Commenting further on Derek’s post regarding Mike Shanahan and whether or not he can bring another Super Bowl to Denver in the future:
I know there are still 2 games left this season, but I think we can get a good feeling on what this Broncos team is going to look like in the future. Barring any major injuries, I think they have an extremely solid foundation to build upon.
Offensively, the Broncos are well stocked at just about every position.
QB: Jay Cutler has the talent, tools (i.e. Brandon Marshall, and Eddie Royal) and the playcalling to become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, if he hasn’t proven so already. I think he’ll learn to throw the ball away if no one is open, which will cut down on his INT’s. On a side note: what are Matt Leinart and Vince Young (both drafted before Cutler in the 2006 NFL Draft)? Last I checked, both are riding the pine for their teams.
WR: Marshall and Royal are going to be one of the best WR tandems in the NFL for years to come.
OL: Ryan Clady, and Ryan Harris have exceeded expectations (to say the least) in their first seasons in the NFL, and Clady, despite being a rookie, may be the best tackle in the league. Ben Hamilton has a few years left in him, and Chris Kuper is only 25. The only position in need of some depth would be the center, with Tom Nalen’s career in question (knee injuries), and Casey Weigmann being in his 13th season.
TE: Daniel Graham has at least 5 more years in him, and Tony Sheffler has shown that he can be one of the leagues best if he stays health.
RB: The only offensive position in need of rebuilding is at RB. Peyton Hillis showed that he can be a 100 yard per game rusher, but will he move back to fullback next year when he gets healthy? Ryan Torrain has already shown that he is injury prone (broken elbow, and torn ACL) in his rookie season. I don’t think he will be the RB of the future. Selvin Young has been battling injuries all year, and hasn’t impressed me at all. Does anyone else remember that Young said he was going to rush for 2,000 yards this year? He’s close. With 268 yards so far, he only needs 866 yards in each of the remaining two games and he will be there. As for Andre Hall, Michael Pittman, Tatum Bell, and P.J. Pope, I don’t see these guys being the answer for the future.
As for the defense:
To put it honestly, there are two players on this team that are NOT expendable: Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams. Other than that, it’s time to reload. Leslie Woodyard and Spencer Larson were a nice surprise, but it hasn’t been enough to change the reputation of this pitiful defense.
The Broncos have 10 draft picks in the 2009 draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Shanny used 9 of them on defensive players (safety and d-line are in need of the most help). I think that he should use a 1st or 2nd round pick on a top tier running back, and complete the offensive side. With the remainder of the picks, the Broncos need to stock up on the defensive side.
That being said, if Shanahan can turn his horid defense into a middle of the road defense, I have no doubt that as Cutler and the young offense continue to improve, so will the Broncos as a whole. Within 1 or 2 years, the Broncos will be a serious contender for the Super Bowl, with Mike Shanahan as the head coach.