Commentary

Scouts Inc.: AFC West team profiles

Analyzing team philosophies and offseason observations for AFC West teams

Originally Published: April 20, 2011
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Scott PioliAP Photo/Ed ZurgaScott Pioli has quickly turned around the Kansas City Chiefs franchise.

Scouts Inc. takes a look at all 32 NFL teams, grouped by division, heading toward the 2011 season (whenever it arrives), examining offseason observations, the decision makers and the offensive and defensive philosophies of each team.


AFC West

Denver Broncos

Offseason observations: This team lost 10 of its 12 final games in 2010, looked totally dysfunctional at the end of the season and it cost Josh McDaniels his job. John Elway has stepped in to run the organization, but he has a lot of work to do to get this proud franchise back on track. John Fox is a well-respected veteran coach and he has a good handle on how to rebuild a team. The defense needs a complete overhaul and the offense needs more consistency in the run game, which starts on the offensive line. Some questionable personnel decisions the last two years have really set this team back.

Organizational structure: This is more of a "shared" front office than it was with McDaniels, who had most of the power -- and used it. Now Fox and general manager Brian Xanders have virtually equal power in personnel decisions and their challenge is to come to consensus opinions; if they can't, Elway will likely have the final say. He is more than a figurehead in this organization, as he has been watching film and studying players before the draft. Pro personnel director Keith Kidd and college scouting director Matt Russell will also give quality input into decisions.

Offensive philosophy: Mike McCoy was retained as the offensive coordinator by Fox, but this scheme will look very different than it did a year ago. Less passing, more running and improved balance are the goals, with McCoy calling the plays with strong input from Fox. We will see a lot of power sets with the tight end as primarily a blocker and a lot of the passes coming off play-action. This offense wants to be physical and not take a lot of chances.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.