Orange Crush 09/21/2009Posted by sportretort in denver broncos, NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: denver broncos, football, Jay Cutler, Josh mcdaniels, kyle orton, mike nolan, NFL, quarterback, quarterback controversy, Shannon Sharpe
So, anyone who took the under on the Broncos winning 5 games this season want to change their mind?
The Denver Broncos are 2-0 under new head coach Josh McDaniels. The embattled McDaniels had a tumultuous off season, trading the
‘franchise cry baby, er, quarterback’ Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for Kyle Orton and draft picks. McDaniels has also had his best receiver demand a trade and serve an almost 2 week suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. McDaniels has been lambasted in the media for the past few months, excoriated by fans on talk radio and in blogs. Yet, here they are at 2-0.
Flying under the radar during the pre season love fest that has been Bronco Nation is perhaps the biggest move McDaniels made during the off season. Without much fan fare or notice, he hired recently deposed 49er head coach Mike Nolan to be his defensive coordinator. Nolan has 11 years of experience in the NFL as a d-coordinator, and is one of the best defensive minds in the league today. Nolan has quietly gone about the task of reshaping the defense. Gone is the old 4-3 scheme, replaced with the 3-4. With the new scheme there needed to be new players. On the current active roster there are 14 players on the defensive side of the ball who are in their first season with the Broncos. Last season the Broncos were among the worst defenses around. They allowed 448 points, third most in the league. They had only 13 take aways all of last season. In the first 2 games this season, the Broncos have allowed a total of 13 points to the opposition. That total is less than half of their per game average of 28 points in 2008. They have 5 take aways in the first 2 games, a 2.5 per game average, up from a .81 per game average last season. Granted, the Broncos have not met the stiffest of competition so far, but Cleveland scored 20 points in week 1 against Minnesota and were held to 6 points against the Broncos. Denver’s week one opponent, Cincinnati, scored only 7 points in a loss to the Broncos managed to put up 31 in a win over Green Bay in week 2. Nolan’s defense is much improved.
As for the ‘poor’ quarterback now playing in Denver, all Orton has done in the first 2 games is complete 36 of 65 passes for 506 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has thrown no interceptions so far this season. Orton has a respectable 90.9 quarterback rating through the first 2 games. He has done all this while wearing a glove on his passing hand to protect a lacerated index finger, injured during the 3rd pre season game. To be sure, those numbers pale compared to the gaudy numbers produced by Cutler for the Broncos last season. But, still, you can not do much better than 2-0. And there is a new coach, a new offensive concept, and a new attitude in Denver. My preseason prediction of 7-8 wins seemed outlandish compared to what many were predicting. Now it seems it may have been too conservative. Only time will tell about that. But all of you who predicted only 3-5 wins want a Mulligan?
Any of the haters ready to change their mind about McDaniels?
Also Sunday, Former Bronco Shannon Sharpe was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame. Sharpe won 2 Super Bowl rings while with the Broncos (and a third with Baltimore). He redefined the position of tight end in the NFL. Sharpe was not voted into the NFL Hall of Fame last season in his first time on the ballot. It WILL happen. In true Sharpe fashion, he arrived at Invesco Field by parachuting into the stadium during pregame with the game ball. Congratulations on the honor, Shannon!