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Published on 06/07/2010 at Mon Jun 07 13:34.
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Mike Sando over at ESPN has compiled an interesting chart that shows how each of the NFL teams stack up in terms of player retention. He points out that most of the top preforming teams end up very close to the top of this list (the Vikings actually claim the top spot with 94.4% retention). Likewise, poor preforming teams tend to settle at the bottom (the lowest two are Detroit and Seattle). And while there are some exceptions to the rules, I find the fact that the Broncos are very close to the bottom something that gives me pause.

At 27th in the league the Broncos’ 72.9% ranks only slightly higher than the abysmal Buffalo Bills at 71.2% and the Redskins at 70.3%. Considering Shanahan is rebuilding the Redskins for the ground up, what does that say about the state of the Broncos at the end of last season?

One could certainly argue that Josh McDaniel‘s ‘team oriented’ system leads to more turnovers than most teams; however, Belichick’s Patriots don’t show that trend (they rank 5th overall).

So, what does this all mean? Are we truly as far from the playoffs as the Lions and Bills?

I personally don’t think so. But I do believe this very clearly demonstrates how deeply McDaniels is continuing to change our team. And while I understand and appreciate what our new coaches had to do in Josh’s first year, I find it troubling that we’re continuing to jettison starters at this pace.

Let me point this out… Mike Nolan has my great respect. He came into a real defensive mess last off-season and without any real ‘outside’ help (Dawkins being the most notable exception), he turned around one the sloppiest units in the league. ONE off-season – with very few personnel changes. Unlike what Nolan did on the defensive side of the ball, McDaniels gutted our offense and traded away our pro-bowl talent. He’s drafted running backs and quarterbacks for goodness sake. The results in 2009 was to plunge the league’s 2nd ranked offense in ’08 into the middle of the pack at 15th overall.

Now, we’re having nearly the same level of personnel change in year two of McDaniels reign. Mind you, I’m not writing off our chances this year. I think we still have enough talent in Denver to make the playoffs, but I certainly want to point out that most teams that are bleeding starters like Denver has the last two years haven’t fared well on the field.

As all my Republican friends keep telling me, “Change for change’s sake isn’t good for anyone”… Let’s hope that McDaniels has, not only A plan, but a plan that produces a Super Bowl caliber team. :)


  • kerry

    kinda hard to retain players when the coach alienates the best players on the team. half of retaining players is them wanting to be there also. when guys believe in thier coach then they wanna be there. no faith in the coach means the TEAM becomes divided. i find it VERY hard to believe every single player has bought into McD. i mean am i the only one who saw alot of players quit down the stretch last year? thats what happens when players dont believe in their coach. hence them wanting out the next year.

  • CompUser

    “One could certainly argue that Josh McDaniel’s ‘team oriented’ system leads to more turnovers than most teams; however, Belichick’s Patriots don’t show that trend (they rank 5th overall).”

    Belichick hasn't completely rebuilt his team in the past two seasons. This is like comparing apples and oranges. Obviously the Broncos would be at or near the bottom of this list. How many players have been on the roster more than two years? Three or four?

  • Rich

    I really wish you morons would shut the hell up about him alienating players. Quit listening to what the talking heads on tv tell you and listen to what the players are saying. I bet you'd be surprised at what you hear.

  • Pete

    So what, the Colts were in the super bowl, and they are only 1 spot ahead of the Broncos (26th). The Chiefs suck and they are #7, the Raiders suck and they are 12th. While the Chargers, who have a stranglehold on both those teams ranks a lowly 18th.
    I put no stock in that, and it is just a desperate attempt to meet a deadline for an article by his boss.

  • Wiseguy

    I agree Big_Pete…I only check this site every other week or so and a lot of time there are no new articles. This could be my last visit…See ya!

  • Wiseguy

    Oh…as an add on for not comming back….. I forgoet that Kerry the troll…lives on this site.

