Broncos fighting amongst themselves

Marred in a four game losing streak, the Broncos are starting to take frustrations out on themselves.

According to a report by, receiver Brandon Marshall got into a shouting match with rookie running back Knowshon Moreno, who gave Marshall a two-hand shove to get away from him. Marshall was upset with Moreno after the rookie fumbled at the goal line during Denver’s loss to the Chargers last Sunday.

Moreno, who gave Marshall a two-handed shove to get away, said he didn’t begrudge Marshall for his outburst because everybody is tired of losing.

“We’ve got a lot of emotional players on our team. I’m an emotional person myself,” coach Josh McDaniels said following Denver’s fourth straight loss. “Sometimes that happens. I’m not saying it’s good, as long as people can work things out. Obviously we don’t want to make scenes or problems for ourselves on the sideline. But there are a lot of things that happen on the sideline that involve emotion.”

“I think everybody needs to look at themselves first,” Marshall said. “I’m going to go back and watch film on myself and see what I’m doing wrong, what I changed from last year. How can I help move the ball down the field? Get the ball? I’m going to look at myself first, starting with film from last year, seeing if I changed anything, if my routes aren’t the same, if I’m not catching the ball as well. I’m going to start there.”

It’s no surprise that the Broncos are frustrated considering that a month ago they were 6-0 and seemingly running away with the AFC West. Now they’re in the midst of a four game skid and looking up at San Diego in the division.

Winning is a cure-all, so until Denver starts stockpiling victories again, McDainels is going to have to keep his team focused and together. Thus far, he and his coaching staff haven’t done a very good job of figuring out how to get this team back on the right track and now they’re in quicksand because the losses are piling up.

McDainels and Co. don’t have much time to figure things out. They host the Giants on Thanksgiving Day and another loss could send Denver into a deeper hole than they’re already in.

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2009 NFL Week 11 Point Spreads & Odds

Along with a complete list of point spreads for this weekend, here is a quick-hit look at some of the marquee matchups in Week 11 of the NFL.

Colts (9-0) at Ravens (5-4), 1:00PM ET
After earning a win Sunday night thanks in large part to Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th and 2 on his own 28-yard line, the Colts head to Baltimore to take on a Ravens team brimming with confidence after shutting out Cleveland (not like that’s hard to do) on Monday night. The Ravens’ offense hasn’t been as good over the past month as it was earlier in the season and they might have trouble moving the ball against a stout (although injury-plagued) Indy defense. Last time the Colts traveled to Baltimore was during the postseason three years ago when Indy eventually went on to win the Super Bowl. The Colts beat the Ravens 15-6 that day, but Peyton Manning was picked off twice and finished with just 170 yards and no touchdowns.

Chargers (6-3) at Broncos (6-3), 4:15PM ET
Josh McDaniels, Kyle Orton and Knowshon Moreno weren’t around last year when Denver coughed up the AFC West title to San Diego after taking a decent lead late in the season. But that has to be on the minds of the Broncos who did play in the Denver last season. The Broncos already went into San Diego and beat the Chargers earlier this season on Monday night, but that was before the Bolts’ defense started playing better and Philip Rivers wasn’t winning games on his own. Rivers has been outstanding over the past couple of weeks and the running game finally showed a pulse in last week’s win over the Eagles. The Chargers are playing with a ton of confidence right now, while the Broncos have lost three in a row. A loss this weekend and the Denver faithful will start thinking, “Here we go ago.”

Falcons (5-4) at Giants (5-4), 1:00PM ET
Something has to give between these two teams; the Falcons have lost three of their last four, while the Giants have lost four in a row. Atlanta will be at a major disadvantage without running back Michael Turner (high ankle sprain), plus New York is coming off its bye so it had two weeks to prepare for this matchup. Both Matt Ryan and Eli Manning have struggled over the past month with poor decision-making, interceptions and inaccuracy. Both of these teams are desperate for a win to stay within the NFC Wild Card hunt.

