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Horse Tracks: Where do the Denver Broncos go from here?

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After starting off the season with two inspiring wins, the Denver Broncos have endured a three-game losing streak. Those losses are making many wonder about the future of the franchise.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country.

A little over the quarter way mark of the 2018 season, the Denver Broncos find themselves in a familiar place. The final destination is still unknown, but all of Broncos Country fears their beloved franchise is heading down a road that leads to nowhere.

Last year, the Broncos started the season off with two inspiring wins that gave fans a reason to be optimistic. Alas, the wheels fell off the proverbial train in October with the team embarking on an eight-game losing streak — the worst skid the franchise had in the course of five decades. It was a painful reminder of just how far the Broncos had fallen from grace. When it was all said and done, they ended up with a 5-11 record that brought back memories of the 2010 struggles in the ill-fated Josh McDaniels era.

A lot of us believed that there was no way history would repeat itself this season. That this year’s Broncos would have learned from their past mistakes and were destined for something greater than what they showed a year ago. But five games into the season sporting a 2-3 record after a crushing road defeat to the New York Jets, we are on the edge of the precipice facing the same daunting peak — with all of us wondering where we the franchise goes from here.

It’s almost unfathomable how bad things have gotten just three years removed from a Super Bowl winning campaign. For some players, there is a belief that something deeper is going on behind the scenes. What that exactly is, we may never know. Though it’s safe to say that the lack of leadership and accountability present on a weekly basis is probably a pretty good starting point. It doesn’t appear as if the players and coaches are on the same page, but hopefully that’s sorted out soon.

Most certainly, there is no quick fix for what is happening within the organization. The idea that a simple reload could be the solution is a fool’s errand. What the Broncos need is a complete rebuild from top to bottom. The primary issue that needs addressing would be the ownership battle that has been going on for years — which is a whole can of worms that deserves much more diligence than what I can give it in Horse Tracks, but quite frankly needed to be said.

The second and likely most reasonable and attainable course of action would be finding a new coaching staff, because it’s a damn certainty those in charge now aren’t leading the Broncos to the promise land. Another idea that has been floated, which I haven’t come to a final opinion on yet, is the belief that it may be time to move on from John Elway. Though he deserves praise for building a roster that won five-straight AFC West titles and secured the franchise’s third Super Bowl victory — there have been a lot of questionable decisions in free agency and the draft (outside of this past class) that has undoubtedly set back the franchise. But let’s be honest, who is going to tell the Broncos’ legend it’s time to pack your bags?

The team obviously needs a franchise quarterback, but acquiring one is easier said than done. Those types of players don’t hit the free agent market often. Furthermore, the prospect of the Broncos having the ability to get a top-ranked collegiate signal caller in a so-so draft class seems tenuous at best. That is unless someone (Elway) decides to sell the farm to go and get their top-ranked guy, whomever that may be.

On top of needing a franchise quarterback, the Broncos have a lot of work to do with their roster. They will have some tough decisions to make on a handful of high-priced veteran players this off-season that could net them big time cap space to make several free agent splashes. Depending on who stays and goes, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Broncos have nearly $80 million available at their disposal if a complete rebuild is truly in order.

That’s the big catch though. Are those in charge honest enough to realize it’s time for a complete rebuild or will they continue to believe, like Mike Shanahan did for years, that they are just a player or two away from achieving greatness?

Only time will tell, but it’s pretty obvious to most that a clearing of house is in order. Face it folks, this team isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — especially if it continues to repeat the same mistakes it has over the past three seasons.

As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.

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