Plenty to Prove For Broncos and Jaguars
When the Broncos and Jaguars kickoff Sunday afternoon, there will be a certain sense of relief amongst the head coaches of both teams. Both teams were surprising playoff contenders into November of last year before the bottom simply fell out.
The Broncos were the proverbial "Belles of the Ball" last season when they raced off to a 6-0 start. Their somewhat brash head coach Josh McDaniels had seemingly pulled all the right strings despite receiving harsh criticism for his decision to trade away Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton.
"We just felt as an organization that we got to a point where it was made very clear to us that we were not going to be able to get to a resolution where Jay Cutler could be on our football team," McDaniels said following the move.
By December when the Broncos were in a complete free-fall, losing eight of their final 10 games, their 6-0 start seemed to be feel like it happened years, not months earlier.
"There's a lot of things that go into being able to sustain success and we didn't do that, we weren't able to do that," McDaniels explained. "It's not one thing that's wrong. I think there's a lot of things you evaluate at the end of the season and you're trying to do that during the season and sometimes you can and sometimes you can make changes that affect that and sometimes you can't."
Although the Jaguars season-ending nose-dive wasn't quite as severe as the Broncos, Jacksonville saw their team go from a top wildcard seed to watching the playoffs from home as the team dropped its final four contests.
"I'm not happy not to be in the tournament, honestly I'm not," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "I wanted very much to find a way to get in there and it didn't happen. So we're disappointed with that, but I don't want to throw away all the work and effort that went into this year."
The team's final record of 7-9 in 2009 was probably indicative of their actual talent level with a somewhat weak schedule. Still, in the final quarter of the last two seasons, the Jaguars have dropped seven of eight games.
Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri believes that he and his team have learned from the disappointing finishes.
"You have to finish," Nwaneri stated. "We had issues coming out in games and not finishing. We had opportunities to seal things up and didn't get it done. We had an opportunity late against Miami to get a win, and we didn't get it done there. We had an opportunity against Indianapolis, and didn't get it done there. From there it kind of busted at the seams. As a team we understand that we're going face adversity. We're going to have times where things aren't going the way we expected them to go."
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is excited to get back to football that counts.
"I can't wait; I can't wait," Del Rio iterated. "You get an opportunity every year. So the great thing is there is a lot of interest, a lot of opinion, a lot of intrigue about the game. Everybody across the league has been working hard in preparation for this season and now we're getting ready to kick it off, so there's an excitement level that is a lot of fun."
For both the Broncos and the Jaguars, this Sunday will mark a brand new start and a chance to put last season's end-of-the-season debacles' behind them.
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