The landscape of NFL fandom is filled with arm chair experts and Monday Morning QBs. Broncos Country is crowded with typical fans that knee jerk and overreact to each and every move. I am just as guilty as the next guy. As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast (iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher), the persecution of John Elway has reached a level of ridiculousness unparalleled in recent history.
The case against Elway is simple. He can’t find Peyton Manning’s heir. As if replacing one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game is as easy as snapping your fingers. That doesn’t mean the case isn’t strong. The list of QB’s in the stable for Denver post-Manning is long and less than distinguished.
The most decorated QB on that list is clearly Joe Flacco, but the second guy on that list is probably Mark Sanchez. He never even took a regular season snap in Denver.
The name that will always stand out on that list is Paxton Lynch. Elway traded up to get Lynch in the first round of the 2016 draft. Making the indictment worse is that Elway only traded up for Lynch because he was shunned by the giraffe that is Brock Osweiler.
Excitement is starting to creep back into #BroncosCountry. @AdamMalnati16 & I are stoked by the moves the #Broncos have made. On the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast we also pay homage to #PFM & what these moves mean for the #NFLDraft.@ApplePodcasts: https://t.co/bQkTs6mfnD— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) March 21, 2019
Signing Case Keenum didn’t make things any better for Elway, and the Flacco trade has many in Broncos Country shaking their head. Don’t even get me started on his inability to sign a good RT. Donald Stephenson and Menelik Watson? Ouch.
But let’s take a step back. In a world of “What have you done for me lately?” what has Elway done? Well, he may have put together a defensive backfield with the talent to challenge the original No Fly Zone. Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan will bring talent and toughness to the field. They are both perfect fits in Vic Fangio’s defense, and they will make Chris Harris Jr. better. Maybe a great QB is more qualified to evaluate DBs than QBs.
Oh, and RT was also addressed. Ju’Wuan James was given a major contract. With the departure of Matt Paradis, it was incredibly important for Denver to get a legitimate starter on the offensive line. James fits that mold.
This isn’t the free agency class of 2014, which included Aqib Talib, TJ Ward, Emmanuel Sanders and Demarcus Ware, but it is the best free agency class since then. Perhaps reports of Elway being a terrible GM have been slightly exaggerated? Some of the hatred thrown his way has been warranted. Most of it has not.
No fan is going to agree with Elway 100% of the time. No GM is going to be able to solve the QB issue every time one of the greatest retires. However, if Elway keeps finding defensive gems, and can piece together another winner, how can anyone complain?