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January 01, 2007

Broncos Lose Finale, Darrent Williams

Some things put wins and losses in perspective including the death of Darrent Williams.

Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed in an early-morning shooting near the 1100 block of Speer Boulevard in downtown Denver Monday.

Police told the team the Fort Worth, Texas native, was shot in a drive-by shooting. Williams was in a Humvee limousine with several others, including Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker, when it was hit with several bullets fired from another vehicle shortly after 2 a.m. Monday morning. Williams was one of three people in the limousine who were shot. All three, including Williams, were taken to hospitals.

Walker and several other people in the limousine were not injured in the shooting.

Tragic. That is all that you can say about the death of a 24 year old man. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family, teammates and friends. Not a good way to end 2006 and start 2007.

Now on to the 2006 finale against the 49ers. The Denver Rocky Mountain News offers this on the Season Finale:

What the Broncos were, not that long ago, were near-champions, one game short of the Super Bowl, first-round bye, division-winning ladder climbers, a mere step from glory.

What the Broncos now are losers, consigned to the general pile of losers, that bunch of failures with nothing more to do than to philosophize, and worse off because they are in the middle of the pile, as far from the bottom as from the top.

"We thought we were going to pull it out," said quarterback Jay Cutler. "Too bad."

This is as it was fated to be once Shana- han shrugged off Jake Plummer, the veteran, the failure, daring to chance a rookie, finishing with Cutler, an uneven solution but promising a better horizon.

"This is a good springboard for me into next year," said Cutler, and that is all it was really ever going to be. Once that choice was made, it all became about something much further away than an extra Sunday in New England, which is where the Broncos would have gone.

This is fairly what the Broncos deserved, if they chose to reach for tomorrow while today was still fresh. This game was lost because the strong arm of Cutler dared him to throw off-balance and directly to the 49ers' antique cornerback Walt Harris, who returned the favor for a touchdown.

Well, of course you are. That is exactly how the Rams beat the Broncos to start this whole adventure. And how the Broncos beat the Chiefs and how, if Cutler had not thrown that brutal interception, they would have beaten San Francisco.

Just as well they did not. Just as well that this thing ends without any phony validation of Shanahan's late impulse to win with an apprentice.

It cannot be known how Plummer might have fared had he kept his job, but it is doubtful that it would have been worse. His brief relief of Cutler on Sunday is no proof but it does have a number.

Rebuilding. Odd to rebuild after coming within a game of the Super Bowl. And the rebuilding will in all probability begin without Jake Plummer on the roster. So far, in the Cutler Era, the Broncos are 2-3 and missed the playoffs despite starting 7-4 under Jake. Sometimes, you get what you deserve. The Broncos benched Jake despite him leading them to the playoffs in three straight years and being solidly the fifth team in the wildcard race. Cutler was supposed to get them over the AFC Championship game hump and into the Super Bowl. So far, his interception in the fourth quarter that was returned for a TD cost them the Playoffs.

Maybe things will get better under Cutler, but it is tough to top three straight playoff appearances and an AFC Championship game appearance in the three plus years under Plummer. Look for Jake to be a Texan next year. Maybe a Raider. If Jake plays for the Raiders, does he get A-dub to give up number 16, the number they both wore at ASU? That would be heaven and hell for me. First, two ASU QB's playing for the same team--heaven. However, the team is the hapless Raiders who I despise--hell.

In the four years since Jake Plummer left the Cardinals, the Cards finished with four, six, five and five wins. Total of 20 wins in four years. In the four season in Denver, Plummer won 10, 10, 14 (including the playoff win), and 7 (not counting the "Cutler Era). Total of 41 wins in four years. Plummer led the Broncos to the Playoffs all three years he was the starter. In the four years before Jake arrive, the Broncos won six, eleven, eight, and nine wins and made the playoffs one time.

Posted by Justin at January 1, 2007 03:14 PM