It’s officially time to start panicking, Broncos Country. The 2018 season is eerily feeling like a repeat of the 2017 season, and we all know how that ended.
The Denver Broncos fell to division rival Kansas City Chiefs after holding a sizable lead for the majority of the game, and are 2-2 on the season. Experts expected the Broncos to lose in a blow-out, which might have been easier for fans to accept.
Instead, the Broncos kept the pace with the Chiefs during the first three quarters, only to fall apart in the last quarter.
After coming from behind in the 4th quarter to beat the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos remain undefeated.
It is way too early in the season to celebrate though, especially when you play in the same division as the scary-looking Kansas City Chiefs. This should give any Denver fan a reason to be cautiously optimistic.
The Broncos continue to struggle on offense, as quarterback Case Keenum works through the playbook learning curve. Keenum finished the night 19/35, with 222 yards, and one interception. These are stats that would make anyone itchy to hit that ejection seat.
His regression from Week 1 should not be an immediate cause for alarm, however. Halftime adjustments, particularly on the offense, helped the team finally find the end zone in the 2nd half. Keenum was calmer in the pocket during the 2nd half. He even scored a touchdown on a QB keeper early in the 4th quarter.
The Denver Broncos are coming off one of the most disappointing seasons since the McDaniels era (5-11, 4th place in the AFC West). This, after coming off a slightly-less disappointing season in 2016 (9-7, 3rd place in the AFC West).
Once quarterback Peyton Manning retired, and offensive coordinator Wade Phillips left to go to the Los Angeles Rams, the team fell into disarray. When Head Coach Gary Kubiak retired the end of the 2016 season, the proverbial last nail on the coffin was hammered down. It’s crazy to think that this is the team that won Super Bowl 50, and yet, here we are.
If you like short pieces to read, this is one. If you left the country for a month-long walkabout, don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything. The 2018 Broncos look exactly like the 2017 Broncos except they released a starting cornerback and signed a third string one. They also signed an expensive quarterback, who has to prove himself.
That’s it, kiddies. Seriously.
Well, I lied. They also allowed free agent wide receiver Bennie Fowler and their former second-round pick WR Cody Latimerto walk. Either Elway believes this team only needed quarterback Case Keenum, or he has a ton of transactions up his sleeve.
After being very quiet since the season ended, the Denver Broncos have made a few moves. They picked up Chris Harris, Jr’s option of $1.1 million. This makes his contract for the year guaranteed.
They traded Aqib Talib to the Los Angeles Rams where he will be reunited with Wade Phillips, Denver’s former super bowl winning defensive coordinator. He’ll also be teaming up with another former player, Kayvon Webster.
In the trade, Denver received a fifth round draft pick, and many believe this was a low ball move. However, a source said that he wasn’t happy with Vance Joseph or the way the defense was being run. Publicly, he said everything was swell.
Let’s talk about the quarterback situation. If quarterback Kirk Cousins were to take a leap of faith and sign with Denver while under construction, keeping QB Trevor Siemian would be a smart move. He’s super cheap, has experience and knows the new playbook.
Plus, no fan would spend their life on Twitter trashing Cousins to get Siemian. This would be the lone exception to keep him. If Denver drafts a quarterback, there is no way you want Siemian around. If the rookie fails, the fans will be calling for Siemian. Hopefully, Denver has learned from the past. As long as Trevor Siemian is on the team, the fans are always going to want him under center.
Here’s What I think: Sanders is on the block because he had a problem in Texas and the team didn’t know about it. A veteran like him should know to contact your team and that everything always comes out, so not contacting the team says a lot. He could be kept to entice a guy like QB Kirk Cousins; however, he and Thomas are aging and always hurt.
Talib is rumored to be available because the thought is Denver needs cap space for Cousins and that cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Brendan Langley can replace him. Talib has lost a step and I’m still mad at him because of the Week 17 loss. I disagree on Cousins in Denver and that the other two can replace Aqib. With that said, if Denver wants to bring in some fresh blood in a rebuild, I can see this, but not because of Cousins or that Roby is better.
Anderson returning seems like a dismal chance because of his age and in a run-first system, he barely got a 1,000 yards. The offensive line was actually pretty good as run graters. Not to mention, they have two young backs they need to get going and most likely will draft a third.
