In only 60 minutes the Denver Broncos eliminated all doubt as to whether or not they will be competing for the playoffs this year. In what was one of the Denver Broncos worst games in recent memory it was glaringly evident that the Broncos have no business in the post season. The Detroit Lions showed in one fail swoop why they will be playoff contenders this year and just how far the Broncos are from being in the same category.
The Broncos defense which has been somewhat steady so far this season was picked apart by a Lions offense that was superior in just about every way. Most notably the Broncos secondary provided very little resistance for Matthew Stafford and the Lions receivers.
The Broncos offense showed no signs of life versus the lions and is arguably regressing each week. Most fans believed that Kyle Orton was the anchor holding down the offense from skyrocketing to its full potential. However after playing 2 games with a different quarterback the offense has shown no improvement at all and has arguably gotten worse. There were some growing pains expected when the switch to Tim Tebow was made, but nowhere near the amount the Broncos have experienced thus far. John Fox has been very vocal about the type of offense that he would like to run. His offense is based around the ability to run the ball consistently and control the clock.
John Fox’s style of offense was popular years ago and can still be very effective, but it has slowly been disappearing from the NFL ranks in favor of a more wide open pass heavy offense. The run heavy ball control offense works well when all of the pieces fall into place, but that simply isn’t happening for the Broncos right now. Opposing defenses are expecting the run from the Broncos and as a result they are stacking more and more defenders at the line of scrimmage. This not only makes it tough to run against, but it makes it harder to complete the short to mid range passes that the Broncos like to call.
It’s evident that the Broncos need a lot of help on offense, but what isn’t evident is just how to help them. The Broncos have a good core of offensive linemen that started the season strong, but as of late they haven’t been playing very well. Rookie right tackle Orlando Franklin is having trouble protecting Tim Tebow’s blind side in pass blocking, but he has been a favorite to run behind because of his size. After trading away Brandon Lloyd the Broncos group of receivers is without a true number one, although they are getting good production from second year pro Eric Decker. The Broncos have a good group of young talented tight ends, running backs that are producing, and a mess at quarterback. The problem is that the Broncos have a fair amount of talent on offense and they are simply not producing.
It is the job of the coaching staff to put their best product on the field and design a game plan that gives the team its best chance to win. The coaches on all NFL teams have to find a way to squeeze the most out of every single person on their roster and then ensure that they have a plan that will allow them to beat the opposing coach who is attempting the same feat. Some teams have the advantage of superior athletic talent while others have the advantage of superior coaching talent.
Through 7 games of the season it is clear that the Broncos are not one of the teams that has superior athletic talent. Coach Fox inherited a bad position when he chose to accept the head coaching job of the Denver Broncos, but is he getting everything he can out of his roster? The answer to that question is no and for several reasons. Due to the NFL lockout coach Fox didn’t have as much time to evaluate personnel both on and off the field as he would have liked and as a result he is still trying to find out exactly who this team is 8 weeks into the season. Barring a miraculous turnaround the Broncos 2011 season ended with their loss to the Lions. The remaining 9 games on the schedule this year will allow coach Fox a live audition for the 2012 season. No one would admit it publically, but it is now time for John Fox to start evaluating the players on his team, as well as the other members of his staff. NFL coaches are no longer afforded long tenure in order to turn a team around. John Fox needs to stop the bleeding and find a way to get the most out of this team or it could cost him his job in just a few short years, after all it isn’t like he was producing at his last job either.
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