  • NMBronc

    I would expect this, considering McD is transitioning to players who fit his Off and Def systems.

  • Jk80906

    Stupidly repeating “2nd ranked offense” and “our pro bowl players” completely disqualifies whatever followed.

    This was a waste if time.

  • Dan

    Go position by position and look at our depth upgrades. Argue however you want on our starters, but for a long season, we are getting better depth everywhere. I agree our starting quarterback position will take some time, but that is McD's specialty. If you want to cry about BM so be it, but we are going to be solid at WR too when our two rookies get healthy. I like what we are doing, and you should too.

  • kerry

    dude no player is gonna walk out and say “oh coach McD has alienated us and divided the locker room” DUH!! i mean im not gonna walk out and say my boss is a piece of shit right in the middle of the office where he is sitting. id be fired in a heartbeat, as would ANY player that said anything detrimental about MCD. you gonna tell me every single player just loves McD?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  • Nisse

    i whould have been more upset if we were at the top of the chart considering how bad we finished last year.
    not doing anything is taking a step back.
    shanahan had as much change his second year and u cant have “a great offseason” if you dont do anything.
    the broncos shouldnt worry. but the chiefs should.

  • guest

    Colts see something Broncos didn't: they claimed former Broncos QB Tom Brandstater on waivers. He will compete to backup Peyton Manning.

  • hope

    Ya I wish they could of fired Kyle Orton in stead of Tom Brandstater.Now crash and burn under Kyle this year agian.

  • guest

    No shit..they don't have TIM F**KING TEBOW on their 3rd string….

  • Pennington

    He will also bleed pieces of the Broncos playbook ;-)

  • BroncoFan87

    “Mike Nolan… came into a real defensive mess last off-season and without any real ‘outside’ help (Dawkins being the most notable exception), he turned around one the sloppiest units in the league. ONE off-season – with very few personnel changes”

    Wow, this is completely off base. May I remind you that in addition to Dawkins, other notable “outside help” for Nolan consisted of defensive starters Renaldo Hill, Andre Goodman, Andra Davis, Mario Haggan, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean, Le Kevin Smith, basically every starter and contributor on the defensive side of the ball not named Champ Bailey, DJ Williams, or Elvis Dumervil.

    I understand that McD haters have to grasp for straws in order to find real reasons to hate the refreshing direction he has set the team on(which is further evidenced by your mentioning of 08's '2nd ranked offense', while failing to mention that it was also 16th ranked in points, but then if you were fair about it and mentioned that, it wouldn't sound as good, right?), but please, don't rewrite history.

  • Jonathan Douglas

    My point with Nolan was a that our 'star' players were kept and used with mostly second-hand assistance in FA. Wouldn't you have been against Nolan cutting or trading the folks you named (Champ, DJ and Elvis) just so he could bring in Orton-like replacements? The fact is, Mike Nolan DIDN'T ditch his biggest talent on Defense and McDaniels DID on offense.

    It was a dumb move and I stand firmly by that; however, this was mostly a story to point out that the first year cutting was continuing into year two. I didn't say ANY of these individual moves were good or bad… I'm just saying it's something to note and watch as a trend.

  • Jonathan Douglas

    I agree on the defensive side… I do not agree on offense.

    Removing Tebow for a sec, you have a starter at QB that was mediocre, you have a WR group that lacks a star receiver, you've ditched your best receiving TE and, most horrific, you've abandoned the Zone Blocking scheme that provided Denver with one of the best running games in the league. No, I don't buy that the offense is in a better place today than when Shanahan left. I have to say, the only thing I'm even remotely interested in (offensively) is Tim Tebow; however, I fail to see how McDaniels' 'no-all star' system is going to take advantage of a player like Tim Tebow (who is NOT a 'system' QB).

