Broncos powerless in NFL power rankings

Now that the spittle-flecked anger has died down from the whole Jay Cutler-to-the-Bears brouhaha, how do NFL prognosticators rate your Denver Broncos in the months prior to the start of the 2009-2010 season? Not very highly, to say the least. This week, Adam Caplan, who writes for Scout.com (a Fox Sports site), weighed in with his "NFL Power Rankings Version 1.0," and by his reckoning, the Broncos are the 24th strongest squad in the league out of 32 teams total. Here's how he synopsizes their chances:

"The key for this team is for QB Kyle Orton to get off to a good start as he did with the Bear last season. But can he perform at a high level in a spread offense? This is going to be quite a change from what he's been used to. They certainly should be able to run the ball effectively. But can this defense, which has been pitiful in recent years, be at least average?"

Good question -- and the answer provided by the post-draft NFL power rankings on WalterFootball.com isn't one Denver fans will like. The Broncos are 26th on this roster, and the explanation for this placement is hilariously horrific:

26. Denver Broncos (8-8) -- Previously: 27

Has a head coach ever been fired before playing his first game? In a few months, Josh McDaniels has:

- Alienated the fans

- Signed old and crappy free agents

- Nearly traded one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL for a spread-shotgun system quarterback.

- Actually traded one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL for Kyle Orton, Robert Ayers, Alphonso Smith and Dick Quinn (sounds a lot like the Charles Barkley for Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry and Andrew Lang deal that set the 76ers back five years, doesn't it?)

- Had one of the worst 2009 drafts of all the teams in the NFL (he refused to upgrade his defensive line; selected a player who doesn't fit into his scheme; traded up for a blocking tight end)

- Dealt away a 2010 first-round pick for a nickel corner

Doesn't this remind you of Season 2 of Friday Night Lights? I wouldn't be surprised at all if owner Pat Bowlen is having secret meetings with Mike Shanahan at a random diner, begging the old coach to come back.

Can't wait until the Broncos strap it on for another season. Can you?

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