Response to Walt's stupid Broncos season preview
Holy crap, I just got about a dozen e-mails from Broncos fans who called me an idiot for my season preview. I thought that grouping them together on here would be nice (a la the Lions-Matthew Stafford debaclization last year). Note that some of my responses are duplicates because responding to lots of e-mails takes time.
This is so much of your analysis about the Broncos that is wrong. However, I will focus on just your statement that the Broncos have replaced Cutler, Marshall and Scheffler with Orton, Thomas and Branson. This is simplistic and wrong. Cutler is replaced by Orton and Tebow (Orton had a better year last year to boot). Marshall is replaced quite nicely by Gaffney, Thomas, Decker and Royal. Scheffler hasn’t done much in his career and doesn’t need to be replaced.
So, here is where the Broncos stand to date in the trades of Jay Cutler, Tony Scheffler and Brandon Marshall:
Broncos have received:
Kyle Orton (Cutler trade)
Robert Ayers (Cutler trade)
Richard Quinn or David Bruton (Cutler 3rd Rounder and Broncos 3rd Rounder were traded for Richard Quinn and Bruton)
Demaryius Thomas (Cutler trade)
Tim Tebow (BMarsh and Cutler trade)
Eric Decker (Cutler Trade)
Miami's 2011 2nd Rounder (BMarsh Trade)
Perrish Cox (Scheffler Trade)
Broncos have traded:
2009 5th Rounder (Cutler Trade)
2010 4th Rounder (Tebow trade)
2010 7th Rounder (Scheffler Trade)
This looks like it will be quite a haul.
Thanks for the e-mail, but you completely misinterpreted what that was supposed to mean. I didn't say he traded Cutler, Marshall and Scheffler for those three players. I said he replaced Cutler, Marshall and Scheffler with those three. If you scroll down and look at the transaction log, you'll see that I didn't mean how you think I interpreted it. Trust me, running this Web site is my full-time job and I watched most Broncos games last year. I know they didn't swap those three straight up.
From Joe M.
I appreciate the time and effort that you put into all of your season previews, but I could not allow some of the points that you made to go unchallenged.
"It's hard to imagine Denver's offense rebounding in the wake of Marshall and Scheffler leaving for Miami and Detroit, respectively. "
Would you rather have an arguably elite player who takes every third play off, or an above average player who gives 100% effort on every play? I would argue that whoever is the "#1" receiver and Branson will both put effort in on every play. This was not the case with Scheffler and Marshall. It remains to be seen as to whether or not Branson is above average, but he will most likely be getting the targets that Scheffler got last year.
"Jabar Gaffney isn't a legitimate No. 1 receiver."
You then argue that Gaffney is not a #1 receiver by laughably bringing up the final KC game from last year in which he caught 14 balls for 213 yards. Based on his career numbers, Gaffney is not a prototype #1 receiver, but I argue that a team can win in the NFL with a bunch of above average receivers in the absence of a #1 (the 2001 patriots are a good example).
"Thomas can't run routes or catch the ball consistently"
Is it that he can't run routes, or that he really wasn't asked to run them at GT? I would argue that a man with a higher Wonderlic score than Myron Rolle and a degree for Georgia Tech. can learn to run routes at the NFL level. In regards to Thomas' hands, Brandon Marshall had more than his share of dropped passes during his years with the Broncos.
"Denver's secondary also has major depth issues. The short and slow Alphonso Smith struggled last year, losing his job to the decrepit Ty Law. Smith will compete with rookies Perrish Cox and Syd'Quan Thompson for nickel duties. Cox should win the job. "
Darcel McBath and David Bruton provide some quality depth at safety. McBath had a phenomenal game against the vaunted Colts passing attack last year. Cox, Smith and Jones all provide quality depth at corner. Smith was injured for most of last year, so writing him off as worse the "decrepit" Law is premature.