  • Bill

    How dumb is this? New coach, of course there will be turn around. Before that, but defensive problems? It is just obvious the turnover is going to come before you get the team that will stick together. If you notice, we got rid of more players than by their choice. Divided locker room? I highly doubt it. New team, new attitude. It is about time!! Coach has been here one year and people are trying to comapare him to a tenured coach. Give me a break.

  • Robbie

    So check it, we will have players leaving and coming in while McD finds players to fit his system. His system is much different than Shannys was so obviously a lot of the players wont fit. I never understand why people come on Broncos news sites like this to argue? Are we not all Broncos fans? Yes, this site isn't that great. There are rarely ever any new posts. is wayyyyy better incase you don't know about it.

  • herc_rock

    Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  • herc_rock

    There sure is a lot of bitching about free entertainment.

  • Common Man!

    lol yeah because Nolan was the one deciding who stayed on defense. Common man!

  • kerry

    oh we all know about it. we just dont go there because most of us arent a bunch of blind following, kool-aid swilling McD lovers. any bunch of morons can just all agree on the same thing (Like at the MHR) and that doesnt make for any type of discussion at all. the arguments are where the REAL discussions and debates happen. we arent a bunch of kumbaya singing McD worshippers. thats why this site beats the MHR hands down every time. hell even the DP beats the MHR. and you can tell John Bena i said all this. we may not all agree here, but its brings about equal and unbiased opinions. over there you disagree and they boot you off forever.

  • RCT930

    I noticed the Colts are toward the bottom and just one slot above the Broncos and the Saints are in the lower half. Yet the Bengals are number 3 and the Chiefs number 7.

    I think Sando has too much time on his hands.

  • Dan


    I like JD Walton at center. I like Harris back and healthy at right tackle. I love Clady and he is due back soon at left tackle. I like Kuper at right guard. I like Beadles or Seth Olsen at left guard. I like a stronger more fit Moreno with Buck to help out. At QB, I like Brady and Tim at back-up over Simms and TB. I like a healthy Kyle with our improved o-line. I like Thomas as our #1 WR, Gaffney as our #2 WR, and Royal in the slot. I like Hochstein and Eric Olsen as back linemen. I like Marquez Branson as much as I liked Tony minus the constant foot injury drama. I like Daniel Graham to block and catch at TE. I like Decker, Willis, and Lloyd as back-up WRs pushing for starting time. Dude, there is plenty of good news on our offense too. It is hard to let go of Cutler's big arm and BM's big catches, but our offense and our defense will be better next year with an easier schedule. We should make the playoffs, and if we don't we will have a top 15 1st and 2nd round draft pick and Miami's low 2nd round pick (because they have a very hard schedule and will not make the playoffs). This team is headed in the right direction and we get to enjoy every game! Life is great.

  • Jonathan Douglas

    You're comparing 2010 with 2009. Try comparing the starting lineup at the end of 2008 with what we have now. Has Josh McDaniels HELPED our team's offense? That's my question… Are we better off now compared to when Shanny was fired?

    I LOVE Clady. I like Royal and Graham and Harris too, but those were all guys Shanahan brought on board – not Josh's hires so you can't claim them as shinning examples of Josh's brilliance.

    Let me put it this way… which offense would you rather have?

    QB: Cutler
    RB: <anyone – we have zone blocking>
    FB: Hillis
    WR: BM, Royal, Stokley
    OL: Harris, Kuper, Weigmann, Hamilton, Clady
    TE: Schefler, Graham


    QB: Orton
    RB: Moreno <with NO zone blocking>
    FB: N/A
    WR: Gaffney, Thomas, Royal
    OL: Harris, Kuper, Walton (rookie), Olsen, Clady
    TE: Graham, Branson

    Given these both were backed by the same defense, who's got a stronger line up? Isn't that the real question here? Prove to me we have stronger players now than when Josh entered Dove Valley.

    And prove to me that as we phased out the zone blocking we did better down the stretch last year… really? I seem to remember we sucked towards the end of the year last year.

