PDA

View Full Version : Kiszla: Still looking for answers


Bob Dole
12-20-2004, 06:06 AM
Kansas City, Mo. - All the 200-watt bulbs in the scoreboard could not shed light on how badly the Broncos were shattered by an ugly 45-17 loss to Kansas City.

The eyes of Denver players told the story. In a hushed locker room as disquieting as guilt and as lonely as regret, there were blank, 100-yard stares everywhere.

No excuses. No answers. No confidence.

After 10 years, the Broncos have turned into something never believed possible on a team coached by Mike Shanahan.

They are clueless.

"I wish I had an explanation," said quarterback Jake Plummer, unable to put his finger on why Denver has dropped five of its past eight games. "We're not pulling out the close ones, making the plays when it matters."

In the chill of a Denver morning, office vultures circling the coffee machine and Broncomaniacs with the phone number to all-sports radio on speed dial will angrily demand to know if this team lacks the heart of a champion.

"Are you asking me if we still have character because we got beat?" an angry Shanahan said.

No, the central problem with a team handcrafted by Shanahan is more disturbing.

What the Broncos do not have in adequate supply is talent.

With the exception of cornerback Champ Bailey, there is not a single Denver player who deserves an all-expense- paid vacation to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

Kansas City's Dante Hall returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. One of the five touchdown drives by the Chiefs covered 99 yards. Since Shanahan took over in 1995, no Denver defense had been humiliated by as many as 45 points in a single game.

"The defense just can't play bad in your eyes, huh?" linebacker Al Wilson growled. "We're not perfect, man."

It has gone far beyond the point of screaming against the inadequacies of Denver's pass rush, red-zone efficiency or punting.

Broncos safety Nick Ferguson felt like punching a wall. He was not alone.

While stepping over gear bags and tippy-toeing around bruised egos in the cramped visitors dressing room, it was impossible not to feel sorry for these Broncos.

And, when you think about it, that might be the saddest commentary of all.

How did it all go so wrong for the Broncos, who began the season with a 5-1 record, only to stumble all over themselves down the stretch? If November was a chilling misstep, then December feels like a pratfall on black ice.

"I don't know what you guys want me to say. This game was not a fun game. It was disappointing," said Plummer, his body language expressing frustration that words cannot describe. "You can restate the question any way you want. It was a disappointing day, a bad day."

So it has come to this for the Broncos in a season of too many slumped shoulders. Almost by rote, players have nothing left inside except clichés to throw a blanket over their mediocrity.

While reaching the postseason remains mathematically possible, all logic suggests Denver no longer is one of the top six teams in the AFC.

The Broncos will be on the road for Christmas, but can promise their families they'll be home to watch the playoffs on television.

"With all that was on the line for us, to come out and have the course of the game go the way that it did and not really even be competitive, it's extremely disappointing," said safety John Lynch, coming as close as anyone to openly doubting the commitment of teammates. "I thought we would've played with a little more urgency. We didn't."

Pride still matters to the Broncos. At least to the important ones.

To prove how much he cared, Wilson cursed the Broncos' fate.

After the defeat, veteran receiver Rod Smith methodically combed hair standing on end. Somebody made the mistake of asking him to explain how the Broncos could appear so helpless in a game that meant so much.

"Nope," Smith curtly replied, his competitive juices roiling with anger. "No explanation whatsoever."

After 10 years, the Broncos have become something nearly inconceivable on a team coached by Shanahan.

They are now objects of genuine, heart-aching pity.

Huh? Champ Bailey? Pro Bowl?

Dartgod
12-20-2004, 06:45 AM
Huh? Champ Bailey? Pro Bowl?
Yeah, no shit. I guess William Bartee has a chance after all. :shrug:

NewChief
12-20-2004, 06:53 AM
He's having fun with Plummer's little incident from last week.


"I wish I had an explanation," said quarterback Jake Plummer, unable to put his finger on why Denver has dropped five of its past eight games. "We're not pulling out the close ones, making the plays when it matters."

"I don't know what you guys want me to say. This game was not a fun game. It was disappointing," said Plummer, his body language expressing frustration that words cannot describe. "You can restate the question any way you want. It was a disappointing day, a bad day."

StcChief
12-20-2004, 07:41 AM
I guess this is a rebuilding year for Shanny ????