"The defensive line, quite frankly, is garbage. Nose tackle Jamal Williams is 34 and played all of 45 snaps in 2009 before suffering a season-ending triceps injury. Both defensive ends, Justin Bannan and Jarvis Green, were acquired this offseason. Bannan has been a solid reserve for the Ravens, while Green was abysmal as a starter for New England last year."
The D line in the second half of last year was garbage. I am trusting in Xander's ability to bring in upgrades via free agency in Green, Bannan and Williams. You assume that Williams has nothing left because of his age and previous injury. During the 2008 season he was quite effective at clogging the middle and stuffing interior runs for the Chargers. Even if he has lost some ability relative to 2008 due to aging, he is an upgrade over the players who played NT last year for the Broncos. Williams and Baker should provide a decent rotation at NT. McBean was one of the better DL for the Broncos last year (his injury corresponding to the Broncos inability to stop the run). The DL should be improved relative to last season.
"Denver's stop unit has loads of problems, and the 30.5 points per game it surrendered in the final four weeks of the 2009 campaign was no fluke. But perhaps the biggest issue is the departure of Mike Nolan. Nolan is an outstanding defensive coordinator"
How can Nolan be an outstanding defensive coordinator if his unit gave up 30.5 ppg in the final 4 games? Are you assigning the blame for this completely on the players? Nolan obviously had some good ideas that worked for the first half of the season as the results show. Once opponents adjusted to what he was doing as a coordinator his unit suffered horribly. Injuries played a huge role, but these three sentences above are contradictory. If he is indeed an "outstanding D coordinator," you need to offer up some excuses as to why his unit played so poorly down the stretch when it mattered most.
You rate the teams quarterbacks as a two stars out of 5. Kyle Orton was statistically in the top half of NFL quarterbacks if you use traditional stats or in the top third if you use modern stats (football outsiders). That would make the teams QBs, if the rating is based on just the starter, a three or four star. If you factor in the #2 and #3 QBs, a former starter and first rounder in Quinn and a first rounder in Tebow, I would say that those are as good if not better than most teams #2 and #3 QBs so that should not drag the rating down.
I think that you are underestimating the Broncos this year as you did last year.
You can't really be serious with Jabar Gaffney being a No. 1 receiver. He's not even in the same league as Brandon Marshall. I don't care what he did against the Chiefs. What was the end result of that game? The Chiefs didn't respect Gaffney like they would Marshall. That's why Denver was blown out. Well, one of the reasons anyway.
If Jamal Williams had something left, why would the Chargers let him go?
And Mike Nolan is one of the top defensive coordinators in the NFL. The Broncos allowed 30.5 ppg because they had no talent on defense. You need talent.
From Gary F.
I was reading the Broncos 2010 preview --> http://walterfootball.com/offseason2010den.php
and was noticing the same type of portrayal/perspective that I was seeing about this time last season.... After Denver went 6-0 against some great (Patriots, SD, (Dallas? hey they made the playoffs)) and some not too great teams (Browns, Raiders), all the people who said they'd go 3 - 13 were simply quiet.... I didn't hear any "I was obviously wrong" type statements, or at least fittingly "well look at what this surprising young coach has done....".
While it's obviously good for them, that they waited, as the rest of the season, save two games, was not the ideal ending a Broncos fan would ask for, the Broncos still contended against teams like Indy and Philadelphia, to say the least. I can only help but wonder how the Broncos team last year would have done against the Saints!
The point I'm eventually getting to here, is that it seems the Broncos have been a team that many 'journalists' or sports writers seem to dismiss, or only look at the negative aspects of the team. I notice this with many teams previewed, it's not just the Broncos.
The problem I see (besides a bit of ingorance/bias), is that it is obvious that Broncos fans will be the majority of the people who read the Broncos preview. Therefore, why lace the article with doubt and negativity?