    We've ditched one of the most prolific O-line systems in football and you feel that a rookie center will fill in just fine for a player like Shanahan had in Tommy Nails or Casey Weigmann?!

    “headed in the right direction”

    I. do. not. buy. it.

  • Jonathan Douglas

    That out of the way… I'm almost embarrassed to say, but I'm giddy about Tebow.

    I think it was dumb move to ditch a mobile, strong-armed QB only to have to pay through the nose for an untested new one two years later, but that's beside the point.

    I just find Tebow's untamed ferocity and passion for the game wonderfully addictive. I know the kid is wild and uncouth, but damn if he doesn't inspire me to continue watching OTA video. I'm actually looking forward to preseason games just because of Timmy.

    I feel a bit like a teenage girl watching Twilight… It's dumb and ridiculous, but that somehow doesn't change the fact that I'm excited to see it. lol

  • BroncoJoe

    Kerry you just like arguing with people. If someone said the sky is blue you would argue and say it's green!!!

  • jibbons

    •Comparing a coach who has held his position for 10 years to a coach who took over a team just over a year ago is dumb
    •Ignoring the fact that multiple successful teams are near the bottom is dumb (Colts, Cardinals, Eagles, Jets)
    •Clinging to the old 2nd ranked offense (if only yards counted as points) is dumb
    •Pretending Nolan 'fixed' the defense without turning over the starting roster is dumb (6 out of 11 starters on defense were new to the Broncos last year, compared to 2 on offense) is dumb
    •If you think Andra Davis, Ben Hamilton, or Casey Weigman should be starting for the Broncos this year you are dumb

    I don't think Jonathan is dumb, but this article sure makes him seem that way.

    Wiseguy is right, this site has gone to crap. Maybe I'll be back for the caption contests, but not till then.

  • Dan


    You sound a little bit like Ellen Glasgow who said, “All change is not growth; as all movement is not forward.” However, besides Tebow, do you really feel that we have no growth or forward movement on offense by picking up Hochstein, Gaffney, Beadles, Walton, Eric Olsen, Thomas, and Decker? Add in McD's ability to continue coaching-up Kyle, Brady, and Tim at a surprising pace…Add in a stronger more fit Moreno…Subtract Cutler, BM, Shanny, an older Hamilton, often injured Schefler, and zone blocking…Do you really feel that strongly that we are moving backwards? I guess we agree to disagree…We will just have to wait and see what the season brings.

  • ETL

    I'd take Orton over Cutler. I'd take Stevie Wonder over Cutler though.

    However the rest of your points make no sense, much like this article.
    RB: Anyone? ZBS? Because ever back did did so well in 2008. The ZBS only works when you have a great cohesive o-line set. Hence why it has been spotty for Denver over the past few years.
    OL: I am so damn glad that Wiegmann and Hamilton are gone. That was a great decision my McDaniels.
    WR: I'm glad that Marshall is gone, he is a me first player that may have a lot of receptions, but they don't mean much. I also love Decker, and Thomas has all the physical ability to dominate.
    TE: I'm even more glad that Scheffler is gone. Branson will see much more playing time because he's actually healthy and not running his mouth. Scheffler may be talented, but he's never healthy, what use is that?
    FB: Don't ever argue about a fullback. What's next, equipment managers?

    It's obvious that you're still in this “Bring back Shanahan and Cutler” daze. I understand that you miss the “magic” of the old 1997 and 1998 teams, but they're long gone, and football isn't played like that anymore. The game changes every few years and Mike Shanahan refused to adapt, that is why he's gone. Shanahan may do very well in Washington because he is actually changing the way he does things. Funny how getting fired does that to you?

    Also player retention is a misleading statistic, an interesting one, but very misleading.

  • ETL

    Also, you fail to mention that McDaniels drafted 3 interior linemen. All with great resumes. That is moving forward. Drafting 3 defensive linemen with crappy resumes (while trading up to grab 2) and they all bust, that is not. Which coach did which?

