F 28 - 16 at Indianapolis - Loss
In the first game of the Broncos downfall they would face the Colts who had not lost a game so far this season. Coming off two victories, one of which was a big victory over the Chiefs, we as fans thought anything was possible. But the Broncos came out slow and the Colts dominated them to being with scoring 3 TDs. They ran up the score to 21-0 before the Broncos would kick in gear, in large part to the play of Brandon Marshall. The Broncos would score 16 straight points to bring the score close at 21-16. But the Colts would rally to score another TD in the fourth and the game ended with the score being 28-16. The big stories from this game was that the Broncos picked off Manning three times, two of which went to Brian Dawkins. Also Brandon Marshall recorded 21 catches to break an NFL record, he finished the game with 21 catches, 200 yards and 2 TDs.
F 20 - 19 vs Oakland - Loss
The Broncos next game was against the Raiders and we, myself included believed this game was a lock as we headed towards a 11-5 season. But the Broncos turned in a dismal performance against the Raiders and were beaten at home by them. The Raiders could not do much through the air all game, but they ran all over the Broncos defense with over 200 rushing yards. The Broncos did rally in the second half to take the lead but the terrible JaMarcus Russell would come in and save the day...JaMarcus 'I am overrated and can't play' Russell beat us on a late scoring drive??? Now that was the lowest of low that a team could get. This is a game I really want to forget. Brandon Marshall had a solid game as did Matt Prater who did not miss anything and finished with 13 of Denver's 19 points.
F 27 - 30 at Philadelphia - Loss
After the terrible performance of the previous week the Broncos would have to face the red hot Eagles. This was really a must win game for the Broncos as other teams were catching up fast for the AFC wildcard spot. But the Broncos didn't come out and play like that, they were completely dominated by the Eagles in the first half and the score was 20-7 at half time. In most part the Broncos were beaten black and blue by the Eagles TE Brent Celek who had over 100 receiving yards. But then something happened at half time, whatever it was it worked. The Defense played 10 times better and so did the Offense. The Broncos managed to get the score back to 27-24 at the end of the third quarter and were closing in on a late victory against the Eagles. Dumervil got 2 more sacks in this game and caused a fumble on one of them. Champ also had a pick in this game and Orton would throw 3 TDs, two of which went to Gaffney. The Broncos would go on to tie up the game in the fourth with a Prater FG and were hoping for overtime. But an amazing catch by the Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin put the Eagles within FG range and K David Akers kicked the winning FG with 4 seconds left. It just wasn't the Broncos day, but they put in a hard effort in the second half only if they did that in the first half. Also it is worth noting in this game Brandon Stokley was ejected for giving a ref a hi-five. And McKinley and Buckhalter were injured on kickoff duties.
F 24 - 44 vs Kansas City - Loss
The final game of the 2009-2010 season for the Broncos would be against the Chiefs who we completely destroyed in the previous meeting. And since the Broncos had lost their last three games they were sitting on an 8-7 record. The Broncos would then need a number of teams to lose just to make the playoffs, but they had to win first. But they didn't. The game was close at 10 all at half time but the Chiefs came out and beat the Broncos into the ground in the second half scoring 34 points. Orton was picked off three times in this game and two of them were by Derrick Johnson who took one to the house. The other Orton intercept was also returned for a TD. WR Gaffney would have his best game of the season catching 14 balls and making 213 receiving yards. But the Broncos again were dominated on the ground with the Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles running 25 times for 259 yards and 2 tds, career bests for him. The Broncos run defense was once again shown to be terrible like previous years. This game was better remembered for the benching of Brandon Marshall because he was 'faking' injuries during training, so he did not dress for the game. And then the benching of Tony Scheffler during the game for not trying.
There was the 5 players of the Broncos making the Pro Bowl
Elvis Dumervil getting 17 sacks and setting a Franchise record.
The strong play of vets, like Champ Bailey and Dawkins.
The play of Brandon Marshall getting over 100 catches for a third straight year.
The improving defense from almost dead last to 7th, though the run D has a way to go.
The play of Prater, he was like an all pro kicker this year, greatly improved over last.
The talent for the future.