It seems, the one(s) writing it would layout the negatives, and sprinkle the article with positives.... Regardless, I appreciate the effort and time put into 'grading' and writing about my favorite team, but wanted to pass along, that I think journalism can be performed much better - especially when that is an entity's sole focus, in this case, sports.... And wanted to pass along and ponder, will the writer(s) end up painting an entirely new picture when Denver makes it to the post season this year, essentially 'forgetting' this type of preview and what it entailed? Or at least admitting how wrong they were?
Most importantly, is it just common-place in sports journalism to only give the top four teams or so, an honestly objective 'preview'?
The last question is what invokes my desire to try to "join them" since I can't "beat them" - and do some good for everyone's team, because it gets really old when not a single "main stream" source can give an objective outlook. It seems most are one or the other - Way too optimistic, or blindly pessimistic. Just some thoughts that I wanted to pass along, and hope they help to improve the overall product.
P.S. I would also like to point out that the Broncos are more than likely to make the post season this year, with such a stout team. Great chemistry, depth, and coaching on all three sides of the ball (don't ever forget special teams). Thanks again for your time.
I appreciate your concern with journalistic integrity, but I think you're being hypocritical. If I cater to all Broncos fans to tell them how wonderful I think their team will be, that's the complete opposite of journalistic integrity.
Here's the thing - I am being fair and unbalanced. You just don't think I am being you're a Broncos fan. I just call it like I see it. I neither hate nor like the Broncos. I have no agenda against them. I'm just calling it like I see it, and if you want a homeristic view of the Broncos, go to some Broncos Web site. But I'm providing you with an unbiased, honest view of how your team will do this year. Sorry if you can't handle that, but it's the truth.
From Scott M:
Wow...imagine my shock at some of the randomly assigned, yet unfounded
assessments about Denver. I can understand your speculation as to
their final record @ 6-10, or even 7-9, 8-8? However, your bias/
stupidity comes raging forward with some of the following perspectives;
- Demaryius Thomas - "F"? He
can't catch...or run routes?
- Clady going backward in new
Scheme? They were mostly
In ZBS last year!
- Oline is suspect! Weigman
was released( couldn't get it
done!) Walton much bigger,
rougher, and meaner.
- Dline is garbage! Really?
- And so many more useless
pieces of self inspired drivel!
I've always enjoyed Walters as part of predraft reviews (though you
missed badly again this year). It's not a science, just an educated
guess.....but I understand that you can't truly know team needs or
draftboards. But the printed comments attached to your personal
perspectives are just embarrasing and a shameless swipe at a team for
which you clearly have no thoughts or knowledge related to team or
players! So much for journalistic integrity (you turn this phrase into
an oxymoron) while for for you, it just keeps you securely positioned
in the full blown moron zone! Next time time "buy a clue" before
unleashing your idiocy publically? My feeling and appreciation for
Walters is lost and gone forever!
I just call it like I see it. I neither hate nor like the Broncos. I thought they'd stink last year, and they did when they finished 2-8. I think they'll stink again this year, and I'm pretty sure I'll be right. You never know in the crazy NFL, but what in the world makes you think the Broncos will be any better in 2010 than they were in 2009 when they traded away their top offensive playmaker?
Demaryius Thomas can't catch or run routes. That was the knock on him.
Broncos didn't run much ZBS last year. You don't believe me, so here's a report from NBC (RotoWorld):
Broncos LT Ryan Clady surrendered eight sacks in 2009, a year after giving up a league-low 0.5 as a rookie.
According to Profootballfocus.com, Clady was only the 16th best tackle in the league. The Broncos also passed far less in 2009 than in 2008, so Clady's struggles may be attributable to the team's change in offensive line scheme from zone to power blocking. They plan to power block even more in 2010.
The defensive line is terrible. Jamal Williams is done (San Diego didn't bring him back for a reason) and Jarvis Green stinks (New England didn't bring him back for a reason).
I'm not sure how I "missed" in my predraft reviews either.
