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With the Broncos heading into a game against the equally hapless Arizona Cardinals, it’d be easy to turn off the TV and write off the Broncos until 2011 (if you haven’t already—and if there’s actually a season next year). Both teams are mired in a 3-9 record and stuck at the bottom of terrible divisions. But there are some good reasons to tune in on Sunday. First, how will the team look under interim coach Eric Studesville? The guy has coached on NFL staffs for more than 10 years, but he’s never been a coordinator, much less a head coach. Second, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will call plays for the first time, a role held tightly by former head coach Josh McDaniels, notes The Denver Post, although quarterback Kyle Orton says there shouldn’t be too much of a difference in play selection.
The third reason is somewhat more twisted: If the Broncos lose, and continue to lose, they’re likely to earn the franchise’s highest draft pick ever, setting the stage for a major infusion of top-tier talent. The Post points out in a separate article that the Broncos are tied for the NFL’s fifth-worst record and could end up with a top-five pick. Let’s hope that with McDaniels gone, the Broncos won’t waste that pick, as they likely did on Tim Tebow (in the opinion of many, including the Bleacher Report).
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Finally, it’s important to keep an eye on what the team does with Champ Bailey. The Post’s Mark Kiszla urges Pat Bowlen to do the right thing and pay Bailey what it takes to keep him in Denver for the rest of his career, something that may not have happened with McDaniels still in town.