Actually, the argument could be made that the organization has botched this, and a defense that is mentioned in the same breath as the ’85 Bears, 2000 Ravens, and ’02 Bucs, is being wasted on a terrible offense. Don’t get offended here. I am not about to bash Trevor Siemian, or say that Paxton Lynch should be the starter. That point is moot.
However, if you look at those great defenses they all have one thing in common. They were unable to repeat. The ’86 Bears had the best chance at a repeat, going 14-2, but they lost in the divisional round to Washington. The ’01 Ravens were the wild card at 10-6, losing to Pittsburgh in the divisional round. The ’03 Bucs were the worst, going 7-9 and completely missing the playoffs. It is hard win back to back championships.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio podcast, repeating seems like an unlikely scenario. As a fan, I go into every Sunday believing we can win. However, if I take off my orange and blue glasses for a moment, I can be honest in my assessment of this team.
My assessment is that the great defense, with players who have a short window, has been wasted on a appalling offense. The offense is unwatchable at times. Just go back to the Tennessee game. Over 50 passes? Only 9 rushes? Is that a recipe for success? When the defense only allows 13 points and the team loses, that is a problem.
The issues are up and down the offense. Placing the blame solely on the shoulders of the quarterback would be unfair. The offensive line is a mess. Only Matt Paradis is any good. The running backs have struggled this year. The wide receivers have dropped passes, and not just Bennie Fowler in the end zone against Tennessee. The coaches have done a terrible job with the play calling. Abysmal isn’t a strong enough word for it.
The defense deserves better. I have said it before this season, and I am even more convinced of that now. Winning championships is always the goal. This defense is capable of carrying a team to the finish line, but there has to be some positive contribution from the offense on a consistent basis.
Flashes of brilliance can make this all the more frustrating. The great play against Kansas City comes to mind, which ended in a loss. The 2nd half against the Bengals is another moment. But the moments are fleeting. And so, looking objectively at this team the question must be asked, has this season been wasted?
At this point the answer must be yes. Whether the Broncos wasted a year of development on their rookie QB in the hopes that Siemian was going to be enough of a stop gap to get the job done, or they wasted a drafted pick on a player that could not contribute, the season feels a little sabotaged.
The window for championships closes quickly, but when it is open the team must do everything it can to take advantage. Satisfaction is fleeting. To win a Super Bowl is the only reason to play in the NFL. It looks like the Broncos may have wasted an opportunity to do that in 2016. The defense is there, ready and willing. The offense? They have dropped the ball.