It was a season of what-ifs for the Denver Broncos. Ryan Chahrouri of PFF joined Ryan and Ben on Broncos Country Tonight. They discussed coaching options, and quarterbacks. Perhaps the most interesting discussion centered around what went wrong in Denver.
Meanwhile, in a universe not too far from our own, here are the current NFL standings if every single one-score game had the opposite result. pic.twitter.com/C3D5G0cbWt— Bryan Knowles (@BryKno) January 5, 2022
There were high expectations for this Broncos team heading into the season. Fans were excited. The roster looked stacked on paper. The thought of a winning season, maybe a playoff run, perhaps a win over the Chiefs filled the heads of fans everywhere, myself included.
When Ryan asked Chahrouri about what went wrong, he had a couple of really interesting points. First, people expect what is possible to be probable. We were the victims of what we thought could happen. We turned it into the probable, and forgot that possible is usually less than a 50% chance.
The second reason is all about the quarterback (almost all). Charouri made a great point that I think we all need to try and remember:
“The thing you can bet on most consistently is great quarterback play continuing to be great quarterback play and bad quarterback play continuing to be bad quarterback play.”
Obviously, there is a limit to great QB play. Father time is undefeated (although, he is struggling to beat Tom Brady). And yes, there are outliers for bad QB play getting better. Josh Allen jumps to mind. However, the QB issue in Denver is that Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock were both backup QBs.
Bridgewater is what he is. You can argue all day about what Lock is, or will be, but for 2021 neither one of them was really good enough to be considered anything more than a backup. Bridgewater had a career year, and it still wasn’t good enough.
That brings us to the other issue around the QB. Offensive scheme is important. Pat Shurmur, whether he called the games the way he was asked to or not, is not a good offensive coordinator.
Chahrouri points out the offensive scheme for the Green Bay Packers. Having Aaron Rodgers helps, but he is having one of his best seasons because the offensive scheme is really good under OC Nathaniel Hackett.
In the AFC West, with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr, the Broncos were a distant 4th in the QB situation. The offense was awful under Shurmur. No matter how good the defense was going to be, the offense was never going to be good enough.
Injuries and Covid issues also played a roll in some of the issues for the Broncos, but all teams have to deal with those. That’s part of the uncontrollable variables that make up an NFL season. It is hard to include those in franchise deep issues that go beyond just play on the field.
Vic Fangio’s learning curve as a head coach also factor in to the problems for the Broncos. Still, give Fangio a true franchise QB, and his job isn’t in question because Denver is in competition for a deep playoff run.
As fans, we turned possibility into probability heading into the 2021 season. High expectations are kind of the norm here in Broncos Country, but those high expectations lead to big disappointments.
The Broncos do have a good roster. They are close. A good QB makes them an instant contender. As we all have learned, finding that QB is the hardest thing to do in sports.
In Denver, the search continues.