Elway and Manning in defeat.
Well, the dust has settled, and reality is starting to creep its ugly head into our minds. I’m still not sure I believe what my eyes showed me Saturday night, but I’m willing to start believing that I’m not stuck in a 2 day long nightmare, and what transpired on the field really did happen. In a game full of head scratching penalties, non-penalties, and play calls, where should the Broncos go from here? Is this 1996 all over again? Will we rip off 2 straight Super Bowls like we did back then? This is my list of things I’d like to see happen.
#1: Apologize to Peyton Manning and Trindon Freaking Holliday. John Fox needs to put his ego aside and have a meeting with Peyton Manning to say that he is sorry and will never, ever, ever tell him to take a knee at the end of the game with 31 seconds left, 2 timeouts, and only needing 35 or so yards for a realistic FG attempt as time expires for the win IN THE PLAYOFFS!!! We heard Fox defend his decision to have Manning kneel by saying that you don’t want to make mistakes that cost you the game. My question is this, “why in the $%^& did you get Peyton Manning in the first place if you aren’t willing to put the game and your faith in him when the chips are down and you need to make a few plays?”And what about Trindon Freaking Holliday? What a beast he is!!! My goodness, if there was one player who really showed up for this game, it was Holliday. Without him, how does this game go? Its easy to say that we’d get blown out without him, but in all honesty, we have no idea how those 2 offensive drives we didn’t have would have turned out. We very well could have scored TDs on both of those drives anyways. But one thing is for sure, even when Holliday didn’t touch the ball on kickoffs and punts, he greatly affected the game by his very presence on the field. We saw Baltimore squib kick it in order to keep the ball out of Holliday’s hands, even at the cost of field position. Trindon Holliday is owed a deeply heart felt apology!
#2: Elway needs to have a long talk with John Fox. The only way I think that John Fox should keep his job is if he agrees to be less conservative and more aggressive when the game is on the line. Look, John Fox has done a great job in turning this team and culture around, there’s no denying that fact; However, he is much too conservative than today’s NFL will allow. I can go back to his decision to have Manning take a knee and play for overtime, but there will be plenty more of that talk from all of us this offseason, but I want to talk about other aspects of conservatism. John Fox and Mike McCoy had a ridiculously conservative gameplan. They didn’t go down the field a single time the entire game! They allowed Flacco to look like the HOF QB, and resigned Manning to be nothing but a dink and dunk, hand the ball off a million times QB. In overtime after our Defense stopped the Ravens, what did the Broncos do? They played our prevent offense as if we were trying to run out the clock instead of needing to actually score to win the game. What did Fox call towards the end of the 4th quarter when the game was still in the balance? He ran the ball 3 times and took a whopping 30 seconds off the clock. Again, why sign Peyton Manning if you don’t trust him to pick up critical first downs to seal the victory in the playoffs? I’m sick and tired of Fox taking the ball out of Manning’s hands to close out games. I feel sorry for Manning because he is playing for a coach who thinks he’s more Trent Dilfer than Peyton Freaking Manning!!!
#3: Waive goodbye to Mike McCoy. Assuming McCoy didn’t cost himself head coaching jobs by his ridiculously bad gameplan, we should all give Mike McCoy a pat on his back as he packs his bags to take a head coaching gig somewhere. While John Fox is solely responsible for certain conservative calls such as taking the infamous knee, Mike McCoy called the entire game with some of the least creative, most conservative plays since 1980. He channeled his inner Dan Reeves by refused to allow Manning to be “Manning”, and instead, called this game as if we had Sammy “3 yards and a cloud of dust” Winder. John Elway hated Dan Reeves’ conservative play style back when he was a player, and I can only assume that he is equally sickened by that type of play style as an executive.
#4: The Offensive Coordinator Search Begins. Mike McCoy is surely gone, so who should we get as our new Offensive Coordinator? Even if he doesn’t take a head coaching job, should his services be retained? Should he stay here with the consideration being that he never again channels his inner Dan Reeves and instead opens up the offense? If indeed McCoy is shown the door, does that open up the opportunity for Tom Moore to seamlessly slide in? Would we promote Adam Gase? What should the Broncos do? If McCoy is gone, I’d love to see Moore come in as our Coordinator. If there’s one thing we know about Moore, it’s that he’ll allow Manning to be Manning, and he won’t be scared to put the game in Peyton’s hands with the game on the line. If Moore comes in, perhaps its with the agreement that he will call 100% of the plays, and make 100% of the offensive decisions, including whether or not we go for it on 4th down, or kneel at the end of the games. Will this take some of the head coaching aspects away from John Fox? Sure, but Fox is a really good head coach, but way too conservative. This would be a way to have the best of both worlds. The only way we can have our cake and eat it too would be to have the OC make 100% of the offensive decisions regardless of down & distance, or time left on the clock.
#5 Denver Broncos, you are now on the clock. It’s time to start looking at the NFL draft. We know that we will pick in the mid 20′s, so where do we look? Do we look to replace Champ Bailey who was woefully exposed as a player who lost a step? Or was that just an aberration? Do we look to upgrade our safeties? While I think Rahim “The Dream Crusher” Moore should remain our starter, should we look to upgrade from Mike Adams? Should we take the best middle linebacker available at our pick to eventually take over for a very old Keith Brooking? Do we target a slot wide receiver for the probably retiring Brandon Stokley? Do we put our running game in Knowshon Moreno’shands, or do we look for a running back in the 2nd or 3rd round? I would trust Knowshon after what he showed us this year, but hey, I know that a lot of fans don’t (remnants of the McDaniels era amongst other things), and it’s up in the air whether the front office does either. Where do we look to upgrade? Do we look for a more dynamic tight end? More dynamic defensive or offensive linemen? Do we just take the best player who fits our system available? We are a 13-3 #1 seed team, so maybe we really do just take the best player who fits our system available. That does make a lot of sense.