(Note: My original post suggesting that Bo Levi Mitchell be a part of the 2019 Broncos QB discussion was scrubbed after Mitchell re-signed yesterday with Calgary of the CFL)
I recently read a great article about the Denver Nuggets (by Harrison Wind of BSN Denver) that detailed the atmosphere inside the locker room and the great leadership they have gotten from a guy who hasn’t played one second on the court in 2018/19. Isaiah Thomas has brought life and heart to the second youngest team in the NBA and he has been credited for a being a big part of their success so far this season.
We’ve seen the effects that great leadership has had on the Denver Broncos in the recent past and even more obviously and recently the effects of bad leadership. A team that was disciplined and professional during the tenure of Peyton Manning and Demarcus Ware turned into a zoo under the direction of first-time head coach, Vance Joseph. Fortunately it seems that the Broncos have taken first step in rebuilding a solid locker room with the hiring of veteran, no-nonsense coach, Vic Fangio.
Fangio is well known as a man who speaks his mind and doesn’t allow garbage to go on among the players he is in charge of. His “death by inches” term has even been turned into a T-shirt and the Broncos players seem to now be aware that the time for messing around is over.
Unfortunately though, the accountability and even maturity of a locker room can not just fall onto the coaches’ shoulders. For the Nuggets, Michael Malone struggled as the coach to bring the right level of effort and attention mixed with the joy of playing stress-free basketball to his team. Even with veterans and an All-Star he needed someone to gel things together. He needed a player to come in and be that voice and example of hard work and accountability that many young men (and old) need to have before their eyes.
The Broncos needed the same X-factor to return to glory behind the leadership of Manning and Ware. The question is, where will they find that leadership now?
Many believe that Von Miller is the voice and role model of the Denver locker room but recent facts don’t point strongly to that being the case. He’s a great player and a good man but during his time as the leader of the team, there have been drunken parties, chaotic locker rooms and players constantly complaining about their coaches to the media. That never happened in the time of Peyton and it seems clear that the team needs to find a new Sheriff.
There needs to be a change in the culture and though it has already started with the coaches and some might say with the 2018 draft, it can’t stop there.
Elway and company must bring in players with high motors, high football IQs and a good locker room morality. As long as they don’t get in trouble with the law off the field, their morality only needs to be exemplary while at work. They need to know when to show up on time, when to shut up and when to ask questions. They should be doers not whiners and they should want above all to be a Bronco.
For me, this rules out Antonio Brown as an option. For a fractured group of men the last thing you need to add is a diva wide receiver who will make it all about “me” and not about the team.
They should draft guys who are addicted to the game and not just in it for the paycheck. Their 2018 rookie class seems to be a wonderful group of young men who are smart, gritty and willing to do anything to win with the Denver Broncos.
Now the front office is tasked with finding bringing in whatever quarterback can be the best face of the team and the best role model for an organization and a city that ask an awful lot of the man behind center.
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Who would be the ideal vocal leader at QB?
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