I'm not going to pretend like we'll hear about anything else during this football game, so I just went with this picture of Tim Tebow.
Yes, the Mile High Miraclemaker welcomes the Bears into his kingdom, and we took that opportunity to catch up with our friends over at Mile High Report. Kaptain Kirk was kind enough to take our questions, and put his answers to them. With that, hopefully, you'll gain a bit of insight into what makes these 2011 Broncos tick.
1. We always like to hear about the front office situation. There's been a lot of changes in the Broncos' football operations department, particularly with the addition of team and NFL legend John Elway. Can you tell us a bit about how those relationships are working out?
They are working out fine. Elway is the boss, but he listens to input from head coach John Fox and GM Brian Xanders. Fox is a manager and delegator. He oversees his coaching staff, but allows them to teach and coach their players development. Elway oversees the rest. Brian Xanders is the Cap manager and overseer of the scouting and talent evaluation team.
2. I would be remiss if I didn't ask about him. Tebow-the man, they myth, the meme. Unorthodox methods are delivering unpredicted results for the Broncos. How exciting has it been to watch, and do you think he can sustain success, or will teams figure him out?
Unpredictable is right. Some people like to use the term "Gamer" when type casting Tim Tebow, but I think "Finisher" is more accurate. It has been very exciting to watch this kid turn the league upside down with all the criticism he's taken be so-called analysts. The "Miracle in Miami" where he brought the Broncos back with two touchdown passes in the final 2:44 of the 4th quarter to force overtime and then win the game, well that's the stuff that legends are created from. I don't know if he can sustain it or not, surely NFL Defensive Coordinators will develop a counterrattack. But I have learned the hard way not to bet against him.
3. For all the credit that Tebow gets, it sometimes gets glossed over that the Broncos' defense has stepped up big during this run. What's helped prod them along into performing at the level they have recently?
There are multiple factors in the rise of the Denver Defense. Dennis Allen has done a marvelous job in turning around the 31st ranked Defense of 2010. The new Front Office (John Elway, John Fox and GM Brian Xanders) took a look at what the team needed, what was available in the draft and made a plan to fix the Defense as much as they could through the draft and not overspend in Free Agency. They also wanted to run the ball and control the clock. So they drafted a pass rusher (Von Miller at #2), a road grader of a Right Tackle and some quality depth to groom at the Safety positions. Meanwhile, they returned to a 4-3 Base look on the Defensive front which put players like Robert Ayers and Marcus Thomas back in the positions they were drafted in. I also think that having a charismatic player like Tebow has rejuvenated the veterans who were stagnating because of the lack of direction on the team.
4. The AFC West, like a lot of other divisions, is still very much up for grabs. The Raiders look good, but flawed. The Chargers seems to be on a downward trend, and the Chiefs are still technically in it because, well, the Bears pooped themselves at Soldier Field last week. Are the Broncos now building to a plan to lead that division, after the tumultuous McDaniels era?
As I stated above, they have gone to a "build through the draft" philosophy and will take the best player available. They aren't going to go after any Blue Chip Free Agents or sink money into lengthy contracts. I would say that yes, they are building for the future. It is still too early to tell, but it appears that even some of Josh McDaniels draft picks will pan out. They will certainly be used to their strengths and have the opportunity to succeed.
5. We hear about the quarterback, all the time, whether we want to or not. Who are some of the unheralded guys who are stepping up big on offense and defense for the Broncos right now?
RB Willis McGahee has been a key Free Agent signing. The entire O-Line is starting to jell and they are enjoying drive blocking and imposing their will instead of retreating to pass block. WR Eric Decker has had a good sophmore year so far and is fitting well as a #2 Receiver. On Defense, DT Broderick Bunkley was the best trade Denver has made in awhile. MLB Joe Mays showed up in Training Camp and earned the starting spot. And Undrafted CFA Chris Harris has been a pleasant surprise at CB, especially with the injuries to Syd'Quan Thompson and Cassius Vaughn. The Broncos will need to draft a CB in 2012 though, if only for depth.
5a. How insane was it that Kyle Orton broke his finger on a gimmick play in his very first attempt as a Chief?
To tell you the truth, I didn't even see the play. Kyle Orton is past history for the Broncos. It was unfortunate that he didn't step up in a contract year as many expected him to. He is a tough guy that has a lot of heart and I think most Bronco fans wish him well. They just wished him to get out of Tebow's way. He did a great job in 2009 leading the team to a 6-0 record with a broken splinted finger on his throwing hand, only throwing one Interception in the first 5 or 6 games. I don't know if he has hit his peak, but I think he can help the Chiefs.
Thanks to Kirk and the MHR gang, and here's hoping to an enjoyable football match tomorrow.