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Old 12-06-2004, 03:21 AM  
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Kiszla (Den. Post): It might be time for Shanahan to go

http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,...579082,00.html

Decade might be enough

By Mark Kiszla
Denver Post Staff Columnist


San Diego - Nobody in America knows more football than Mike Shanahan. But there comes a time when all the X's and O's begin to look the same, and a coach's message is reduced to white noise.

That time is now for Shanahan and the Bron-cos. The NFL's most beautiful mind has run out of fresh ideas.

After a 20-17 loss to San Diego, there was nothing new for Shanahan to say about this game, his team or where it all went wrong.

"When it was on the line, we couldn't get it done," said Shanahan, uttering an early epitaph for a season of false hope.

Any coach who understands clock management instinctively realizes when it is time to go.

"There's about a 10-year shelf life in this business, maximum," said Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, employed in the NFL since 1975.

The 10th season of Mike Shanahan in Denver seems doomed to end the same disappointing way as every one of his previous five years.

Departing the visitors locker room, Broncos linebacker Al Wilson angrily slam-dunked his playbook into a hamper.

With the team bus waiting, veteran receiver Rod Smith was too peeved to put his angst into words, declaring: "Got nothing to talk about. You saw the game."

We've all seen this performance by the Bron-cos too many times. A bad bounce here, a dumb turnover there, no luck anywhere. "Kind of the story of the year," Denver safety Kenoy Kennedy said.

Looking for a fresh edge, Shanahan traded for cornerback Champ Bailey, trying to show the NFL his genius also applies to defense. But the results of this bold experiment prove only that the Broncos are not significantly closer to being serious championship contenders than in any season since John Elway retired.

And so it goes. The story grows older every year.

"At the outset, it takes you a few years to get things in place as a coach. Then, if you have the good fortune to be able to stay there for some considerable length of time, it gets easier. But the minute you start getting into year nine and year 10, it becomes more difficult, because you keep trying to find different ways to get your message across," said Schottenheimer, who has won 174 regular-season games as head coach of four NFL franchises. "But try as you might, and I'm an English major, when you get so far down the road, it's pretty hard to find a new way to convey the message."

With a 9-3 record, the Chargers own a two-game lead in the AFC West. Win the division, and San Diego would be the fourth team to be best in the West since 1999. The other recent champions are Oakland, Kansas City and Seattle, which has moved out of the division.

Denver has been just another NFL franchise for longer than Broncomaniacs would like to admit.

Schottenheimer walked away from the Chiefs after 10 years. "I had a great run in Kansas City and could have stayed there," he said. "But I just felt it was time to give somebody else a chance."

Without a doubt, Shanahan has earned the right to determine when and how he wants to leave the Bron-cos.

Respect, however, has ceased to be the issue. How satisfying can sneaking in the back door of the NFL playoffs be for Shanahan? The pain of one loss bleeds into the next defeat, until a coach goes numb.

"It will hurt for a while, and we'll see what we can do," said Shanahan, a monotone voice carefully dispensed from a poker face. "You don't know what's going to happen down the road. You can take it a game at a time, and figure it out at the end."

As a man obsessed with control, Shanahan understandably hates unfounded rumors and idle speculation about his future. So we offer this as nothing more than a suggestion for a coach who has gone stale:

Notre Dame needs to start acting like an elite football program that's willing to pay the price for success. Shanahan could use a new challenge and gratification that money can't buy.

While it is conceivable he can discover another 1,000-yard rusher, develop a quarterback who is truly a worthy heir to Elway and maybe lead the Bron-cos back to the Super Bowl one of these years, the odds are that Shanahan's remaining time in Denver ultimately will end in disappointment.

There is absolutely nothing left for Shanahan to say that the Bron-cos have not already heard.

Nothing except goodbye.
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Old 12-06-2004, 03:25 AM   #2
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I haven't read Kiszla in 5 years. I won't start up now.
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Old 12-06-2004, 03:40 AM   #3
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This guy sounds really smart. I hope nobody reads him, I like having that loser in charge.
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Old 12-06-2004, 03:54 AM   #4
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Old 12-06-2004, 04:08 AM   #5
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Kiszla's secret to longevity is he is always shoving someone out the door. It turns out, that sells papers.
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Old 12-06-2004, 04:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John
Kiszla's secret to longevity is he is always shoving someone out the door. It turns out, that sells papers.
Speaking of shoving people out doors, did you get a hold of your stable of mods over at the OM? They were kind of running amock.

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Old 12-06-2004, 05:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Towne
This guy sounds really smart. I hope nobody reads him, I like having that loser in charge.

Shut up. Greg Robinson is on their short list.
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:25 AM   #8
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Kiszla always has something to bitch about, but this article actually didn't have the sting I expected.

In the back of my mind, I have been preparing myself for a Shanahan departure. I am not totally thrilled by that, but it's been a good run. Every time I hear about opening up in South Bend, I think of Shanahan's name.

I'd love for Shanahan to stay, simply b/c I can't think of another coach or assistant that I'd be interested in right now and I know I'm not interested in bringing in a brand new scheme and totally reshuffling the team.

If it happens, it happens... but, I think he'll stay.
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:40 AM   #9
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I want to thank Teej for dropping in on a thread about an author he doesnt read and hasnt read for 5 years to post, not once, but twice about how he doesnt care...Nice Work!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand...

As Ive allways said, his success had everything to do with Elway.
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:44 AM   #10
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Did anyone else see Shanarat's face as time ran out? Absolutely frickin' priceless.
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCTitus
I want to thank Teej for dropping in on a thread about an author he doesnt read and hasnt read for 5 years to post, not once, but twice about how he doesnt care...Nice Work!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand...

As Ive allways said, his success had everything to do with Elway.
Nah, they just can't cheat anymore.

Actually, the team during those years was filled with guys hungry for a title... Elway, Sharpe, Neil Smith, Rod Smith, Easy Ed, Atwater, Braxton and the list goes on. Sure, having Elway - TD - Sharpe on your team never hurts to inflate your greatness, but I would still take Shanahan over most coaches on Sunday.

There are possibly 4 coaches that I would hedge on over Shanahan, but looking at his peers, guys like Cowher and Fisher that have been with their teams longer, I'm glad we've had Shanahan for a decade.
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:50 AM   #12
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how good does it feel to wake after the Chiefs win over Oakland and the Broncos lose to San Diego?

I'm going to be in an excellent mood today.
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:51 AM   #13
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That's fine...you take Shanahan and I'll take Elway and we'd see who would get there first. I really like my chances.

I'll never understand the insistence to downplay Elway's impact on that club for 2 decades.
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the Talking Can
how good does it feel to wake after the Chiefs win over Oakland and the Broncos lose to San Diego?

I'm going to be in an excellent mood today.

My thoughts exactly.

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Old 12-06-2004, 07:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCTitus
That's fine...you take Shanahan and I'll take Elway and we'd see who would get there first. I really like my chances.

I'll never understand the insistence to downplay Elway's impact on that club for 2 decades.
I never understand why my comments are always viewed as downplaying the greatness of Elway. Elway *almost* single handedly took them to the SB on his own 3 times and they were all horrible losses.

Was it all Reeves? Was it the fact they never had a true ground game or a really good defense? All I know is that Shanahan came in, brought in a bunch of guys that were hungry via free agency (Romo, Ed, Neil Smith, Schlereth and numerous others) ... put in a solid system built around Elway & Sharpe, featuring Davis and they won 2 titles.

I don't know why that view is considered downplaying Elway's greatness.
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