The O'Reilly Report

Broncos Update Contributor Dan O'Reilly doesn't mince words when it comes to the Denver Broncos dismal performance in Kansas City. <br><br> Check out the full story in "The O'Reilly Report"

After the last several weeks, I've almost run out of synonyms for "stink up the place". But "stink up the place" the Broncos did. This was a tale of a Kansas City Chiefs team fighting for a playoff berth, and a Denver Broncos team just playing out the string until next year.

Oh, sorry, wrong teams. Let me start again.

This was a tale of a Broncos team that effectively gave up any claim they might have on a playoff berth, and a KC team that relished the chance to keep the Broncos out of the playoffs. Yes, technically the Broncos are still alive for the playoffs. But realistically, if the Broncos can't come prepared to lay a whuppin' on a 5-8 Chiefs team, they certainly won't be ready for the Titans (no matter who plays QB for them), nor for a red-hot Colts team.

I am so very tired of hearing "we know what we have to do" from each and every Broncos player, and then watching them go out and evidently prove that "what we have to do" is to blow important games with half-hearted efforts. I am so very tired of having to argue, either in front of the water cooler or via email, about whose fault the latest pass interception of Jake Plummer really was. And I am so very tired of excuses, period.

If there has been a story of this Broncos team, it's not been of Mike Shanahan. It's not been of Plummer, nor dropped passes, nor fumbles, nor incredibly poor giveaway/takeaway ratios, nor injuries, nor of picking the right players in the offseason. Plain and simple, it's been a story of lack of heart/guts/desire or you want to call it. This team was put together to win. They have the talent, both on the sidelines and on the field. They had the depth. They simply never seemed to really WANT the games badly enough. And, frankly, that's not Shanahan's fault. If you're a player in the NFL and you can't WANT a win badly enough to play your heart out each and every game, you have no business wearing a uniform. Period.

Offense: F
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"Offensive" would be a good word to describe a meager 17-point output from this unit. Yet again, Plummer decided it was better to pad his INT totem than his TD totem. I missed the second and so can't comment on it, but the first was CLEARLY mostly his fault. Yes it was a timing pattern to Lelie, who should have been there, but on the other hand, Plummer watched him the whole route and released the ball AFTER Ashley Lelie had passed the correct spot, and with 2 KC defenders boxing him on the sideline. NO WAY could Lelie have gotten back for the ball, and the KC defenders were reading the play so well that they broke on the ball before Lelie did. Bottom line: Shanahan coming out last week and praising Plummer, and promising that continued contract and $6M bonus (!!!) is looking more and more like a MASSIVE mistake. And by the way: there are many who say "well, who better to replace him"? My response: "what does it matter WHO loses the games for us?". At least his future megabucks of cap space could be spent shoring up other things like the OL and DL.

The OL simply broke down. They made the DL for KC look like a team of all-stars. Ben Hamilton, IMHO, has to go. He's missed more blocking assignments than any of the other linemen this year, and I'll bet he's right up there in penalties (false starts and holding).

The running game was non-existent, but then again, the Broncos got so far behind so quickly that they couldn't afford 7-8 minute drives running the ball by mid-2nd quarter. And this is the second straight game where Tatum Bell may be showing great speed, moves and acceleration, but he's finishing up by tripping over his own feet or neglecting to put the darned ball away!

Defense: F
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I totally agreed with the TV crew today: who could believe the Broncos have one of the top defense in the game, the way they played today? Yes, KC has a darned good offense. But they're not a 45-point offense (or at least, they shouldn't be) against this Denver D. No pass rush. The KC rushing game time and again ripped of 5-or-6 yard gains on a consistent basis. Stupid - REALLY stupid - penalties, especially personal fouls. Only D.J. Williams and Al Wilson seemed to really want to play the game today. Unfortunately, it takes 11 men in the NFL to have a defense.

Here's a telling stat: KC, who had no turnovers, only punted once in the game.

Here's another one: on successive drives, both of which ended in TD's, KC drove 90 yards and 99 yards, respectively.

Special Teams: D+
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The tone was set from the beginning with the Dante Hall runback. If there was a brighter spot today, it was that Jason Baker's kickoffs were much better, as was his punting. Traindos Luke had almost a 20 yard/return average for his kickoff returns (and he certainly got enough practice at THAT today).

Coaching: D
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The Broncos had no adjustment they could make to let them score points (except maybe to have kept Plummer on the bench?), or to keep KC out of the end zone. I don't fault Shanahan for going for it on the 4th-down plays. The team needed SOMETHING, ANYTHING, for a spark. I think I would have done the same thing. As for "why the bomb on the 4th-down try", well, why not? Plummer and Shanahan were heros for trying it (and making it) a week ago.

One more thing, WRT Shanahan. I think the calls for his head are really misguided and short-sighted. If the players don't feel they want to put out enough to win a crucial game like this, it's not a failing of the coaches; it's a failure of character of the players. Do I think some coaching changes are necessary? Yes. We need a better OL and DL coaches. We need (as we have for years) better special teams coaches. We likely need a better DB coach (no reflection on Spencer, though).

And what about Shanahan? Not this year, for sure. But if the Broncos are REALLY just a player or two from greatness, and we get those players, then next year his team better produce, or I will then think yes, it's time for him to go.

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