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Is John Elway’s starting to feel like Mike Shanahan’s ending

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  • Is John Elway’s starting to feel like Mike Shanahan’s ending

    Pretty good article comparing both Elway’s and Shanahan’s careers as general managers for the Denver Broncos.

    You ever have that déjà vu feeling? Like you have seen the end of this movie before? Well, I think I’m having it right now.

    It’s not the good kind of déjà vu that reminds you of an awesome vacation or a great memory. It’s the kind of déjà vu that gives you that sinking feeling in the bottom of your stomach.

    Like the past four Broncos seasons.

    First off, let’s start by saying this isn’t an article calling for John Elway’s firing. That is too easy. And John Elway doesn’t get fired. He goes out on his own terms. We know this.

    Also, Elway’s career as a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback-turned-Super Bowl winning general manager is unprecedented. Name one more guy who has done what Elway has done in the history of professional sports. You can’t. There isn’t one.

    However, the further away any team gets away from its championship glory days, the deeper the hole a team digs for itself as they try to rekindle the magic of yesteryears. Eventually, general managers and coaches get fired and you are forced to start from scratch.

    That also feels like what is happening here in Denver with Elway closing in on a decade of doing the job. Not just with the atmosphere around the team and around Broncos country but the quality of player the Broncos have been able to bring in.

    Everyone remembers Mike Shanahan and the Broncos mid-90’s rise capped by two World Championships. Every move Shanny made paid off; adding Gary Zimmerman, trading a second-round pick for Tony Jones to solidify one of the greatest offensive lines ever, getting Alfred Williams to come and add some style and substance, and that is all to complement diamond-in-the-rough-additions like Terrell Davis-Ed McCaffrey-Shannon Sharpe. Shanny couldn’t miss.

    He couldn’t miss when he has a world class quarterback and the Broncos had a reputation for being one of the elite franchises in sports. But then after “this one’s for ‘you’” and Elway retired everything changed.

    Shanny stopped getting dealt blackjacks and instead started signing jack-crap. Players did not want to come play with Brian Griese and everything changed. Shanahan then started missing on signings like Denard Walker, Niko Koutouvides and Todd Sauerbrun.

    Shanny even got desperate and started signing bums like Travis Henry, Darryl Gardener, Dale Carter and Eddie Kennison. All who lived up perfectly to their reputations.

    The same thing has happened to Elway.

    After Peyton Manning arrived, the greatest free agent addition in the history of pro sports, it was easy. Elway also added Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and Emmanuel Sanders to a team that way already really good. Those teams went to two Super Bowls winning one, and one the greatest offensive shows in NFL history (55 TDs and 5,500 yards in 2012) and great defenses of all-time (No Fly Zone) was built over 5 seasons.

    However, post-Peyton, it seems like Elway can’t buy a bucket. From Seimian-to-Lynch-to-Keenam-to-Flacco-to-Lock it’s been awful.

    And cap-crippling misses like Ja’Wuan James, A.J. Bouye, Ronald Leary and Marquette King, highlight a few of Elway’s misses on some pretty expensive talent. Sometimes, despite even how good it was at one time, it gets too far away from a general manager to bring it back.

    Not that the right quarterback can’t change everything for an NFL franchise. There will be two or three in this next draft who will be great NFL players. But will Elway want to do this entire thing all over again?

    I would say The Duke is pretty close to handing the keys off to someone else.

    And I am definitely not mad at Elway. Quite the opposite actually. Without Elway the football player the Broncos might be looked at like we look at the Browns-Cardinals-Jets. But Elway turned this franchise into a legacy NFL brand the same way we look at the Steelers-Giants-49ers.

    And without Elway the general manager Manning goes to the Titans or 49ers and wins a Super Bowl in a different uniform.

    What happens post-Elway?

