Mercifully, the 2007 season is over for the Denver Broncos players, coaches, administrators, and for one of the deepest fan bases in the National Football League.
When the season began to take on that disappointing glow which ultimately would mark it, the campaign became a lot less fun for the fans to watch. It also became more difficult to work, because the frustration just mounts in direct correlation with wins and losses.
It is time now for all involved to take a deep breath, relax a bit, and then slowly ease into the new year.
Of course, the football operations department is heading into the very busy time of personnel evaluation, both ours and everyone else’s, and there are plenty of eager young unsigned players going to tryouts and hoping for contracts.
The Broncos already have signed a number of these young players who seem to the unititiated to be no-names — and we are all no-names until we make names for ourselves, with every season’s history full of young guys who became valuable players upon being given an opportunity.
We’ll continue to post blogs into the offseason, as the impulse and information strikes us, but this is a time for the teams that finished 7-9 to evaluate and reflect prior to moving forward, while the playoff teams get ready for each week’s games.
And each week, other teams will add the salt of disappointment to their own season, as we head toward only one team being supremely happy at the end.
For now, the players have checked out, and they are well into the process of enjoying free time, although the modern NFL player does not get far out of shape ever — the workout concept is just ingrained as part of a regular routine.
But January, February and most of March are the periods of greatest freedom for NFL players, before every team begins the offseason conditioning programs in earnest just before April.
We all have games that could have gone the other way, and every one has injuries.
In Denver’s case, that opened the door for a high number of young players to make an impression, which they did. Coaches and personnel people often say that the greatest jump in skill comes between years one and two, or two and three, and the Broncos have a plethora of players in that category.
That, plus you have to have a quarterback, and there is no doubt that the Broncos do.
There is a tremendous amount of optimism within this building that developing young talent and players returning from injury will combine with a few key acquisitions to make 2008 a year in which the Broncos return to contention.