  • iskabibble

    So Chiefs and Bengals do a relatively good job at retention, while Indy does a relatively poor job???? CHART IS USELESS!

  • 2010mlb

    this article is so hot that attrcat me to see…aho aho

  • Jonathan Douglas

    Dan, I don't dislike every player McD has brought in. I like lots of them; however, I felt like we've taken unnecessary steps backwards before going forward (on offense). It was (and is) my belief that our offense in 2008 was play-off caliber (even with the terrible luck we had at RB). It was our Defense that was in shambles. In a Madden game I'd LOVE to see what a Mike Nolan run defense and Mike Shanahan offense would have done in 2009.

    That said, I don't want Shanahan BACK. Pat Bowlen gave Shanahan plenty of time to figure out how to improve the defense and, in the end, Mike just didn't get it done. Shanahan was fired for cause and I won't second guess that call on Pat's part.

    For me the issue I have is with McD's inability to work with the all-stars he had on offense. Mike had no issues with Cutler and he never had BM misbehaving during practice. Yes, both of these players made equally bad choices for their parts, but I expect more 'management' skills from our Head Coach than from our youngest players.

    McD could very well be steering us toward better days this off-season. But I'll need to see something really special out on the field before I'll except the fact that McD's overhauled offense could keep pace with Shanny's '08 group.

  • south africa vs mexico live

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  • Jonathan Douglas


    I agree with you that retention is an 'interesting' but not necessarily 'meaningful' stat. It's something to watch in year two, but not something that should panic fans.

    Now, we totally disagree on the offense's ('08 vs '10)…

    First off, Zone Blocking is what made our team GREAT. I can't believe it's only been one full season and we're re-writing history already. Gibb's blocking scheme gave us more 1000 yard rusher than any other system in existence – you can't argue that. Mediocre running backs produced yardage in that system and good running backs put up HUGE yards. Saying it didn't work in 2008 is just silly. We went through 7 running backs that year due to injuries – don't you remember that?? It wasn't an issue of the scheme is was the fact that every week we had a new runner lining up behind Cutler.

    Secondly, I would take our O-line in 2008 any day over most teams out there now. Yes, Hamilton struggled, but that line produced the lowest sacks in the league! They were very good – let's not forget that!

    Third, Cutler and BM are in the past. period. But let's not let the Denver Fever for hating anyone that's no longer playing in Orange and Blue cloud the facts – that combo was freaking awesome! We've not seen that kind of dynamic pair since… wow… Not sure I can come up with one since Elway and Sharpe back in the day. They just were on FIRE. To this point, I'll mention that it was only with THIS combo running that players like Eddie Royal were able to get HUGE yardage. Drop the dynamic duo and Eddie's performance also gets killed.

    Lastly, I'll just give you the point about Schefler. I don't think that's a HUGE loss one way or the other; however, we'll get in fist-a-cuffs over the Full Back topic. You don't mess with my FB's — I'm just a GIANT fan of those dudes from as far back as our SB teams and Howard Griffith. We don't have them now… I get it. However, I'll always WANT one. This is just a personal preference – not a judgment on strategy or coaching. :)

    Thanks for your comments! Have a dialog about the Broncos is always fun… even when we don't agree! lol

  • Jonathan Douglas

    I'll be honest, Herc, online entertainment just hasn't been the same after you ended your bronco blog…. damn, I miss the profane awesomeness that was your blog. :(

  • ETL

    “Gibb's blocking scheme gave us more 1000 yard rusher than any other system in existence – you can't argue that.”

    You're right, I can't argue the fact that Gibbs' blocking scheme was amazing. However, Gibbs left awhile back and Rick Dennison was good but not even close to his predecessor's level. I think that the PBS will be fine with the guys Denver has (given Clady and Harris are healthy).

  • MacKlure

    This doesn't make sense.

