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T.D. says T.O. not the answer in Denver


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Krieger: T.D. says Broncos need help, but not T.O.'s

Click here to view a larger image. Chris Schneider © News

Jake Plummer might need some new weapons, but former Broncos player Terrell Davis doesn't think Terrell Owens is the answer. "I don't see Jake and T.O. in the same room together," he said. "I don't see that. That is not a match made in heaven".

I am pleased to report that it is not necessarily heresy against our state religion to suggest the Broncos weren't as good as they looked this season.

This is a relief because my correspondence has included mention of various crimes that have rather serious consequences, apparently. Several forms of capital punishment were proposed, none of which seemed designed to minimize the suffering.

Of course, it's one thing for a wretch to be skeptical throughout what can only be considered a remarkable 13-3 campaign. It's another for the leading rusher in the team's history to feel that way.

So, as I might have mentioned, I was pleased to hear this from Terrell Davis last week in Detroit. T.D. is now an analyst for the NFL Network and, as a former Super Bowl MVP, runs with some excellent company during Super Bowl week.

We talked about the Broncos and about Terrell Owens, one Terrell on another, although they pronounce them differently, which makes it easier to just go by T.D. and T.O. in normal conversation.

Anyway, T.D. was feeling for Jake Plummer in advance.

"I don't see Jake and T.O. in the same room together," he told me. "I don't see that. That is not a match made in heaven."

We'll get back to T.O. in a minute. First, here's T.D. on the Broncos generally:

"I think they overachieved a little bit this year. I don't think they were as good as their record indicated.

"They were a team that pretty much was on schedule the whole time. If they fell behind, that was the only question that I had about this team. If they fell behind, could they come back and perhaps win a game from behind? If they got out of sync, could they respond and then get things corrected and make a run at it?

"The games they won, they played error-free football. Their defense played solid, they ran the ball well, Jake was efficient. That's not going to happen every game. You have to gear for, 'What if it doesn't happen that game? Can we still win games by being out of character?' And that team needs to find ways to win by being out of character, whether that means that Jake has to throw the ball more, whether they have to run the football more, whether their defense has to start making plays.

"On the defensive side of the football, they have to get more pressure up front without having to commit all the resources, the blitz packages. They have to get those front four guys to put more pressure on the quarterback to take the pressure off their defensive backs. They had young backs in this year, but when you have to blitz every time, it's going to catch up with you."

You can see why I like this analysis. I agree with all of it. What it suggests is the fulsome praise for the imports from Cleveland along the defensive line might have been a tad overdone. In the end, despite bigger names and bigger salaries, they performed pretty much the way the Mario Fatafehi-led no-names did the year before. In fact, last year's group had 251/2 sacks, to 16 for this year's.

Even though the Broncos have done little for the offense other than pillage its running backs over the past two years, T.D. does not think T.O. is the answer. That may be putting it too mildly.

"I don't think it's a good fit at all," he said. "If he was doing what he was doing to Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia, what do you think he's going to do to Jake Plummer? I mean, think about it.

"The Broncos, that organization, they pride themselves on having, first of all, classy guys. Guys who are good character guys, guys who are not going to disrupt the locker room and guys who work hard. T.O., I don't see him in Denver being that guy.

"No one questions the man's talents. No one is sitting here saying he can't play. We all know he can play. But when you mess with T.O, you have to mess with the whole package."

I mentioned the argument that veteran leaders in the Broncos locker room such as Rod Smith and Al Wilson could keep him in line.

"I disagree," T.D. said. "He's a grown man. How you going to control a grown man? Rod's job is not to baby-sit T.O. Al's job is not to baby-sit a grown man.

"Did they have leadership in Philadelphia? Did they have leadership in San Francisco? It doesn't matter. He is what he is."

I mentioned that Steve Young has said T.O. was manageable in San Francisco while the 49ers had veteran leaders like him and Jerry Rice.

"But that's when he was young in his career," T.D. said. "He wasn't as established as he is now. You can't change a guy after this many years. T.O.'s T.O. He's going to be T.O."

We'll have to deal another time with T.D.'s suggestion that the Broncos build a capacity to play not just from ahead but from behind.

For now, he suggests a pass rusher. A good place to start.


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