Now that the dust has settled, here’s some thoughts about the draft, Free Agency and where I think we’re headed.
I’m not going to wade into why the Franchise was muck for the last two seasons; I’ve written it enough times already, but will just say it’s about fear, money and egos. To me, not having an involved owner is also a big reason why. However, a shift was made and it’s a good one, for now.
It’s clear something changed and it started at the top, bringing Gary Kubiak into the front office shows this. I’m not sure how much things can really move without an involved owner, though. Who knows, with what the Panthers are selling for, the Bowlen family may decide to do the right thing and sell. Not to a money guy (please), but to a man who built a real business, one that sold a commodity.
Why do I harp on this? Because there needs to be a top boss. One over Joe Ellis and John Elway, who makes final decisions, whose name and money are on the line, who’s the tie breaker in disputes.
Naming rights to the stadium is a real puzzler. How is it that a small market like Jacksonville hasn’t ever had a blip in getting a partner? Their previous owner, EverBank, was bought out and that bank, TIAA, took on their contract, plus said they’re going to spend five years upgrading. A franchise with such a long history of winning like the Broncos shouldn’t have such a delay. Thank goodness, a partner will be names soon! Getting this done will help remove the money fear, as will actually winning some games so suites can be sold.
Continuing on with the change in mentality, another thing the front office did was fire some coaches. I was told two of them bad-mouthed Paxton Lynch. One can wonder if the offensive coaches that were relieved of their jobs were part of the cleaning out of the swamp. Elway mentioned that Vance needed better coaches; what if some of them went against his wishes and helped spread negativity and division? Not to mention, the leaks streaming out of Dove Valley have become a trickle.
Along that line, two vocal players were removed and replaced with young, up and comers. Don’t be surprised if this continues through the summer and by week one, we see a much different team than the season ended with, ones who row in the same direction.
With that said, Vance needs to step up and get strict. Not to point to Jacksonville, again, but Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin are crusty, no-nonsense guys, and when Bortles looked dreadful no bad talk escaped that locker room. The two WRs that got a little lippy are on other teams now. Plus, the question should always he asked, what would Belichick do?
It appears Denver saw the light. The players signed in free agency and those drafted have a common shared trait: leadership. Plus, Gary’s hand was strong in this draft because during his two years before, it’s evident he likes men of faith. Maybe his thought is: the team that prays together, stays together. Stays together through the thin times.
Lastly, since all anyone can talk about is QB, I believe a reboot is in session. Mistakes were made by both Denver and Lynch, so they’re out to repair that one step at a time. Case (after Tyrod fell though) and Lynch was planned since February.
They wanted a mentor (finally) who is mature, level-headed, and who Gary felt would be good in the locker room as well as someone to show Lynch the ropes. A guy no one hates (crucial for the fans spending money) and won’t be why they lose games. With the right coaching and talent around Keenum, the right scheme, playbook and a great defense, they could get back to the playoffs.
Vance now has the coaches he wants, a statesman QB, a slew of young and new offensive weapons, the same playbook, scheme and months to hone them. On defense, he has arguably the best defensive player from the draft, a couple free agents who are hungry and a fear inducing defensive line-up. There is no excuse for him to fail.
Better roster, better coaches, a naming partner, a seasoned head coach and Hope among Broncos Country. That’s where we are today. Is a super bowl a reality? Probably not. Denver has a lot of new going on, but a wild card spot in the playoffs is feasible. Hoo rah.