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Broncos defense frustrating to watch

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado

After eating Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, I felt like a Broncos defensive player ” slow, bloated, and unable to tackle anything within arms reach.

It’s not like these guys are the Iowa State Cyclones (remember, I’m an Iowa fan), they are professional football players. It’s pathetic to watch.

That’s why, as a Broncos fan, this has to be one of the most frustrating seasons in recent memory. Every time Denver looks like it has its defense figured out, it loses to the Raiders, or gets blown out by the Chiefs. What’s the combined record of Oakland and Kansas City this season? That’d be 4-18 with two wins coming against the Broncos.

The defense is also the reason Denver has no hope of doing anything in the postseason this year. Sure, the Broncos could win the AFC West, but that’s almost by default. The division is likely to finish the year as one of the worst in the history of the National Football League. Yep, that’s something to hang your out on, Broncos.

Somehow, with all the defensive blunders, Mike Shanahan continues to skirt the blame. It’s no coincidence that Denver goes through defensive coordinators like Britney Spears does attorneys. Someone’s got to take the fall, but it’s Shanahan that continues to miss on defensive players in the draft.

I know, I know ” the injury bug has bitten Denver hard this year, but when Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams were playing, the Broncos defense still stunk.

Here’s some numbers to ponder. Denver is 28th in total defense, 27th against the run and is giving up 27.5 points per game. The Broncos only have 20 sacks this season. I guess the draft picks of Jarvis (Mr. Inactive) Moss and Tim (He’s still in the league?) Crowder are really paying off.

Thanks, Mastermind.

The offense, on the other hand, at least gives Broncos fans hope. Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Ryan Clady all look to be fixtures in the offense for years to come. There are a number of other young players who are exciting.

Unfortunately, the Denver offense isn’t prolific enough to win every game. I have little doubt Cutler will be one of the best quarterbacks in the league someday, but he’s just not there yet.

Like I said before, the Broncos should win the AFC West. San Diego is even worse than Denver. It doesn’t help the Chargers cause that they’ve lost four games in the last 24 seconds this season. Remember, the fumble that wasn’t against the Broncos? San Diego certainly does.

After the Broncos limp into the playoffs with an 8-8 record (or worse), things could get ugly. Imagine a match up with the suddenly hot Colts in the first round. I predict something like a 45-13 beat down in that case.

Once again, someone besides Shanahan will take the fall. I’m not saying he should be fired ” absolutely not ” but Broncos owner Pat Bowlen needs to take a closer look at how things are being run, starting with the defense and wasted draft picks.

Shanahan’s offensive genius is often unmatched. Unfortunately, so is his defensive ineptitude.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.


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