The Denver Broncos are 10 days removed from their unexpected season ending loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional playoffs. While it’s a completely natural reaction to overreact, that reaction has to be measured. I am as guilty of this as anyone else; this is why people tell you not to make big decisions after life altering events. It is also the reason that football executives do not make decisions in the days following a heartbreaking loss. I wrote in the days following the game that the Broncos need to let the emotion fade and the team is doing so, while the fans and the media are not. There’s been a lot said in the past 10 days, and it is time to address it.
John Fox should be fired is one of the things I’ve heard more than a few times – that’s insane. Do I wish he had not sat on the ball with 31 seconds to play, yes, but you don’t fire a coach who has guided the Broncos from 4-12 two seasons ago to 13-3 this season. He’s won two straight AFC West Titles, and has had a big hand in fixing the locker room. Every coach makes decisions that fans are going to disagree with, even Bill Belichick, but you have to look at the total picture. If you don’t believe that Belichick makes mistakes, go ask a New England Patriots fan about the clock management at the end of the first half in the AFC Championship Game. Chances are you will hear a few four-letter words. Fox has been great for the Broncos.
Rahim Moore should be cut according to many, which too is a complete overreaction. Moore blew the play on the long touchdown, no doubt, but he had a very solid season as a second-year player. Is he a star? No, but he is a solid safety who was 10 times better in his second season, and should keep improving.
I’ve even heard this one: the Peyton Manning experiment failed. That’s beyond crazy – the Broncos are nowhere near 13-3 without Manning and there are those who think he will be better in 2013. John Elway is one of those people. He said recently that people have no idea how hard this past season was for Manning. The new team, new town, new everything and he still put up huge numbers. Manning now has a normal off-season, has a year under his belt in Denver and should be even healthier next season. The Broncos are going to be contenders in 2013 for a lot of reasons but the primary one is that Manning is the quarterback.
Overall, I’ve heard a lot of this – the Broncos are a long way away, and they weren’t as good as we thought. That’s not true either. They lost in overtime to the team that is now in the Super Bowl; it hurts, but it also is a sign that they are right there. Of course there are areas that need to be improved, and that’s what free agency and the draft are for. No team, even the Super Bowl Champion, is perfect, but the Broncos are not far away. They will be huge favorites to win the division again and there’s a great chance that they will be right back in the same position they were this year – hosting a divisional playoff game. There are no guarantees of victory at that point but all they can do is step up to the plate again.
The emotion is still raw from the loss to the Ravens, but the Broncos are a good football team that just needs some tweaking here and there, nothing more.
As for the idea that the Broncos never should have gotten rid of Tim Tebow in favor of Manning? I’m not going there because it’s an argument that cannot be won. All I will say is that I am happy that Manning is the quarterback of the Broncos, and leave it at that.
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