If Mike Shanahan has his way, and really, when doesn't Shanahan have his way, there will be quite a few changes before the team takes the field this May in mini-camps. The changes however, will more than likely involve names that few, if any, Broncos fans are even aware of.
Case in point is Bob Slowik, whom the Broncos are expected to hire within the week. Slowik, who served as an assistant with Shanahan on coach Charley Pell's staff at Florida from 1980-'82, most recently spent time as the Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator in 2004. His new duties with the Broncos would be as a defensive secondary coach, working closely with assistant Jimmy Spencer.
On the surface, the hiring may seem like an improvement, coming off another disappointing season that saw Denver fall to Indianapolis in the opening round of the playoffs, yet a closer look casts some serious doubts.
Slowik's reign in Wisconsin was anything but legendary. During the 2004 season the Packers gave up five first half touchdowns twice, once to Indianapolis in Week 3 and once to Philadelphia in Week 13.
Other concerning stats from last season include:
Fewest Opponent Turnovers, Season – 14
(Tied for last in NFL with Oakland)
Fewest Passes Intercepted By, Season – 7
(Tied for second to last in NFL with Oakland)
Fewest Forced Fumbles, Season – 11
(Last place in NFC)
Most Yards Allowed, Passing, Season – 246.4
(Twenty-fifth in NFL)
Most Yards Allowed, Net Passing, Season – 3,943
(Twenty-fifth in NFL)
Most Yards Allowed, Passing, Game – 464
(Packers new team record)
Most TD Allowed Passing, Season – 33
(Last place in NFL)
Highest Opponents' Passer Rating, Season – 99.1
(Thirty-first in NFL)
One season as defensive coordinator with the Packers and Slowik sets eight franchise record lows, finishes dead last in at least three defensive categories and hovers no better than thirteenth place among the sixteen NFC teams.
Ok, I understand that stats do not often paint the true picture of a coach's value, but I can't help but question the validity of a bad-to-worse scenario when it comes to the coaching staff.
In each of the above statistics, Denver finished well above Green Bay in secondary performance, and this came from an oft-injured group under the leadership of David Gibbs, who was fired in November, and his replacement, former player Jimmy Spencer.
With a defensive backfield littered with Pro Bowl caliber players, the Broncos have grown stale, and a change in coaching would be more than welcome, as long as it's a change for the better.
As far as Slowik is concerned however, this doesn't appear to be the case.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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