Changing My Tune: Broncos Will Be a Success This Year
by Gus Jarvis
Sep 04, 2008 | 794 views | 14 14 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPORTS WATCH

After bashing the then poor Broncos at least twice this past year in this column, I have to say, as Denver goes into Monday night’s season opener against da Raiders, that I am excited and my perception of the team has improved. I don’t know if it is just the love of the Broncos in me, the ghost of John Elway swirling in my head, pure sports genius, or pure ignorance, but I think they are playoff contenders.

To start off, even though Denver went 2-2 in some real lack-luster preseason action, I thought they looked pretty good. When they had their starting squad on the field, they had a certain efficiency about them that I really see as promising. The running game wasn’t bad. Third-down conversions weren’t too bad. The defensive line got some pressure on the QBs (thanks to excellent coverage by the secondary).

No, the Broncos didn’t look too bad from what I could gather from the preseason. And what about our lead man Jay Cutler? He had an impressive preseason as well, completing close to 70 percent of his passes and coming up with no interceptions and no sacks.

It’s great that he is physically in better shape now that he has his diabetes under control. I think he’s gained something like 30 pounds since last year. He also has snap back in his throw. I remember his first year he could really gun the ball, but then it tapered off a bit. His velocity is back and that is something that is beginning to be lost in a lot of NFL quarterbacks these days. Has anyone noticed?

Cutler may be back physically, but is he mentally ready to lead this team, which is sorely in need of a Lombardi Trophy, into the postseason? Cutler seems to think so. He is taking a more proactive leadership role than he has in the past. Finally.

“Physically I was fine, but mentally I was not there yet,” Cutler told The Denver Post. “I was still learning the offense and still learning the defense and I was trying to put it all together. This year, I am a little more comfortable. We obviously have a lot of new guys that we have to get used to, but I feel good.”

Well, you better. Suddenly I have all the confidence in the world with Cutler. I think he is a class-act guy who will make something positive of himself with the Broncos – as long as he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of boneheads Jake Plummer or Brian Griese.

The weakest part of the Broncos team right now is their receiving squad and, for once, my naysayer roommate would agree with me. Just who will be able to handle the third-and-seven fireball from Cutler when the game is on the line late into the fourth quarter? Who can do it? Let us not forget that we are without easy-Ed McCaffrey forever.

Most say, as does head coach Mike Shanahan, Brandon Marshall is their go-to guy. And why not, he is a specimen of great proportions on the field. They boy really can play when he wants to. It’s off the field where he tends to screw things up. And yes, a thank you goes out to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for finding a way to reduce Marshall’s suspension from three games down to one for violating the league’s DUI policy. One game – the first game – would be bad enough without him but three could be season ending for the Broncos.

Marshall, alongside wide receiver Brandon Stokley (if he can stay healthy) and tight end Tony Scheffler, could be an effective receiving crew. I really like Scheffler. He seems to be a guy that can take a licking over the middle and still catch the ball for that tough first down or, hell, even a few touchdowns.

On the defense, I am all too happy that Shanahan decided to pull the plug on cornerback Domonique Foxworth who had to fill in when Champ Bailey or Dre Bly wasn’t on the field. Unfortunately for Foxworth, he just couldn’t contain. How many times had we seen the back lettering of his jersey while he was chasing down a receiver that had caught a long pass that he had blown coverage on? Way too many times. Happy trails in Atlanta.

The defense behind linebacker D.J. Williams and Bailey seems to have the speed to keep things contained on the outside. My only fear is that Denver’s defense could get picked apart similar to last season if the D-line doesn’t find a way to get the rush. That I don’t know but will soon see on Monday night. We need a rush. It killed Denver last year.

Indeed, Monday night will be a good test for the Broncos at their rival Oakland. The Raiders, under Satan-like Al Davis, should be another sub-par team this year. As will be the K.C. Chiefs who used to be good but all of a sudden suck real bad. The top opponent for the Broncs this year will be the bolts of San Diego.

San Diego looks to be one of the sharpest teams in the AFC and will more than likely be gatekeeper into the playoffs. If Denver can split its two games against San Diego, I see Denver going a whopping 10-6 this season and scraping by to get into the playoffs.

So now I have written two anti-Bronco columns and one pro-Bronco column. Yes, I am a true waffler to put it into political terms. One thing is for sure, I will definitely be right in some way by the end of the season. Or, for that matter, I will always be wrong. Happy week one.
Comments
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NoWay
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September 08, 2008
SuperCharger, Where are your boys now? They, like the colts, looked great on Sunday. Have a fun season with that!!
Gus J.
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September 05, 2008
Well spoken Johnny R. I am having trouble understanding your accent. Do I hear a touch of the East Coast? Or is it downright slurring?

