It's became a yearly tradition, hasn't it? The mid-season collapse has came and went. Let's just give a recap.
2002: 6-2 start 9-7 finish
2003: 5-1 start 10-6 finish
2004: 5-1 start 10-6 finish
2006: 7-2 start followed by two losses
It didn't happen in 2005 due to issues of luck I've already dealt with. But it's nice that the team is at least predictable in its under achievement. You can brace for the punch when you know it's coming. You ever notice that the Broncos are always talked about as contenders in the early season and then the media never mentions them after a certain point? All you Denver fans who bitch about the media ignoring us should realize they have a good reason to. With our good coach at the helm we're always pretenders without the combination of Elway and Davis.
Through this time period the Broncos have had two offensive coordinators, two defensive coordinators, two starting quarterbacks, seven starting running backs, with a rotating door in the secondary and defensive line. What has been the one constant class? I won't ask you to get out your number two pencils. The answer is Mike Shanahan.
You can blame all you want on Jake Plummer, but let's look at the problems the Broncos have had through the season. We'll save the quarterback situation for last.
-Rod Smith has been invisible (Can't blame Shanahan here, just age)
-The Broncos have no tight ends who can catch (Shanahan released Jeb Putzier)
-The Broncos cannot generate a pass rush (Shanahan released Trevor Pryce)
-Darrent Williams cannot cover (Why is he still starting after the Indy game?)
-Inconsistent running game (Shanahan traded Droughns, released Anderson)
As for Plummer, he's had some horrible games. But anybody who wants to place any loss other than the St. Louis one squarely on his shoulders needs to catch a clue. He didn't give up 34 points to Indy or allow San Diego to come back from a 17 point deficit. In the KC game, nobody played well and he had zero help.
But a bigger question looms larger. What was expected when this team decided to ignore its glaring holes and trade up to draft a quarterback?
Anybody wanting to blame Plummer or Griese for any of the Broncos past woes needs to also remember that these guys were both handpicked by Shanahan. Jay Cutler will be Shanahan's third hand picked quarterback.
Shanahan's job needs to ride on Cutler's performance. If it doesn't, this organization is doomed.