Aqib Talib said what all of Broncos Country thinks.
In fact, it's been this way since the start of the NFL playoffs in January. And not even a Super Bowl 50 win has changed the thought process.
Hey, at least mental midgets are consistent, right? If you truly feel the Denver Broncos are inferior and just got lucky, the losses in free agency will only make that assertion more resolute.
Talib and his teammates have noticed, and that's a great sign.
"We still have conversations about our respect level," Talib said after the first workout of Phase I of the offseason program on Monday. "We still don't feel like it's there. Y'all do all the writing and talking, so there are a lot of questions about our performance. We still have got a chip. We're going to make it a period instead of a question mark."
A lot of the drive behind that disrespect boils down to three players - Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan. For the "experts," those three departures are too huge. They're too much to overcome. There's no way the Broncos can replace what they lost.
Have the "experts" said the same things about Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots?
Last time I checked, Belichick was never called "cheap." There aren't hit pieces that say his hubris would unravel the Patriots.
Aqib Talib: we don't feel Broncos are getting proper respecthttps://t.co/vKl51YiJMG— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) April 20, 2016
"I never came back after an offseason and had the exact same team there," Talib said. "It happens every year. We didn't lose that much on our defense. We lost two starters. We've got nine starters returning. That's definitely a positive. There are a lot of familiar faces in this locker room to me. That's definitely a positive."
It's such lazy analysis. Just like the last five years, some will continue to say this is the year the Kansas City Chiefs or Oakland Raiders take control of the AFC West. At least no one has vaulted the San Diego Chargers over Denver, but it can't be far off.
Because of those pieces the Broncos lost.
Let's look at the other players and coaches who were classified with that exact same distinction the last few years.
Wesley Woodyard. Robert Ayers. Zane Beadles. J.D. Walton. Terrance Knighton. Julius Thomas. Orlando Franklin. Knowshon Moreno. Willis McGahee. Kevin Vickerson. Eric Decker. A former quarterback who throws left-handed. John Fox. Heck, some even panicked over Rahim Moore.
The common theme with all of them?
Not. A. Single. One. Was. Missed.
Denver has won five straight division titles.
Been to the Super Bowl twice.
Won the Lombardi Trophy once.
Draft well, get what you can out of them, have a set price in mind when the rookie contract expires, don't overpay, draft well and the cycle starts anew.
We've heard the same nonsense the last five offseasons that we've heard the last month.
Here's an idea: What if that Denver defense gets even better from a season ago? Only two starters were lost and this is the second season with the same coaches and system.
For all of the talk the Broncos will drop off, it's just as likely, if not more, they can get better.
On offense, the line has seen drastic improvement since last season. That will help fuel a more authentic Gary Kubiak offense that is based on the run. If the offense gets better for Denver, the team automatically does as well.
"I think that chemistry is huge. Just getting back into the swing of things," Talib said. "Some guys want to come back and ease their way into it. We've got great chemistry. We're not scared to talk to each other, so we'll tell him, ‘Pick it up.' I feel like that chemistry is us being able to talk to each other and us holding each other accountable. I think that will definitely play a big part in us getting this ball rolling."
Yes, the Broncos may still be on the hunt for a quarterback, but even if they're not and they stick with Mark Sanchez, will he be any worse than Osweiler or Peyton Manning was in 2015? Really?
Denver was ranked 31st last season in quarterback rating. The quarterbacks combined for 23 interceptions, the most in the NFL. Next on the list was the Pittsburgh Steelers with 21, and they did that with three quarterbacks.
For some perspective: The Cleveland Browns had 12 and the Houston Texans, with five quarterbacks, had 16.
Yet the Broncos will fall that far because Sanchez may be their quarterback and they lost three players who they drafted?
Step back from the cliff, #BroncosCountry. Let @johnelway do his thang. @MileHighReport https://t.co/cjWpuV0bBq pic.twitter.com/0qGcLbANFw— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) March 12, 2016
"I was talking to Mark and I (said), ‘Listen, you've got a bad defense behind you. All you have to do is take care of the football and we'll win a lot of games.' I mean that," receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. "We've got nine starters coming back on our defense. Those guys know they're great. Even before everyone knew they were great - you look at Talib, he's been walking out with his chest out before they were the No.1 defense."
Denver wasn't going have to look far for motivation in 2016. The need to repeat and re-conquer what you just accomplished drives you to do it, feel it and taste it again.
But when people question what you did and fail to respect that? You may as well dump gallons of kerosene on the motivation fire.
That's nothing new for the Broncos. They were doubted throughout the NFL playoffs. People didn't take them seriously. They questioned them at every turn.
It's beyond annoying and irritating these lazy analysts are at it again.
At the same time, it should bring a smile to the face of every Broncos fan. When this is the analysis, we know how the story always ends.