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John Elway called the players soft. I’m calling them out.

Elway called them soft. I’m calling them out.

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Six in a row, Broncos Country! Can you feel it? With the 2017 season all but swirling the drain (toilet?), it’s time to look to the future. Go ahead and book that early January vacation. Break out those mock drafts. Most importantly, it’s time to start looking at the roster.

Outside of a trade or a horrendous salary cap hit, I know that contractually, we are likely stuck with many of these players. On the converse of that, many of these players are on one year/the last year of their contract and won’t be back anyway. It does however, need to be noted that certain players are not playing up to the level that the Denver Broncos organization and their fans expect. Regardless of what the various contract situations may be, I’m going to shine a light on those that deserve some scrutiny during this abysmal 2017 Broncos season.

Elway called them soft, I’m calling them out.

Let’s start with the offense since it’s the unit most in turmoil.

  • Brock Osweiler
  • Trevor Siemian
  • C.J. Anderson
  • Andy Janovich
  • Donald Stephenson
  • Connor McGovern
  • Max Garcia
  • Ron Leary
  • Connor McGovern
  • Virgil Green
  • Jeff Heuerman
  • Bennie Fowler III
  • Isaiah McKenzie
  • Demaryius Thomas

It’s no secret that the quarterbacks are just awful. Trevor has all but played his last snap in Denver and wasn’t even active against the Bengals. Brock has been an improvement, but will never be the uncontested starter. He would, however, make an intriguing candidate to be a veteran backup going forward.

CJ Anderson got his big contract going into the 2016 season and hasn’t lived up to the big money that Elway has paid him. Sitting at 573-yards for the season with 3 total touchdowns and just a single game with over 100-yards, he’s not looking like a career feature back. Certainly not for the jack he’s making.

I feel bad for Andy Janovich. We haven’t had a chance to see what he can really do because the offense just isn’t geared toward using a fullback. If we aren’t going to use him or his skills, why is he here? It’s like keeping a drop-kick specialist on the roster just in case. It boggles the mind.

The offensive linemen... Just about all of them. One of the worst units in the NFL deserves some major scrutiny. From week to week, some of them play well and others don’t. Then it switches and then there’s a week they are all terrible. It’s just a mush-mash of awful. I know some of these folks will be back next season, but there’s nobody in this group any Broncos fans would freak out over losing... and for good reason.

Then there’s the tight ends. At what point can we declare the Virgil Green experiment over? Every year we hear that he’s going to have a great season as a receiving tight end and then we have games like the one on Sunday where ham-hands fails to bring one in and then stares at his fingers like they’ve betrayed him or something (Scotty’s observation). The Jeff Huerman thing just never got going and it’s becoming clear that it just won’t. The miracle moment where he suddenly turns into Shannon Sharpe isn’t coming.

The common problem with the group of receivers that round out this list all have one thing in common.

Bennie Fowler just isn’t whatever it is we are trying to get him to be. Isaiah McKenzie has been a disaster in the return game and as a receiver he hasn’t hardly seen the field. Then there’s Demaryius Thomas. DT is good for at least two drops a game and up until recently, hasn’t been able to find the end zone with any consistency. Sure, if it were Bennie Fowler with his production, I’d be happy. However, with that monster contract and lack of any real production (outside of the incredible 3-game touchdown streak-yay) he’s the first person I look to on this offense as an epic disappointment.

It’s difficult for me to go after folks on the defensive side of the ball because I feel, as most of Broncos Country does, that they have gotten a raw deal this season with how putrid the offense has been.

  • Todd Davis
  • Shane Ray
  • Bradley Roby

On a defense of names, Todd Davis is just a guy. His 1 sack and 46 tackles just isn’t good enough. He’s the guy you always hear on the game broadcasts that almost just did something. He almost caught the interception. Almost made the stop. Almost. Just... Shoot. He was nearly there.

Coming back from his injury, Shane Ray hasn’t been the dominant force that everyone hoped would replace Demarcus Ware. While those are huge shoes to fill, it’s just not good enough. In three games, just 10 tackles and 1 sack? In the three games he’s been back, defenses have scored a combined 112 points. 10 tackles and 1 sack is the best he can do?

Rounding out this list is Bradley Roby. When he was drafted, the knock against him was that he was inconsistent. That’s the knock I have against him today. When he’s on, he’s great. When he’s off? Offenses go after him like Roc Alexander and reap huge benefits for doing so. If there is a weak link in the Broncos secondary, it wears #29.

I’m not singling these guys out to me mean or make them feel bad. I am singling them out because the Broncos are riding a 6-game losing streak right into the dumper and I’m mad as hell about it. Last week, I went off of the coaches. This week, it’s time for the players to be accountable for what could turn out to be the worst Broncos team since the strike-shortened 1982 season.

HORSE TRACKS

Broncos vs. Bengals turns ugly, but features fascinating fourth quarter - Denver7 TheDenverChannel.com
The Broncos drop sixth straight as Bengals win in Denver for first time since 1975.

Cover 4: Broncos fall just short in 20-17 loss to Bengals
These are the four pieces of information you need to know following the Broncos' loss.

From the Pocket: Osweiler knows team isn't playing to the Denver standard
Following a 20-17 loss to the Bengals, Osweiler explains what he's seeing from the offense.

Why it happened: Bengals 20, Broncos 17
Turnovers proved costly again as the Broncos were unable to muster a comeback against the Bengals.

Broncos players take issue with Elway's 'soft' label - NFL.com
Things start to get a little tense when the losses pile up. Just ask the Denver Broncos. Coach Vance Joseph and linebacker Von Miller responded to John Elway's "soft" comments.