Jets (4-5) at Patriots (6-3), 4:15PM ET
A lot has changed since Week 2 when the Jets upset the Patriots in East Rutherford: Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez isn’t playing with as much confidence as he had been and now there are cracks in Rex Ryan’s vaunted defense. Bill Belichick and the Pats are angry after giving a win away in Indianapolis last Sunday night and will certainly look to bury a New York team that was so boastful about wanting to beat the New England earlier in the season. This game could get ugly in a hurry.

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Jay Cutler, Josh McDaniels situation getting worse?

One source tells that the Jay Cutler/Josh McDaniels situation has gone from bad to worse after the two had a meeting yesterday to air out any hurt feelings stemming from the Broncos attempt to trade the quarterback a week ago.

The call was supposed to be a meeting of the minds between Cutler and the Broncos’ brass, in particular new head coach Josh McDaniels. The two got sideways Feb. 28 when word broke that McDaniels, the former New England offensive coordinator who replaced Mike Shanahan after 14 seasons, engaged in discussions about acquiring Matt Cassel from the Patriots in a three-way trade. Cutler had maintained the Broncos initiated the talks. McDaniels publicly said he was approached about a deal.

The conference call was anything but genial and the two sides are now further apart than prior to it, the source said. The source added that the Broncos’ tone of the conference call was as if Cutler created the situation by asking for the trade and not the other way around.

A Broncos source with knowledge of the discussions said that two sides did not grow further apart in Monday’s conference call and that issues were discussed openly and it was re-emphasized to Cutler he will not be traded.

Okay, so one source said the call was a disaster while the other one said it went fine. Great…

Not to kick a horse (pardon the pun) while it’s down, but none of this would have happened if the Broncos kept Mike Shanahan. Pat Bowlen wanted change and he got it. Now he has an inexperienced coach mucking up everything he touches, a pissed-off young quarterback and a franchise in a bit of disarray. The good thing is that it’s only March, so things could definitely straighten out by the time the season starts. But so far, McDaniels’ first couple months on the job have been a disaster.

Woody Paige blasts McDaniels’ hire of Nolan

Woody Paige of the Denver Post isn’t too big on Josh McDaniels’ choice of Mike Nolan to fill the Broncos’ vacant defensive coordinator position.

Mike NolanIt must be downright discouraging and demoralizing for somebody who has served as a defensive coordinator, then head coach, for 14 1/2 seasons — with five different teams — yet reached the playoffs only TWO of those years, won more than 10 games just once, had a losing record in eight seasons (and only four or five victories four times), was fired several times and, in the biggest game all his teams played, saw the defense reduced to ashes (44 points).

Say hello again to Mike Nolan, your new defensive coordinator.

He is Josh McDaniels’ first hire.

The Broncos’ most critical need was an extraordinary defensive coordinator, and they get an offensive coordinator, who brings in, for the Broncos, another ordinary defensive coordinator. The Broncos selected a baby-faced coach, and he selects a second-hand coach.
It’s inexplicable.

Nolan was named the 49ers’ head coach in 2005. He won fewer than half his games, and did not make the playoffs, before being fired after seven games (2-5) this season. In San Francisco Nolan’s defenses ranked, in points allowed, Nos. 30, 32, 20 and 23. They permitted 30 points or more 18 times.

The future of McDaniels and Nolan will depend on the 3-4, tried and trashed by the Broncos temporarily last season, but they have to depend more on exceptional unrestricted free agents and a No. 1 pick on defense who can step in immediately. The Broncos, despite a plethora of linebackers, could use one more who can stop the run (Channing Crowder), and they must find a starting safety (oft-injured Mike Brown) or two, another corner (Nnamdi Asomugha) and two defensive linemen (Julius Peppers, Bertrand Berry).

And Mike Nolan has to prove why Broncophiles should not be down- wrong discouraged and demoralized.

It’s hard to argue with Paige because Nolan did absolutely nothing to restore the 49ers’ defense, even though they added key pieces in Patrick Willis, Nate Clements, Michael Lewis and Justin Smith during his tenure there. It’s also a bit premature at this point to trash any coaching hire (after all, look at the ’08 new coaching class of Tony Sparano, Mike Smith and John Harbaugh), but I fail to see how McDaniels/Nolan is better than Mike Shanahan at this point.

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