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I found this article interesting for all Denver Broncos fans across the web... i hope you'll like it. TODAY'S FEATURE STORY  

It was another fun one at the House the Taxpayers Built, wasn't it? In yet another outing, the Broncos laid an egg, especially their vaunted offense. And as a result, another once-promising season has all but gone up in smoke.

In yet another game, Mike Shanahan's team was flat, sloppy and ill-prepared. Denver once again committed turnovers that killed them, as quarterback Jay Cutler threw three interceptions that resulted in 13 points for the Dolphins. The Broncos helped Miami out by committing one silly penalty after another - lining up offsides, not having seven men on the line of scrimmage and other miscue that are the result of players not being mentally sharp. And Shanny's offense ran a grand total of 12 plays on their first four possessions, would-be marches that stalled before they ever got started.

What makes this performance all the more troubling is that is came on the heels of the Broncos bye week, a respite in which they vowed to correct the errors that had been derailing them of late. So much for that plan. Same old Broncos. Same old result. Four losses in five games.

This begs one important question: What buttons is Shanahan pushing? Whatever they may be, they aren't working. Right now, his team is a rudderless ship.

Who's going to lead the Broncos? Seemingly, the answer is no one.

The obvious choice would be the team's quarterback, but Cutler has gone into a major funk after his prolific start to the season. Right now, he's too busy throwing passes to the opposition or towels at the officials to inspire his teammates.


The next best option would be the guy who is arguably the team's best player - Brandon Marshall. But once again on Sunday, the wide receiver's me-first attitude reared its ugly head. As the game progressed, and his catch total remained at zero, Marshall began to sulk more and more. And when his team needed him most - on third-and-10 and fourth-and-10 during their final drive of the game - he was standing on the sideline, taking a breather after being unable to haul in a long pass.

What about their best defensive player? Nope. Champ Bailey is sidelined with the Broncos injury du jour - a pulled groin. But even when he is on the field, Bailey doesn't motivate his teammates. Mostly, he seems perturbed at the fact that they can play at his level. That's a fair enough assessment, but not exactly a rally-the-troops mentality.

That leaves one candidate - Shanahan. Based on the fact that he runs general managers, coordinators, quarterbacks and veteran players out of town at an alarming rate, it would seem as though the coach has faith in his ability to inspire his team. Need proof? Look at the bad characters he keeps bringing into town - Dale Carter, Daryl Gardner, Maurice Clarett, Travis Henry, et al - with the misguided belief that he can straighten them out. History suggests that he can't.

Which makes one wonder if Shanahan has ever been an inspiring leader. Before his record comes up as evidence that he is, consider the numbers.

When John Elway was compelling his teammates to give their all, the Broncos were 47-17 under Shanahan. With Jake Plummer under center, Denver was 40-19. Absent of those two guys, players who had a genuine respect in the locker room, Shanahan's teams have gone a pedestrian 47-46. That's 87-36 with a leader at quarterback, barely .500 without.

This is due in large part because Shanahan repeatedly alienates his team. Bold moves at quarterback - decisions driven by a misguided belief in his cherished "system" - are prime examples.

The year after the Broncos won their second-straight Super Bowl, Shanahan anointed quarterback Brian Griese as the team's opening day starter, despite the fact that Bubby Brister had held that position throughout training camp, had gone 4-0 in place of John Elway the previous season playing alongside what was basically the same team and was popular with his teammates. The Broncos started 0-4, saw All- Pro running back Terrell Davis' career get derailed by a knee injury suffered while trying to make a tackle after a Griese interception and finished 6-10. Oops.


Seven years later, Shanahan did the same thing. Despite having made it to the postseason in each of his three seasons in Denver, including a trip to the AFC Championship Game the year before, Shanahan sent a signal to quarterback Jake Plummer that his time with the Broncos was limited when he traded up in the draft to take the "quarterback of the future" - Cutler. Despite a 7-4 start to the 2006 season, the head coach pulled the plug on Plummer and put in the rookie. Denver finished 9-7 and out of the playoffs. And that pattern has continued. Plummer won more than two-thirds of the games he started in the orange and blue, and was a perfect three for three in getting Denver to the postseason. Cutler has gone 13-16 during his nearly two full seasons under center, including a very mediocre 9-7 mark at home, and the Broncos are headed toward their third-straight playoffs-less season.

Something is obviously amiss. Losses of 44-7, 41-3 and 41-7 in the past 13 months are evidence of this fact. Another middle-of-the-pack record is further proof.

With nobody to bail him out, Shanahan is left to grasp at straws. His team has no leadership, so they wander aimlessly through games. And it doesn't figure to get any better.

To paraphrase Rick Pitino: John Elway and Jake Plummer aren't walking through the doors at Dove Valley any time soon. So who is going to step up? Who's ready to be the Broncos leader?


For more with James Merilatt, tune into "Drivetime Sports" every weekday from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Mile High Sports Radio AM 1510


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Email: jmerilatt@milehighsports.com Phone: 1-303-650-1795 Fax: 1-303-524-3410 Web: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001gkfLvDPzMc-oc0qGpvH-2cSoOsCgScg1CGA6n3JcuAc7npW6fEX2yYcIKMMiFWROoapK5emCoaq2OJjCNGDOW8JTYjOZcGNl9Z-G6Gx95gDYf3l8_2OouA==

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