    Who knows, but it feels like we are now better off trying to find out.
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  • #2
    That is a tough one. In some ways yes, but the situations are not the same in my opinion. In 2008 I think the reason Shanahan was disposed of was because the expectations of now having that elite quarterback, an offense that was capable of competing, and to have positioned ourselves for a playoff birth to then choke like we did, it was so disheartening. Now though, I haven't felt that optimism for the future with an Elway built team for a long time, and I think if anything Elway is more deserving right now to go than Shannahan was in 2008. I would have loved to see Jay Cutler and that offense with a capable defensive group. But like the article says, I am very thankful for the early years of Elway, and bringing Manning here, it doesn't happen without him. But like all good things, they must come to an end, and the good times of an Elway regime continue to be pushed further and further into the rear view mirror.

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    • #3
      Signing great FAs is not the sign of a great gym.

      PM came to this team because of the talent McDaniels drafted. Then the FAs came because of PM. Most of our success has little to do with Elway. He should’ve been fired
      -Bronco in UT


      While I both agree and disagree with many posts in this thread I have to lean towards champ on this one. Jay really needs to learn how to manage the game better, and also to learn that you don't have to go for the big play EVERY time on every drive. There is something to be said to check the ball down and live to fight another day. -Great Post Cut the Excuses out please. sigh...

      Helll of a post

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Champ>NFL View Post
        Signing great FAs is not the sign of a great gym.

        PM came to this team because of the talent McDaniels drafted. Then the FAs came because of PM. Most of our success has little to do with Elway. He should’ve been fired
        I’m the last person to defend John Elway but I believe PFM came here for him. Every team vying for his services had talent but I think playing for John is what tipped the scales!
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        • #5
          Elway of course deserves credit for Manning making his way here, no question. Someone who also doesn't get credit often for Manning coming here is John Fox. Manning always referred to Fox in the decision making process, in his retirement speech, and local media members have often talked about Fox being the unsung hero of Mannings decision. Fox also might be one of the best moves Elway made, he was a big part in transitioning the organisation back to a respectable place after McDaniels.

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          • #6
            I can't really defend much anymore. I've been one of the biggest supporters of John and while I think his last handful of drafts have been knocked out of the park he has to have the heat brought on him for the coaching and QB debacle

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            • #7
              this kind of reminds me of going on the broncos espn message board around was it 2006 - 08 , anyone else remember the name's TD's3nOut , morgan , and others , and the thread was it the following season started by randall that went on forever about the broncos improving under mcdaniels , it was all elway even then , no surprise old big teeth came back , only when a new owner is firmly in place will the affection or affectation merry go round from the 80's be finally quenched for me .

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              • #8
                I am not sure if Elway is on a similar path as Shanahan. He could be. But for starters, lets just say both of them were highly successful leaders.

                But I did feel like Shanahan had lost his "magic" at some point, when some did not. It felt like he, like many others, had a process/style/strategy, that worked really well, but was not adaptive to change. I see that in many folks, football or otherwise. Times change but they do not have that capability, to go with the new flow or even better, be a front runner. It's like the simplicity but significance of "Who Moved My Cheese".....if you keep going to the same place and the cheese is still missing, YOU have to move on. Some have difficulty dealing with that concept.

                I am not saying Elway is in that place. But since his first few years, when he was hitting homeruns all over the park, it has not been as innovative/successful. I have repeated a number of times, but a QB should know the importance of acquiring a good QB, and a good Oline....which has been a bit of a bumpy road for us for a bit too long. Yes, the Oline is improving, but it did take some time and some confusing decisions from a resourcing perspective.

                I am hopeful that Lock will come through, but I must admit, I am also getting a bit ansi of the potential downside, if he does not show the same signals as I witnessed last year at this time. But too early to make any definitive assessment. If he progresses going forward, and the Oline stays the course (yes, I like that saying), and Elway makes good use of his selections/signings, well then, his magic was just on a temporary vaca and nothing to be too worried about.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by johnlimburg View Post
                  Elway of course deserves credit for Manning making his way here, no question. Someone who also doesn't get credit often for Manning coming here is John Fox. Manning always referred to Fox in the decision making process, in his retirement speech, and local media members have often talked about Fox being the unsung hero of Mannings decision. Fox also might be one of the best moves Elway made, he was a big part in transitioning the organisation back to a respectable place after McDaniels.
                  I agree with this. With hindsight, we failed to properly appreciate John Fox.

