Nov 30 2008
As I eagerly devoured all the preseason Broncos news this summer, there were 3 predictions I ran across that were made by various members of the Broncos organization.
Selvin Young, who had at that time not even secured the starting halfback spot, said he was gonna run for 2000 yards this season. Not a record breaking goal, but still a lofty one which has only been achieved 5 times (once by another Denver running back). With 3/4 of the season done, how’s he doing? Well, he started out sharing time at the beginning of the season which seriously hampered his opportunities. Then he, and every other RB on Denver’s roster, got injured. At least he isn’t done for the season and should return soon after missing 6 games on the season so far. With not even 300 yards on the season, I think his goal is out of reach for the remaining 4 games.
Then Denver’s very own trouble magnet, Brandon Marshall, stated he was targeting 140 receptions on the year. Again, not the record but is only 4 receptions shy. He did this at a point when it still looked like he would be missing multiple games at the beginning of the season due to suspension. He ended up only missing 1 game and in his first game of the year, he tied the second most receptions for a receiver in a game with 18 and looked like he might make true on his goal in his third year. This was the first year as THE GUY though. Pressure and attention from other teams quickly stifled that dream and he now sits with 72 receptions on the year just over half his goal. He still does have a reasonable chance at back to back 100 reception seasons which is a very admirable feat.
Now brings us to the third and most crucial. Mike Shanahan had an interview this summer where he GUARANTEED the broncos would make the playoffs this year. Denver had missed the playoffs the last 2 years. This is definitely a lot more achievable than the other 2 personal goals, but given the recent results, seemed to be a significant achievement none the less.
Teams like to break down the season into quadrants. And since we just finished the 3rd, it would be a good time to break down them:
Games 1-4: Denver came out of the gate with a 3-1 record only slipping against the division rival Chiefs. The offense looked hot and they got a few breaks. I definitely was high on them at this point.
Games 5-8: They went 1-3 looking, at times, to be outclassed and I feared a similar result to 2007 when they started out 3-1 and missed the playoffs. They did beat a tough Bucs team, but little else to rave about and one game ( at New England ) which I’m sure made more than just me want to hide our orange and blue colors.
Games 9-12: Despite starting the year at .500, Denver still topped the AFC West. Football inept division FTW. But the downward spiral couldn’t continue if they wanted to stay that way. Fortunately, the 3rd quarter of the season looked very similarly to the 1st going 3-1 and only loosing a rough game to another bad divisional opponent. But they are putting up the points again and winning the close games.
To make things better, the second place team, the Chargers, have faltered as of late and Denver has increased their divisional lead on them by 3 games. What looked like it would be a very pivotal game at the end of the year with the Chargers, might fizzle into meaninglessness (pretty sure that’s a word). To make things even better, Denver (as well as a handful of other teams) have an opportunity to make Shanny’s guarantee come true if they win and the Chargers lose. Any way you look at it, Denver is in a really good spot with a 3 game lead and only 4 games remaining.
I really hope to see that happen so that Denver has time to work on some of the inconsistent parts of their game. I don’t know that I have a lot of faith in them going deep or any where in the playoffs as they have been so far this year. 3 of their losses have been to losing teams and their play can be called anything but consistent. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed them in what should be all but a sure thing. I really am looking forward to caring about the playoffs again.