Let’s be clear. This is not a call for Gary Kubiak to be fired. That makes no sense at all. One season after winning the Super Bowl, it was more likely that the Denver Broncos would be where they are, and not standing on a stage lifting a trophy. That doesn’t make it any better, but it certainly puts things into perspective.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio podcast, the Broncos went into the 2016 season with a ridiculous quarterback situation. The idea was simply don’t play offense worse than 2015, and a repeat was possible. Nice idea, but it didn’t really pan out. For starters, the offense seemed worse. Whether they were or not is pretty irrelevant at this point.
What must be dealt with is a multitude of mistakes made by the organization. Every level of the Broncos organization has some guilt in the failures of the 2016 season. The great John Elway seems human after failing to shore up the offensive line. Kubiak mismanagement of the offense in 2016 was the exact opposite of how he managed the offense in 2015. The defense could not stop the run. Special teams was hot and cold. It ended up being no fun at all.
The victory parade lasted 4 games. After that the honeymoon was over. It all starts with the head coach on this one. Kubiak deserves all the credit he gets for dealing with the Peyton Manning situation in 2015. But on the flip side, his tired offense showed no improvement in 2016. Finally able to implement his scheme without the handcuff of PFM, the offense regressed in ways that seemed impossible.
The idea has been out there for a while, but perhaps the NFL has passed Kubiak by. His offensive scheme seems outdated at this point. The basis for what the offense wants to do is still solid. Run the ball to set up the pass. However, the offense never seemed to really get into a rhythm this season. The run game was stunted by a bad offensive line, injuries, and poor play calling.
It’s the play calling that must change. The offseason will undoubtedly see Elway go out and get guys who can play in the zone blocking scheme that Kubiak wants. But if changes aren’t made to the coaching staff, there is very little to expect in the way of improvement for 2017. There needs to be new life breathed into offense. Someone who can mold what Kubiak wants on offense with what the team’s skills are, and with the way football is played in today’s NFL.
Maybe this is all pointless and Kubiak will retire at the end of the season.