Let’s take a trip back to 1983.
It was the rookie years for John Elway and Gary Kubiak. Dan Reeves has no idea what to do with his current quarterback situation for the Denver Broncos. He knows he has the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft on his roster, and the pressure is there for him to start. Now.
But imagine Reeves doesn’t want to go that route. He has a gut feeling about this little known quarterback from Texas A&M. He sees something in him. In fact, if Reeves had played quarterback, he sees himself.
So Reeves goes to Kubiak and says, “You know, everyone wants to go with Elway, but I’m thinking of going with you.”
Fast-forward to 2016 and that’s exactly what the head coach of the Broncos did. He went with himself. The question that should have been asked from training camp until now: Why?
Kubiak has been in denial since July. Whether it was his ego for being a quarterback guru, his lack of confidence in developing a rookie quarterback, a gut feeling, stubbornness, unwilling to admit a mistake, nostalgia or a combination of all of those, Kubiak failed in a major way. This result is on him.
Broncos QB situation to start this season was irresponsible. The fact that most media members didn't question it is laughable. #TeflonJohn— James Merilatt (@jamesmerilatt) December 26, 2016
So much for winning from now on. If that truly was the case, Elway wouldn’t have allowed his buddy to go down this path. Elway would have shown leadership and foresight. He would have said, “No. You’re not doing this. This isn’t the right decision for this football team.”
Instead, come 2017, Elway and the Broncos will be in the same position they are in right now. No idea what they have at the quarterback position other than a potential backup, spot starter who can’t win games consistently. They still have no clue what they have in the first-round pick that Elway is crazy about. In the process, that great Denver defense is now a year older and with even more questions on offense.
The Broncos fooled themselves into thinking if they got even close to the quarterback play and offense they got a season ago, they would be right back in the hunt. The first mistake: that completely overlooks what Peyton Manning meant to the offense and team.
Anyone who has to throw out the line, “He gives us the best chance to win” is trying to convince themselves. It’s the prevent defense of NFL quarterbacks. The teams that say this nonsense won’t win. Like the seldom used practice on defense, it prevents your team from winning.
2016, in one gif. pic.twitter.com/EAaMoUX9Iu— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) December 26, 2016
Think of the quarterbacks coaches have used this line on. Hint: They’re not named John Elway, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Jim Kelly, Peyton Manning, Steve Young or Tom Brady. That line is used for scrubs like Kyle Orton and now Trevor Siemian. If you don’t want to win, use the quarterback that gives you the best chance to win.
The other failure from Kubiak and this team: absolutely no accountability.
After the miracle 25-23 win over the New Orleans Saints, Kubiak said this of Siemian: “He has to continue to play big for this team; not OK. We need him to play big.” Since that comment, the quarterback has gone 0-4 and been far from OK. Instead, how many times did you hear the phrase “battling?”
It’s not just the quarterback.
Jordan Norwood and Ty Sambrailo come to mind. But, remember, they battled.
Good to see before a huge game how seriously the QB & offensive line took it. No urgency. No fire. But they got Skittles jackets.— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) December 26, 2016
But the aspect of all of this that reeks of spoiled cheese, hard boiled eggs and mayonnaise is the lack of emotion, fire and passion. The Broncos have gone from a heart-racing “kicking and screaming” approach to barely having a pulse.
“He’s so composed,” was one of the supposed positive traits thrown out about Siemian. But when your starting quarterback often flashes the same blank expression, whether he just threw a pick or touchdown, you start to wonder if there’s such a thing as too much composure.
In the biggest game of the season, like every other game, there was no sense of urgency, no nothing. But they all got Skittles jackets.
Siemian is what he’s been since training camp. He’s a “meh” quarterback. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is on Kubiak. It’s been on Kubiak since training camp when he went with himself.
You would think since his comment after the Saints game, the reality of his failed decision has smacked him square in the face. But, to throw out another old adage, denial is never a good place to visit.