Look, running this Web site is my full-time job. I watched most Broncos games last year. If you want a homeristic view of the Broncos, go to some Broncos Web site. But I'm providing you with an unbiased, honest view of how your team will do this year. Sorry if you can't handle that, but it's the truth, and I was off by about 2.1 or 2.2 wins in my previews last year, so Denver will more than likely win 4-8 games.
From Jake E:
Hey there just giving my thoughts on your work. First off I really apreciate all the hard work you do on this site even though half the time I disagree with your opinions, your site is one of the better sites for all things draft.
Now onto the subject I respectfully disagree with your analysis of my broncos. Now I would have ranked ronald fields as a top 15 nose tackle in the league, and now he is rotating in with Jamaal Williams a top 3 nose tackle so our run D should be much improved. Also Jarvis Green most likely will be a 3rd down pass rushing specialist not the starter ( Ryan McBean). Our safety situation should see improved play because even when Renaldo Hill falters Darcel McBath will step in and BDawk can move to SS where his declining skills can be utilized better. So our defence should be much improved IMO and that concludes my mini rant. Best of wishes.
I'm glad you like the site and thanks for the e-mail.
I have to completely disagree with you that Jamal Williams is a top-3 nose tackle. I actually think he's the worst starting nose tackle in the NFL (except for whomever the Chiefs use). He's done, and the Chargers let him go for a reason.
From Andrew H:
I'm not e-mailing you to bash your pre-season projections for the Denver Broncos in 2010-2011. I'm actually e-mailing you to ask for you to do just a little more research before making your predictions.
To say that we replaced Cutler, Marshall, and Scheffler (who never had a great role on our team anyways) were replaced by Tebow, Thomas, and Branson is ridiculous. Cutler was replaced by Orton, Smith, and Ayers. Marshall was replaced by Tebow and a future 2nd round pick. Scheffler was replaced by Parrish Cox, who will probably have a greater role than Scheffler ever would anyways.
Kyle Orton doesn’t need a huge arm to be a successful QB in our system, he showed that last year. Gaffney showed that he can be a successful receiver if he needs to be. Besides, I’m guessing Thomas will be become a number 1 either before or during the season. How can’t Thomas catch the ball or run routes? All I’ve heard is positive things from the mini camp. Just because Thomas played in Georgia Tech's unique offensive system, doesn't mean that he won't be a good player. He thrives in bubble screens, and if you haven't noticed, Denver uses quite a few of those.
Clady has gotten worse because we moved from a zone blocking scheme to a power blocking scheme because he gave up 8 sacks and 8 penalties during last year? I’m not an expert on power blocking schemes, but it seems to me that it has more to do with rushing than passing. You can’t give up a sack on a rushing play, and I bet 50% of his penalties were during passing plays too. You talk about our interior line and you only mentioned 1 draft pick, while it’s not even the 1st interior lineman taken by the Broncos. I don’t think anyone expects Hochstein to start this season, that's why we drafted Beadles, Olsen, and Walton.
You're worried about Dawkins and Hill even though they were amazing last year? I expect them to be just as good if not better this year since we have an improved D-Line to add pressure to the QB and take on blockers, making a shorter time that they have to cover on passing plays, and making it easier for them to get tackles on rushing player.
Our secondary has depth issues? I’m excited for McBath and Bruton to show us exactly what they have. They’ve both showed signs of promise. As for CB, you crucifies Smith for being short and slow, but you don't acknowledge the fact that he was injured for most of the year. You doesn’t mention Nate Jones, who we picked up for depth at S and CB. He doesn’t recognize that Cox was hindered during the draft because of a character problem. He’s a great talent, and obviously if McD is willing to take a player with a, “character problem” it must not be that big of a deal.
Ayers isn’t fit for the 3-4 because he can’t rush the passer? I’m sure once Ayers starts playing instead of thinking, he’ll be a lot better. Also, if I remember correctly, he didn’t have many sacks but he did have a quite a bit of quarterback hurries which I value greatly. It agree with you about the ILB position. It will be interesting to see if Haggan can play ILB or not. I dislike how you doesn’t acknowledge how Davis was such a liability in pass coverage last season.