    Most of the teams on top have had their coaches in place for 3 + years. When a coach moves in, it's usually because the team didn't play well (Colts last year being an exception of course), so the new coach has to re-build the team. Shanahan, which we all agree is a good (or great) coach, is rebuild the Redskins base on his system just like McDaniels. This will change when they will haev been in position for 3 + years.

  • denverfanindallas

    bring back the create-a-caption!

  • RCT930

    I don't recall the Cutler-Marshall combo being any more awesome than the Orton-Marshall combo. In fact, with Cutler at the helm, I remember several dropped passes and fumbles by Marshall at clutch moments in key games. I also recall a lot of picks at key moments.

    You made an interesting point about Royal suffering because the Cutler-Marshall combo was absent. So I looked into '08 vs. '09 numbers and discovered 1) there weren't as many passes to go around and 2) Gaffney's production factored in as well.

    In '09 we ran 100 more plays than we passed (440 to 341). In '08, Shanny's run vs. pass plays were even (386 to 387). Specifically, in '08 Cutler had 75 more attempts and 48 more completions than Orton had in '09. (Simms only had 5 completions for 23 yards so I don't include his “contribution”).

    In other words, Cutler's 48 more completions plus Gaffney's 54 receptions = lower production from Royal and Stokley. Royal had 48 fewer receptions. (91 in '08 vs. 37 in '09) and Stokley had 30 fewer (49 in '08 vs. 19 in '09). Scheffler dropped from 40 to 31 receptions. Food for thought, anyway…

    Also, I think the issue of McD being able to manage “all-stars” is erroneous and over-hyped. First, this assumes that Cutler is an all-star. He might be some day. However, at present, he's got a long way to go. Second, the biggest problem with Cutler is that he's an unlikeable leader and McD picked up on this immediately. Certain guys just have it, you know? Charisma. Magnetism. A special leadership quality. Whatever we want to call it. Cutler's demeanor and personality don't measure up for a top-flight QB in the NFL. He's petulant, a pouter, and he doesn't look the part with his helmet nearly pulled over his eyes. (Seriously, has anyone else noticed that? His head doesn't look right in his helmet). Orton doesn't have the “leader of men” quality either but he was a stop-gap until McD could find his guy (which appears to be Tebow). But I digress…

    Scheffler has talent but he is nowhere close to being an all-star. Marshall is a star but he began his relationship with McD by threatening a holdout, loafing and being an ass in training camp. That marriage was doomed from the start. Furthermore, Marshall had an axe to grind because of how the organization misdiagnosed and treated his hip injury. He wanted out. Period. And McD seems to be managing superstars Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey just fine.

    My two cents anyway…

  • Jonathan Douglas

    A very fair and thoughtful reply… damn, I love our Bronco community. You just would NEVER see stats and civil discussions like this on a Raider's forum!

    Thanks for the food for thought… I'll look into some numbers myself and get back to you.

  • Jonathan Douglas

    Yep. You'd see MAJOR turnover in year one and some additional turnover in year two… I simply pointed it out as I found the info interesting.

    Now, IF in year three we're still 8-8 and bleeding play-makers Bowlen is going to have to step in and boot this kid to the curb.

  • robtink242

    What ever you say dude… This site is great and arguments only make it better… kerry is totally correct… MHR is boring because there aren't opinions.



  • malaci

    Truthfully as a broncos fan its almost impossible to not be confident in them. But now its kind of hard to find our personality. the last year with shanny i thought our personality was simply cutler, marshall, royal and some scheffler. but now i am really having a hard time thinking about our personality. Before nolan went to the phins i was very confident in our defense but now dont know what to expect at all.

  • David

    Uh Jon, in 2008 Marshall was taking time off at TC and Shanny had to tell him to get his butt back on the field or else… Remember?

  • hope

    the new broncos personality is Brain Dawkins,Champ Baily,Ronaldoe hill,Andre Goodman,Dj willams,Jamal Willams,Justin Bannan,Oh hell broncos new personality is its defence and a hell of a defence it will be.