I’d love to say I didn’t mean a word of my last column titled “Rockies look like anything but contenders.”
In case you missed it, I wrote that the Rockies were not very good, that I knew they wouldn’t be very good when the season started and that I didn’t think they stood a snowball’s chance in the Sahara Desert of competing with the Dodgers.
I berated the pitching, dismissed our starters as a hopeless case and asserted that this staff would need the talents of Dr. Frankenstein to bring them to life again.
This should not be taken as a total retraction of all I said. That would be too final, too sweeping, too humbling. Instead, can we just consider this a “step back,” or a moderate modification? That way I could save face somewhat. I’d prefer just an appetizer of crow pie, rather than a heaping helping.
Forgive me for getting so discouraged, and for making those less than flattering remarks about our team. You guys are sports fans. You know how it feels when you get frustrated with your team. We all lose faith now and then. It’s human nature. Totally forgivable, right?
The reason I’m frantically crawfishing backwards and choking down a sampling of crow is because I looked up today and noticed the boys on Blake Street have not lost a game since my column was written. They have won eight in a row and nine of their last 10 games. They most recently swept the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series in which the pitching was absolutely phenomenal.
Another reason I’m rethinking some of my off-the-cuff arguments in last week’s column is because the offense has started to click earlier than predicted. It wasn’t bad before, but in recent games it looks like a versatile, complete dynamic order from top to bottom. All of a sudden, they look like – dare I say it? Contenders.
Now that I have admitted my wrongs and eaten my crow, I’m still scared to make any firm declarations about this team. If I jump on the bandwagon and call them contenders, they might fall on their faces. If I say this is merely a mirage, and that the Rockies won’t sustain this success, then I come across like I’m trying to save face from last week’s column in spite of an eight-game win streak.
It’s the old sportswriter’s conundrum
Honestly, I have no idea which is closer to the truth. Are the Rockies just flashing a glimmer of false hope our way en route to a sub-par season, or are these the real Rockies, just showing up a little late to the party? The Dodgers are up nine games, but our Rockies are in second place by themselves and coming on like gangbusters.
Any fearless predictions out there? I’m all ears, sports fans.
Speaking of predictions
Since some of us never seem to learn, I’m going back out on a limb, but on the topic of the Broncos this time. More crow probably awaits me on this limb, but what’s one more helping?
I said I’d go out on a limb, not completely off the end of the branch. So please, don’t say I predicted that the Broncos would win the Super Bowl in 2020. Then I would have to dig this column up eight months from now and that would be a pain. No. No Super Bowl in Vic Fangio’s first season.
But hear this: The Broncos will post their first winning season in three years in 2020. After 5-11 and 6-10 seasons, respectively, this team has quietly developed and added depth to its roster with stellar draft classes for the last two seasons. It has a quarterback in Joe Flacco who has shown he can win big games, and some of us remember all too well him doing so here in Denver while with Baltimore.
The Broncos have also gotten younger and faster on the offensive side of the ball. Last year’s rookie sensation, Phillip Lindsay, will only be a year wiser and should produce Pro Bowl-type numbers again. Rookie tight end Noah Fant figures to be the most gifted athlete at that position for the Broncos in decades. Flacco is going to love him.
Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, DaeSean Hamilton and a hopefully healthy Emmanuel Sanders are nice complements on that side of the ball. Bottom line on this offense is that it has too much talent not to generate more points than we’ve been accustomed to for the last two seasons. It needed an overhaul, and with two consecutive drafts it has acquired the infusion of youth and speed it so desperately needed.
Defensively, this assembly of talent looks like a potentially elite unit. Figure in the fact that our new head coach is among the most heralded defensive minds in the game, and I’m calling it now: the Broncos will be one of the top five defensive teams in football next season.
Just consider Fangio’s system, which recently made the Bears a defensive nightmare and propelled them to the playoffs, with Denver’s cast of names on the defensive side of the ball. Fangio came to town and told the press that Von Miller could and should be better, and that his system would help him to do that. Hmmm …
Fangio will also have plans for Bradley Chubb, Chris Harris Jr. (if signed), Kareem Jackson (free agent from Houston), Justin Simmons, Josey Jewell, Derek Wolfe, Shelby Harris, Su’a Cravens, Todd Davis and a host of other high-profile defenders at his disposal.
I’m telling you now, Broncos fans, there is a new sheriff in town, and he will have this defense back to an elite level before you can say “let’s go beat the Chiefs.”
Put it in ink: I’m in for at least nine wins. Actually, you don’t have to. I already have.