Trading Shane Ray is ridiculous. He was injured last season and when he came back late in the year, he wasn’t 100%. I say they sign OLB Shaquil Barrett and keep Ray. As far as the interior linebackers, I hope Denver drafts LSU LB Tremaine Edmunds. Marshall has too much dead money to cut him and a team won’t pick it up in a trade because of age and injury history. Not to mention, he was the lead tackler. This will leave Davis on the hot seat.
Soon enough, all this talk will turn into action, and it’ll be fun to see what happens!
As the free agent period approaches, one of the hottest names and biggest difference makers for a franchise is Kirk Cousins. I think it’s safe to say that, with the signing of Alex Smith, Washington will not be putting a Franchise Tag on Cousins which means he can start looking for his next team on March 14th.
There are quite a few teams desperately searching for a franchise quarterback, but are they all viable options at this point? Do they have the money to pay Cousins the huge contract he wants? Do they have the cap space? Are they the type of organization that he would want to play for? Let’s look at the front runners…
Can 2017 be erased from my mind, please? Not sure anyone could have predicted the rotten outcome of this season, unless they were me screaming about what not to do for the last two years. Being “right” has been no consolation.
What John Elway does with the quarterback will either be his downfall or his saving grace. He’s a God in Broncos Country, but he’s sliding. Outside of signing Peyton Manning, he’s botched the handling of this position since 2012 and the disasters of his poor decisions (or allowing his coaches to make them) are now front and center. Continue reading “The State of the Denver Broncos”→
The Chiefs have secured their playoff spot and a win or loss changes nothing in their seeding. They can sit or start whomever they want for however long they want. On Sunday, their only known starter will be rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This could make it tough to game plan for Denver IF they really want to win.
For Denver, they could be playing to lose because general manager John Elway is scouting quarterbacks and the best way to get a top one is to lose. However, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas needs 108 yards to reach 1,000 for the season and running back CJ Anderson needs 54 yards to reach his 1,000. He’s averaging 63 a game so that one should be easy. 108 yards for Thomas will be tougher, as he’s only had one game all season over 100 yards which was against the Giants.
With two QBs only having three starts between them, it’s tough to scout this game. However, since head coach Andy Reid drafted Mahomes and wants him as his future (ironically, he wanted quarterback Paxton Lynch, but Elway moved up to take him away), he’ll put a game plan together to give him every chance to succeed and win.
With that said, It sounds like Denver will be starting their top defensive guys. This should help get the ball back to Denver quickly since Mahones hasn’t faced a defense like the Broncos. Getting the ball in Lynch’s hands will be instrumental in Thomas getting his yards. Plus Elway needs to see Lynch throw more than the ten times he did against Oakland a few weeks ago.
Head Coach Vance Joseph has said he wants Lynch to run. If he bases a game plan around Lynch running and not his arm, the Broncos may be doomed to lose at home because of his injured ankle. WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer, receivers #2 and #3 look to be out, leaving Thomas, Jordan Taylor and Bennie Fowler as the three. Taylor and Fowler will need to be at the top of their game in order to pull coverage away from Thomas so he can get his yardage if they let Lynch throw.
Kansas City has an offense built around the run, so if Denver shows up to win, they should be able to stop it and force Mahones to throw. He’ll want to toss it deep as the gunslinger he is and since defensive back Aqib Talib may not be back next season, he could make sure Mahomes remembers his name.
The key to both sides is the same. Stop these strong-armed quarterbacks from throwing deep and to their top receiver. The difference will be that Mahones has nothing to lose. If he misses, throws interceptions and incompletions, his job is secure, so he should be able to play with no pressure. The press, fans, and Reid are behind him and will excuse a new starter’s mistakes.
For Lynch, the opposite is true. Denver press has portrayed him as the enemy because they championed for QB Trevor Siemian, any mistake he makes will be ripped to shreds by the media and fans who follow them. In addition, head coach Vance Joesph is clearly not a fan.
This will put massive pressure on him to perform. If he does well, they’ll say it was against second stringers, if he stumbles, they’ll say how crappy because it’s against second stringers. His key will be to shut out the outside world and just play. A tough challenge when he could be playing for a job.
Hopefully, Joseph puts Thomas, Anderson, and winning over a handful of spots in the draft. Fans deserve it and after this crappy season, and it would be a good reward for the players. Go Broncos!