                  As for John Elway, luck also has a part to play. If we win the SB in 2012 (where we were the best team); or play the 49ers instead of the Seahawks in the SB in 2013; we might have been able to win SB's early into our window and not right at the end of it. That would have allowed us to develop more in all areas ready for the post Manning era- when it came - rather than being ill prepared by that point.

                  Elway might also have been able to have more success had we managed to tie down Brock Osweiller before yanking him out of the San Diego game in Week 17 of the 2015 season, causing him to decide to leave for the Texans. In our system he was effective.

                  Last edited by GMTD; 12-12-2020, 01:44 PM.

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                  • #10
                    The difference is Pat Bowlen. Shanahan had two losing seasons in 14 seasons. Elway is going to have four straight. Bowlen would have already fired Elway for the sake of the team. Joe Ellis won’t.

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                    • #11
                      I remember the press asking Shanahan about why he thought Pat fired him. He did'nt whine, use excuses, did'nt try to pass blame, he just answered that he was fired because we did'nt win.
                      Since it appears Joe is afraid of him, it'd be nice if Elway would at least tell him that he would try to scout out a replacement presiden of footrball operations for him if he wanted.
                      Hope he does better with that than picking players.
                      I still think both the JE fellas are just milking this job as long as they can now.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MrMax View Post
                        I remember the press asking Shanahan about why he thought Pat fired him. He did'nt whine, use excuses, did'nt try to pass blame, he just answered that he was fired because we did'nt
                        win.
                        Since it appears Joe is afraid of him, it'd be nice if Elway would at least tell him that he would try to scout out a replacement presiden of footrball operations for him if he wanted.
                        Hope he does better with that than picking players.
                        I still think both the JE fellas are just milking this job as long as they can now.
                        He’s already found his replacement, from what I’ve heard John’s replacement will be his good buddy Matt Russell.

                        We don’t only need Elway out of here already but we need a new owner to get Ellis and Russell out of here as well!
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                        • #13
                          From what you have heard ? Local talk radio ? Sources ? Matt Russell is obviously the logical next man up if things stay within the building, especially if Elway has a say so in it. But if Russell is the replacement, I would prefer Elway just stay on. Russell is lucky to still have a job after the numerous horrible drafts over the years, while being in the main advisory role to the General Manager over that time. Russell shouldn't even have a job, and is lucky after his driving driving non-sense that he was buddys with his boss. Good example it sets when the boys at the top can get away with unprofessional acts like drink driving. Maybe that is why over the last 20 years we are one of the most consistent organisations when it comes to appearing in police reports.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by johnlimburg View Post
                            From what you have heard ? Local talk radio ? Sources ? Matt Russell is obviously the logical next man up if things stay within the building, especially if Elway has a say so in it. But if Russell is the replacement, I would prefer Elway just stay on. Russell is lucky to still have a job after the numerous horrible drafts over the years, while being in the main advisory role to the General Manager over that time. Russell shouldn't even have a job, and is lucky after his driving driving non-sense that he was buddys with his boss. Good example it sets when the boys at the top can get away with unprofessional acts like drink driving. Maybe that is why over the last 20 years we are one of the most consistent organisations when it comes to appearing in police reports.
                            I will say that it's possible that John says to himself...why do I need to sit through this circus act?

                            Let me say this...he won't be fired, but it wouldn't surprise me if he walked away.

                            He is not currently working very hard at his job anymore.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sam_Z View Post

                              I will say that it's possible that John says to himself...why do I need to sit through this circus act?

                              Let me say this...he won't be fired, but it wouldn't surprise me if he walked away.

                              He is not currently working very hard at his job anymore.
                              sounds like a post from a fan who never saw Elway play!
                              Elway is not a quitter!
                              Today his young second rd QB threw a career high 4 tds and hit another Elway pick for 2 tds.

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