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Broncos poor offensive showing provides valuable lessons for the future

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Gary Kubiak probably feels as if his offense took five steps in the wrong direction after Saturday’s effort. But this is a moment for him and his staff to shine.

NFL: Preseason-Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Kubiak talks about the coachable moments. How just about everything in the NFL is tied back to memory. Players are more inclined to have success because they know what to do when certain situations arise in a game. They aren’t caught off guard by it because they’ve been through it.

Saturday’s practice at the UCHealth Training Center is one of those times.

The Broncos quarterbacks and offense was not good. That is being nice. It was the roughest day so far in training camp. And Kubiak was not pleased.

The Broncos head coach was understandably irked.

“We didn’t practice very well offensively,” Kubiak said. “We’re less than 48 hours out of a game and to come back and practice is tough. We handled it defensively, but we didn’t handle it offensively. It’s disappointing for me.”

The offense was so bad it stayed on the field after practice to work through the stank. Kubiak showed his frustration in front of media. One can imagine what he and the coaches were like in the meeting room after practice.

If you were curious about the quarterback reps for next Saturday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, today wasn’t the day for answers.

“I don’t know. I’m not real happy with practice today, so I’ll go look at today,” Kubiak said. “We’ll wake up on Monday - (Sunday) is an off day - and Monday we’ll go back to work. We’ll keep plugging. We are going to find the right one.”

Kubiak has every reason to feel disappointment. He probably feels as if his offense took five steps in the wrong direction after Saturday’s effort. But this is a moment for him and his staff to shine.

There are few instances where NFL players get “coached up.” This is one of them, and it’s one Kubiak knows will make his offense and team better. This is one of those times where it’s about memory.

This isn’t the last time the offense will struggle. There will be times when it just seems nothing will or can go right. When that happens, the Broncos can flip back to Aug. 13 and remember how they fought through it. How they took that moment to improve. They can recall what Kubiak and the coaches told them.

“I think we got off to a slow start,” Cody Latimer said. “We started to pick it up, but then fell down again. It happens. We have to be more consistent. I think we left some plays out in the field today that we are going to go correct.”

When players or teams have a bad practice, they want to get back on the field right away. They don’t want to wait. They want to prove what everyone saw was a fluke.

The Broncos offense can’t do that. It has to sit with its poor showing on its day off. Imagine having powerful heartburn on a Saturday morning and you can’t take antacids until Monday. When that days comes, you just hope it works. You have to get rid of this awful feeling. If it lasts, you may lose your mind.

All involved hope the cure comes on Monday.

Will the quarterbacks respond?

Will the offense more resemble one that can play in the NFL?

The last time Denver had a poor offensive performance in practice it responded. It looked much better the next time it took the field. So there is hope. But until Kubiak sees it, he’ll have an uneasy feeling as well. So prove it to him.

Players and coaches do whatever they can to avoid days like Saturday. For some strange reason, they find a way to pop up at the worst possible times. How they learn and grow shows the success they will have.

No doubt that Kubiak is pissed. All involved should feel the same way.

But this is a coachable moment he often talks about. This is a time that can prepare his team for the time it matters most. When it happens again over the course of the regular season, he’ll remain confident because the Broncos offense has shown him it knows what to do.

The players just have to break into the memory bank to remember Aug. 13.