With the end of the Season for the Broncos marks the start of the off season for them. And it started with a bang due to all the coaching moves. Long time assistants Bobby Turner and Rick Dennison left for promotions at other clubs. Mike Nolan left because he wasn't a perfect fit for McD and is now with the Dolphins. Then there is the reshuffling of the offensive staff, the hiring of Eric Studesville, the promotion of Don 'Wink' Martindale and you get a taste of what is ahead.
Well first up is the Free Agency period which will be limited this year. Because there is no CBA agreement in place so a lot of the Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) become Restricted Free Agents (RFA). So of the 400 or so FA now another 212 potential UFA are now RFA under the current agreement. And from what Roger Goodell has been saying a new deal isn't right around the corner. Which means that UFA will be slim and there will not be much top end talent. Also means many players like the Broncos Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil become RFA and they can be tendered for draft picks.
But out of the UFA there are a few good ones to look at for the Broncos, though these players are very likely to be resigned or get a Franchise Tag from their respective teams. One such player is NT Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots who would be a massive pickup for the Broncos. He is a force in the middle of the Defense and would be a big upgrade of what we have on the roster at the moment. The problem is with all the Franchise Tags and Transition Tags it is unlikely that Wilfork could leave the Pats. I think the Broncos may pick up some lesser known talent in FA to fill backup spots. But then again there could be a number of trades take place in the offseason, maybe more for players than for draft picks. There is the possibility for trades of Champ, Doom, Marshall, DJ, Hillis and Scheffler. It is my opinion that the Broncos should stock pile draft picks mostly between the 20th-80th picks as there is a lot of talent there to be drafted.
So having said that I would pick up some lesser known talent in FA and trade Hillis and Scheffler for whatever draft picks you can get. Because if you ain't going to use them then why keep them. Plus I would resign Doom and Marshall. I think people saying trading Marshall and pick Dez is a bit of a waste, you may get some more picks for Marshall but Dez is a big downgrade. If you are going to trade Marshall you need to at least get a few picks in that 20-80 bracket. So like two 2nd rounders, but I think the best option for the TEAM is to keep Marshall. UPDATE: Too be honest I keep changing my opinion on this. If there is an awesome deal for him deal him otherwise keep him. It really depends on what is the best option for the team to improve for the future.
Well with that out of the way moving on to the draft. Now the first thing we should do in the draft is to move back into the 20s and pick up another 2nd rounder. That I believe is the best option. McClain at 11th is a possiblitiy but I think he may even go higher than that depending on his pro day and combine. Now instead of saying who we should draft, like a mock draft I will list some guys that I think the Broncos should be looking at and there are a few guys that I now like because my opinion has been swayed by other bloggers.
So my list:
NT Dan Williams, is a strong player and has been out doing Cody.
NT Mt. Cody, I like him because he is huge, but he needs to drop his weight. If he is 340 at the combine I drafted him.
RB Dexter McCluster, tiny dude but really fast. Had a poor game in the Senior bowl, got hammered a few times and fumbled twice, but he is interesting.
QB Tim Tebow, I know this is bad to have him here, but hey if he is there late like the 5th round then pick him. Reason I like him, when you listen to him talk and what he wants to do, he is a leader and a professional, reminds me of Dawkins a little. But can he be a QB in the NFL?
QB Dan Lefevour, had a real strong Senior Bowl and looks like a solid player could be a nice pick up.
MLB Rolando McClain, he seems like a good football player, but watching highlights of him he seems slow to me. But like I said above he may go top 10.
MLB Brandon Spikes, could fall into the second round which is a perfect place to pick him. May not be the fastest but he can fill in for Andra Davis or take his spot completely depending on how well he does.
G Mike Iupati, big guy, good guard. But will be a high pick, I think we could pick up a guard just as good lower in the draft.
C Maurkice Pouncey, my personal favorite and a guy I think we need to draft. Can play C or G and if Casey Wiegmann plays another year he would be the prefect mentor for this young kid.
Other than that the main thing that the Broncos front office needs to focus on this offseason is the trenches. No overlooking positions like NT like they did last year. Get good players that can help the team because the rest of the players will benefit. It all starts in the trenches and ours ain't that great at the moment. It will be an interesting to see what happens in the coming months and the changes that are made. Well that is it from me, sorry about the long post but enjoy the offseason ~Aussie Out