Demaryius Thomas climbs Broncos' record books but struggles to appreciate the moment
The veteran receiver stretched his touchdown streak to three games and tied Shannon Sharpe for second-most touchdown receptions in franchise history, behind only Rod Smith.

The AFC West is suddenly the division no team wants to win
Kansas City has lost four of five and the rest of the division is still at least two games behind. Can the Chargers, Raiders or Broncos make a run?

Vance Joseph was “initially offended” by Elway’s remarks – ProFootballTalk
On Friday, Broncos president of football operations and G.M. John Elway said the team has gotten "a little bit soft." Broncos coach Vance Joseph initially wasn't happy about that.

Demaryius Thomas climbs Broncos' record books but struggles to appreciate the moment
The veteran receiver stretched his touchdown streak to three games and tied Shannon Sharpe for second-most touchdown receptions in franchise history, behind only Rod Smith.

At long last, Terrell Davis finally receives recognition he deserves
The honor was definitely worth the wait.

Red Miller's name unveiled on Ring of Fame facade
During halftime of Sunday's game against the Bengals, the Broncos celebrated former head coach Red Miller's legacy by unveiling his spot on the Ring of Fame facade.

McCarthy after shutout loss: 'Hundley is our starter' - NFL.com
With the Packers averaging 14 fewer points with Brett Hundley at the helm, you'd think Green Bay would want to shake things up on offense. But don't expect Mike McCarthy to make any changes at QB.

Green Bay Packers lose Clay Matthews, Kenny Clark to injuries
The Packers lost Clay Matthews to a groin injury and Kenny Clark to an ankle injury that upset members of Green Bay's defense. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix called Ravens center Ryan Jensen, who hit Clark, "trash."

Packers only have themselves to blame for fading NFC playoff hopes - CBSSports.com
Green Bay could have brought in a veteran quarterback but decided to stick with Hundley

Vikings top Rams, have sights on Minnesota-hosted Super Bowl - NFL.com
After beating the Rams on Sunday and improving to 8-2, one Vikings player told Tom Pelissero the team is starting to believe it could earn home-field advantage all the way to the Minnesota-based Super Bowl.

Richard Sherman calls out Bills after Peterman's INTs - NFL.com
Bills rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half of Sunday's game against the Chargers. This poor play caught the attention of Richard Sherman.

Patriots' week at Air Force Academy pays off with lopsided win
Training this past week in the high altitude at the Air Force Academy helped the Patriots blow out the Raiders in Mexico City.

Attorney representing Uber driver asks NFL to investigate Ronald Darby defense of Jameis Winston
John Clune, an attorney for an Uber driver who is alleging that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped her in 2016, has asked the NFL to look into Ronald Darby's defense of Winston.

Jerry Jones of Dallas Cowboys says rift with NFL not affecting team's play
Jerry Jones said he does not believe tensions between the Cowboys owner and the NFL have affected his team on the field.

NFL reaches agreement to play regular-season games in Mexico through 2021 - CBSSports.com
The Patriots-Raiders game on Sunday won't the last NFL game in Mexico City

Kirk Cousins returns to throw TD after head shot on play Chris Thompson breaks leg - CBSSports.com
Things nearly went south for the Redskins' game and season on Sunday

Vikings' Zimmer has 'high hopes' for Bridgewater, says it'd be hard to pull Keenum - CBSSports.com
The Vikings' coach addresses the team's cloudy quarterback situation after their eighth win of the season

Bills' McDermott: 'I don’t regret' benching Tyrod Taylor for Nathan Peterman - CBSSports.com
Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half before getting yanked

NFL Week 11 Grades: Collapsing Chiefs get a 'D,' Vikings get an 'A+' for throttling Rams - CBSSports.com
Here are the Week 11 grades for every team that played Sunday

Sorting the Sunday Pile Week 11: Saints sure look like NFL's most complete team - CBSSports.com
Plus the Eagles' formula for winning late, the AFC playoff mish mash and a budding young Vikings star

Eagles vs. Cowboys final score, takeaways: Philly frustrates Dak, dominates Dallas - CBSSports.com
The Eagles move to 9-1 after beating the Cowboys by four touchdowns

Anthony Hitchens to undergo MRI on groin – ProFootballTalk
The Cowboys already know they won't have starting weakside linebacker Sean Lee on Thursday against the Chargers. Now, it appears unlikely they'll have his backup either. Anthony Hitchens started in Lee's spot Sunday against the Eagles but left in the second half with a groin injury.

Adam Thielen matches Randy Moss through 10 games – ProFootballTalk
If you think Vikings receiver Adam Thielen isn't the real deal, think again. Thielen's six-reception, 123-yard day gives him 62 catches for 916 yards on the season. And that puts him in select company over the entire course of franchise history.

Larry Fitzgerald passes Tony Gonzalez on all-time receiving yardage list – ProFootballTalk
Sure-fire Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald has racked up another accolade that makes it even more of a no-brainer that he'll earn a bronze bust.

Jerry Jones wants Roger Goodell held “accountable” to ownership – ProFootballTalk
During his speech at halftime, after receiving his Hall of Fame ring, Jerry Jones spoke about making the NFL better. His words seemed to be directed at Roger Goodell and other NFL owners. "That's what I do. That's what I should do.

Nathan Peterman: I have never experienced something like this – ProFootballTalk
Nathan Peterman said he has "never experienced something like this." Of course, neither had anyone else. Peterman was the first quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to throw at least five interceptions in a first half, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.