The D-Line is garbage? Why would we bring in players if they were garbage? We brought in players with experience in the 3-4 not only for good playing time, but also to mentor the younger prospects we’ve invested in. I guess only time will tell if Bannan, Williams, and Green can do better than Thomas, McBean, Peterson (whose not with the team anymore for a reason), and Fields.
I also love how you praise Nolan. Yes, Nolan did a fabulous job for the first 6 games, but he's just a responsible for the 10 game end of the season struggles. From what I’ve heard, Wink brings a whole new dimension to the Broncos because of his aggressiveness.
Please research a little more before you jump to assumptions about our team. Thanks!
Thanks for the e-mail, but you completely misinterpreted what that was supposed to mean. I didn't say he traded Cutler, Marshall and Scheffler for those three players. I said he replaced Cutler, Marshall and Scheffler with those three. If you scroll down and look at the transaction log, you'll see that I didn't mean how you think I interpreted it. Trust me, I spend 80+ hours a week running this site. I know it wasn't a 3-for-3 swap.
Thomas' route running and ability to catch the ball were his two weaknesses coming into the 2010 NFL Draft. That's just what he's bad at. He's an extremely raw receiver, but that won't matter much on Denver's offense.
You can't count on rookies to start at any position. Look at the Bills last year - they spent two high picks on interior linemen and they both stunk.
Ayers will never succeed in a 3-4. I said it on the day the Broncos drafted him. He's 4-3 all the way - just like Vernon Gholston.
From Jeff H:
There seems to be a lot of hostility towards the Denver Broncos these days and even more so towards Josh McDaniels and his coaching staff. It is what it is and I try to not pay much attention to it in most cases. However, your "article" on Denver's offseason and 2010 outlook was WAY beyond anything I have read recently. Your obvious bias and blatant disdain momentarily stunned me.
I have known of your site as a credible and intelligent football knowledge base. Particularly when it comes to the draft. I have frequented your site on many occasions. I haven't always agreed with everything I have read but I usually walked away feeling slightly more knowledgable then when I arrived. And because of this, I continued to come to your site which, in turn, increases your numbers and drives your advertisement commissions. A fair trade and a good example of capitalism at work.
After reading your latest article on the Broncos I will say that I will never come to your site again. Whenever your site is mentioned I will be sure to tell all in earshot how the site is run by kids who write simply to enflame and cause commotion and there truely isn't any substance there. While I won't go out of my way, I will do what I can to ensure your numbers drop. Not because you upset me as a fan of the Broncos (I'm getting used to "reporters" dumping on Denver) but because your obvious, over-the-top hatred has no place being passed off as football knowledge. At least not in my mind. And not in the minds of the people with whom I will have warned.
Good luck to you in your next venture after this one fails, as it surely will because most people above the age of 16 find little value in "flamers". It's unprofessional and, well, lame.
I just call it like I see it. I neither hate nor like the Broncos. I neither hate nor like Josh McDaniels. I thought they'd stink last year, and they did when they finished 2-8. I think they'll stink again this year, and I'm pretty sure I'll be right. You never know in the crazy NFL, but what in the world makes you think the Broncos will be any better in 2010 than they were in 2009 when they traded away their top offensive playmaker?
You sent me a long e-mail, yet you didn't even specify what you disagreed with. I'm sorry that your team sucks and that you'll have to endure another miserable season. But if you can't handle an honest, unbiased opinion, then you should really just stick to DenverBroncos.com or any other Denver homer site because it's apparent that the Broncos are going to be sub par again this year.
And those were the interesting ones I could find... for now.
At least you get passionate responses from people.
Walt, I know YOU watch the Bronco games, but I do question what games most Broncos fans watch because I don't think they want to see the real team. Having said that, I don't know why you're so adamant that Jamaal Williams is done. I know he isn't the player he was 5 years ago. We'll see how much he has left.