Good conversation. Seems like the broncs should take the chargers in both games now. I am convinced. Thanks for the help.
Hoop
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September 05, 2008
Deep down, SuperCharger, you know the Chargers are worse off then they were the last 2 years. Their window of opportunity is over. Don't lie to yourself. By the way, LT is a whimp for not playing against the Pats last year- why doesn't anybody talk about that. Did he get paid off or what? I can't wait until Cutler knocks River's teeth out this year. Johnny R put it best: Hey Wetts Go Bwoncs, and Go back to Cali you suck!!!
Johnny R
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September 05, 2008
SuperCharger, to borrow a line from the great Patty Roy, it's hard to hear you with our two superbowl rings stuck in our ears. Win a superbowl, better yet, participate in more than one, and we'll listen to you. You couldn't get past the Pats. Seems like the only team that can beat them on a consistent basis is the Broncs. Your window has shut. Merriman will continue to get dinged up as his body deteriorates from wheaing off of the juice. LT is losing a step and is too fragile and too selfish to ever get over the hump. You, Mr. Supercharger, are on the nuts of a mediocre franchise that's best look at a superbowl came when Stan Humphries was under center. Go back to Cali cause you suck.
Super Chargers
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September 05, 2008
NoWay, you're a moron. I had no idea Mike and Mike and myself are the only ones that feel the Broncos are going to be .500 or below this year. Crazy. All I was going off of was the fact that their D was crap last season,being close to last against the run and in points against, and none of their offseason moves makes me think anythings going to change. As for all of the injuries to the Chargers, I'm assuming you're talking about Merriman,(who's playing), and Gates,(who's playing). Even injured, I'd take Merriman over Williams, and Gates over Scheffler. You saying the Broncos are going to split w/ the Chargers solidifies your stupidity, but we'll see how you feel after week 2.
NoWay
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September 05, 2008
Super Chargers are all hype. I also think your prediction of the Broncos only make it to .500 is strait from "Mike and Mike."

Super Charger should stop listening to the radio and come up with own thoughts. Broncs will at least split with the Chargers. Already, the chargers are up the creek with injuries
Super Chargers
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September 05, 2008
You guys are high if you think the Broncos are going to be good this year. The D is awful! They can't stop the run and can't get pressure on the QB. Teams ran all over that crappy D-line last year, and they'll run all over them this year. DJ Williams is the only decent player on that D besides Champ,(who really doesn't play a factor since teams don't have to throw). Prediction - .500 if their EXTREMELY lucky, and Shanahan will be gone next year. Monday night prediction 27-20, Raiders.
Johnny R
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September 05, 2008
Broncos play a mean man eater and beat the Raiders 24-9
Gus J.
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September 05, 2008
Any point score predictions for Monday night's game?

I say 17-3. Broncs keep 'em out of the end zone... In front of the Raider Nation.

Beanzie
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September 05, 2008
What the hell is Charlie Brown talking about? "Put together a real game time coaching." What the hell does that mean anyway? I think Mr. Brown is trying to say that Shanny can't game plan or adjust the game plan on the fly. If that's what Mr. Brown is saying then he is officially retarded. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that Shanny is great, not good, great of making adjustments and game planning. The option on our own two last year against Buffalo, the Superbowl when they changed Rod Smith's route and burned Eugene Robinson for an 80 yard touchdown. Then the dilusional pep rally blast? Go back to Texas or Ohio you flat lander and learn something about football.
Johnny R
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September 05, 2008
I am almost sick of the bash em one week, love them the next Gus. You are right that our pass rush has improved which will be huge. Clady is going to be a great tackle for a long time in this league. One of the best picks by Shanny no doubt. DJ Williams, although he was second in the NFL in tackles last year, is back to his natural position and will be a beast. I am a little weary of Webster in the middle but that seems like it's a bit more natural for him. The offense looks great. Efficient, qucik, and deep. The Broncos have gotten younger and deeper this year instead of trying to throw a band-aid on a gun shot like in years past with signings of Sam Adams, Darrell Gardner, and even Rod Bernstein. Yep Gus, the Broncos are back. If they can stop the run and get to the quarterback they might go all the way. But if they lose in week two you will probably be back here, throwing them under the bus, and talking about your beloved Tennessee Vols and their hideous uniforms.
charlie brown
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September 05, 2008
word up Gus -

I'm also happy to see the optimism. I sort of agree...I think they do look a lot better than I thaught a month ago. And this is the magical 3rd year for Cutler (they say that is typcially the break-out year for most QB's if they are going to have one.) But we need more than just him to have a break-out year to make anything happen. The Donk's may be a play-off contender this year, but it will require the Bronco's coaching to do something they haven't done in a long time - put together a real game time coaching.

I'm just glad to see that our beautiful stadium will get some better use than dilusional pep rally!
Novak
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September 05, 2008
Right on Gusto...

Hopefully DJ can step it up this year and teach our LB's how to tackle and cover over the middle.

Third downs I see Scheffler making quite a few catches and Nate Jackson looks like he will be darn good at blocking...

RN
Hoop
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September 05, 2008
Great article Gus. I'm glad you finally came to your senses! Bonus points for calling Al Davis Satan-like...fits him to a T.

I agree with your point that our D-line rush will be important. I think the D-line will also have to stop the run. Last year our LBs were getting blown out of the water because the D-line couldn't fill a hole to take on the blockers.

Overall the Broncos got better, the Chargers got worse, the Raiders and Chiefs won't be an issue.

May Elway live forever,

hoop