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How to right the ship for a sinking Denver Broncos team

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Why the Denver Broncos sucked in 2017 and a No Bull take on what issues face the franchise

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As we wind down a season of disappointment in Broncos Country, I can’t help but start to look forward to change. But the worry that I have for the team we cheer for is that they are just going through motions with no real clear vision of what it is the team needs to do to right the ship.

Look back over the past few seasons and you will see shift after shift in almost every level of the Denver Bronco organization. They’ve swapped head coaches like the Cleveland Browns. They’ve not had the same offensive scheme for 2 years running in what seems like forever. The locker room has lost some really powerful leaders.

Some will argue that the Broncos need to have something set in stone that creates a dynasty type model like what the Pittsburgh Steeler and the New England Patriots have, but I’d argue that that is largely nonsense. Teams that have long-term success on the front stage of the NFL landscape have that based off of having at least two of the following: a great Quarterback, a great coach, or a great front office (feel free to sprinkle in a lack of ethics and penchant for cheating if you’d like to emulate the p*ts as an added bonus if you like that sort of thing).

The Past

The recent success of the Denver Broncos largely centered on Peyton Manning. As much as many of us in Broncos Country love us some John Elway, there’s just no way when I take a step back and look at the past 5 years subjectively that I can say Elway was the major reason for the team’s overall success.

Elway is a good GM. He gets high marks in free agency and contract structure to be sure. He gets questionable marks largely in the draft and in trade value.

But the reason Denver had such a huge burst of success that culminated in a 2015 World Championship season was due to the power and weight of Peyton Manning. It wasn’t that he was still being a fire-lighting quarterback on the field either. The real power that Manning had was in the appeal he lended to Denver as a spot to be for NFL players looking for success.

Peyton was the kind of leader that everyone wanted to play with and for. Even when his arm was practically falling off and he was throwing turnovers at a rate comparable to his rookie season.

Denver spent the past 5 years fight for a championship for Peyton and rightly so. He was a superb rally point and the greatest quarterback mind to ever play the game hands down...in my books he gets even more credit due to everything pointing toward him doing it the “right way.” There was no video-taping scandal, no rumors about coaches having helmet access outside of the NFL guidelines, and there was certainly no deflate-gate.

The Present

So where does that leave us today? Well, the franchise is reeling after Peyton’s retirement, and it seems both its front office and fan base both are just now coming to terms with the reality that Peyton Manning was a pretty frigging big deal...more so than Elway.

We’ve spent 2 years on a twinkle in Gary Kubiak’s eye at quarterback. Mini-Kubiak has squandered away any hope of developing a player with real NFL talent and the blame for that has to go back up the chain to the top with the coaches and the front office.

Now we have 3 quarterbacks on the roster and no one at any level really believing that any of them is an answer at starter for the franchise.

Add to that that the offense has been under constant change and we just ditched the best defensive coordinator in the NFL today and you have a team that looks like a pile of steaming offal.

Everyone still talks a good game...the PR department at Dove Valley is alive and well making sure the spin machine is in good order. Elway is “going to get this fixed.” Joseph “is seeing the right things in practice.” The players “are giving their all.”

Yup.

We got you, Broncos.

5 - 10 in the basement of the AFC West.

That’s the reality.

It was nice to see some actual wins now that they don’t matter.

But this team is in a mess and they need to figure out how to right the ship.

The Future

More of the same can’t be the answer. John Elway slapping band-aids on this bleeding corpse isn’t going to cut it.

The team needs to deal with the following flaws:

  1. There is no answer at quarterback on the team and a “competition” this season set the franchise back at least 2 years.
  2. The head coach is a noob. While everyone needs a chance to grow, everyone is questioning the Vance Joseph hire in retrospect.
  3. There is a leadership void in the locker room and the guys in there now aren’t capable of filling it.
  4. This team sucks at getting value out of the draft. Changes to scouting, decision making, and draft day trade value weight need to happen.
  5. John Elway needs to step back from being the “all everything” decision maker and get coaches involved that handle coaching / personnel decisions during the season.

This is what we need to be looking for. Don’t get blinded by #1. That’s what the media, the Bronco PR machine, and everyone with a twitter handle is going to chirp about. I’d argue that #5 is the most important followed closely by #3, then #1.

If the team keeps playing knee-jerk and doing the same thing they have since Manning left with lackluster drafting, poor coaching, and head-scratching decisions from the front office, you can expect more “7-9 bullshit,” ladies and gentlemen...and that’s me being kind and giving a shout-out to Jeff Fisher.

Watch what happens with the coaches and the front office this offseason. Do we bring in new talent for the scouting department? Do we replace the head coach? Do we bring in a bright OC that is going to take the reigns and make the offense great again? What does Elway have to say about all of these things and how much responsibility does he take?

As always, drop your thoughts in the comments - good, bad or ugly.

Poll

Which problem is the biggest in your mind for the Denver Broncos?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    No QB talent
    (1072 votes)
  • 24%
    Noob Head Coach
    (683 votes)
  • 7%
    Leadership void
    (213 votes)
  • 15%
    Poor drafting
    (419 votes)
  • 8%
    GM John Elway too involved in coaching decisions
    (228 votes)
  • 5%
    Whorfin
    (147 votes)
2762 votes total Vote Now