be a good OLB by the time all is said and done.

Smith is a worry, because he essentially showed nothing last season. There's still time for him, but he'd want to make big leaps this offseason.
Wow. It's amazing how ignorant you are.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:15 PM   #8
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Wow. It's amazing how ignorant you are.
jesus mock, youre post actually get WORSE by the day. you literally cant argue with anything he said, so you just call the first person whos name you can read without squinting too hard ignorant.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McSchism
FA is great for filling in needs if you know what you're doing though. You should be able to find decent players for relatively affordable pay that can come in and improve the team and provide good depth. We did a very nice job of this last year, guys like Goodman, Hill, Davis, Holliday and Gaffney were all nice pickups. Hopefully we can find some similar type of deals this year, preferably on the lines.

I'm confident Moreno is going to start looking like a 1st round back pretty soon, and I think Ayers is going to be a good OLB by the time all is said and done.

Smith is a worry, because he essentially showed nothing last season. There's still time for him, but he'd want to make big leaps this offseason.

Wow. It's amazing how ignorant you are.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:28 PM   #10
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Ayers and Smith and Moreno are going to become p;ayers, how about Quinn?

Or the crap we drafted day 2?

Your full of crap like our coach.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:42 PM   #11
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If the choice comes down to one or the other: youth. This team isn't that close. It's unfair to Champ and Dawk, but we just aren't near championship talent.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:09 PM   #12
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If the choice comes down to one or the other: youth. This team isn't that close. It's unfair to Champ and Dawk, but we just aren't near championship talent.
Nevermind that.

It's incredible how stupid some fans are.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Perhaps it really comes down to...who's behind center. The heydays were Elway....since then, mediocracy.
.
Maybe, but Elway still needed a full slate of weapons around him and a defense to win a championship.

Certainly, if you have the luxury of a true franchise QB, it's an easier journey.

But, there's more than one path to a SB. Some HOF QBs have won SBs, some great ones... and just some good ones. And, even a couple that were just good for a year or two.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
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If the choice comes down to one or the other: youth. This team isn't that close. It's unfair to Champ and Dawk, but we just aren't near championship talent.
spot on. a rebuild of the middle of the oline is around a year and a half but if you need to get a QB to learn a new system we are talking 4 years to learn it fully to take a d and dissect it .
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:05 PM   #15
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I need explanations from the unsatisfied crew about McD's. I do think some need a realistic view of the current state of the Broncos. Let's look at this debate clearly

1. When Bowlen interviewed McD's was impressed with his plan so Pat hired him. Do we as fans know what his plan was he explained in that meeting where we there no.

2. Pat wants a SB as the only goal as it should be but, at the same time if he felt we were close to that I doubt Shanny would be in Washington today he felt change cause team was a mess that needed new ideas.

3. Then the Cutler thing Bowlen was the one that got fed up so trade was made. So yeah Bowlen is going to fire his new HC in 1 or 2 years when we downgraded a team even more. I think Bowlen will give him longer then haters think he knows this team isn't close it needs rebuilding.

4. If BM is traded even more work is needed.

For these reasons I hope we go the youth route more because we have tons of work to do. I'm cool adding aging vets as fill ins because we have so much more to do.
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:12 PM   #16
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And the gibberish has gotten him nearly 75,000 posts. What a waste of band space.....
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:23 PM   #17
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I think McSchism hit it right on the head. If you want superstars on your team then draft them (i.e. Clady, Dumervil, and Brandon Marshall). We have to do a better job of drafting players. We have struggled with this for about 10 years now of not drafting well and picking up to many miss big FA's (mostly washed up or one year wonders) and not investing in youth and draft picks. Now I do think Ayers is a better 3-4 DE than linebacker and Moreno will be better next year, but Alphoso Smith and Richard Quinn C'mon man!!
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by NFLBRONCO View Post
I need explanations from the unsatisfied crew about McD's. I do think some need a realistic view of the current state of the Broncos. Let's look at this debate clearly

1. When Bowlen interviewed McD's was impressed with his plan so Pat hired him. Do we as fans know what his plan was he explained in that meeting where we there no.

2. Pat wants a SB as the only goal as it should be but, at the same time if he felt we were close to that I doubt Shanny would be in Washington today he felt change cause team was a mess that needed new ideas.

3. Then the Cutler thing Bowlen was the one that got fed up so trade was made. So yeah Bowlen is going to fire his new HC in 1 or 2 years when we downgraded a team even more. I think Bowlen will give him longer then haters think he knows this team isn't close it needs rebuilding.

4. If BM is traded even more work is needed.

For these reasons I hope we go the youth route more because we have tons of work to do. I'm cool adding aging vets as fill ins because we have so much more to do.
Jesus Christ your a moron.
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:27 PM   #19
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Jesus Christ your a moron.
Classic Mock nothing to offer as usual

Last edited by NFLBRONCO; 01-15-2010 at 11:32 PM..
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:35 PM   #20
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. When Bowlen interviewed McD's was impressed with his plan so Pat hired him. Do we as fans know what his plan was he explained in that meeting where we there no.
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:41 PM   #21
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I doubt the plan was 1 or 2 yr fix with NFL's worst D. Even though it vastly improved most of the year its still miles away.

Now the O is downgraded so its farther away as well big deal build from here.

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Old 01-16-2010, 09:34 AM   #22
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Usually Legwold's articles are significantly better than this... can't win em all I suppose
It was an interesting article. Raises some interestiing points.

Weren't you all excited about Bart Scott in FA? This article raises the question of does the team pursue the big money FA's or trust their drafting? Do they roll the dice on the younger guys, commit to them, or do they bring in vets?
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:01 AM   #23
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To have long term success, you have to build your team through the draft which means going young.

You also have to keep your "core" players.

Free agency should really just be used to fill a hole, weaken a foe, or push you to the next level.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:47 AM   #24
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He's already decided, it'll be veterans. Kids Hillis, Scheffler, Marshall, Cutler all gone ... you can't just replace that pool youthful talent overnight.

Not to mention JMFW out, Ty Law in. That's all you need to know.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:55 AM   #25
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Not to mention JMFW out, Ty Law in. That's all you need to know.
On this move alone ... why shouldn't we think he's a reactionary dumass?
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