Honestly, thank the heavens above that this season is over.
I’m sure for those of you who have been regular readers of mine for years, you know this year was trying for your personal No Bull writer here at milehighreport.com.
The good thing is, we get to put this season behind us, kick the 2022 dust off our sandals, and move forward toward (hopefully) better things.
✨ Our Top plays from 2022 ✨— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 14, 2023
(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/xSgapPrNDC
What do we know about this roster?
As I put my postseason thoughts together, I usually like to delve into the roster and give some useful breakdowns to players. The problem is, I don’t have a stable base to really work for.
Example: Russel Wilson was up and down all year. He ultimately fell way short of any standard he, the coaching staff, or our fans set for him going into this season. How much of it was Wilson? How much of it was the most inept coach this franchise has ever seen in Nathaniel Hackett?
I cannot believe I typed those words when our history includes Josh derping McDaniels. Just thinking about the last 2 weeks of the season, the offense looked completely different. They looked competent. The offense looked like something we’d expect from Wilson and it produced darn near 30 points per game (small sample size notwithstanding).
And just how much do we know about our players when half of them went on IR this season? This team got bitten by not the injury bug, but the injury monster.
So let me just put some things I feel confident about out there that I can reasonably stand behind:
- Russell Wilson is a much better quarterback than what we saw. He needs to be coached harder (and has always needed that, which is why Pete Carroll got so much out of him). Get the right coach that will hold him accountable instead of sucking his toes and his game is going to vastly improve.
- Javonte Williams being healthy will mean a world of difference to the offense. Hopefully he is able to fully recover from his injury because even with a bunch of scrubs on our o-line due to injuries, we had Latavius Murray killing it back there.
- Courtland Sutton needs to stop being treated like a No. 1 WR. He’s obviously never returned fully to form from his injury. He’s still a very good WR, but he’s not elite.
- Jerry Jeudy should rarely be moved to the inside. He was breaking ankles and killing it on the outside. Any coach worth a lick will see it on film and make sure he’s used properly.
- The only guys on the O-line that should positively start next season are Garrett Bolles and Quinn Meinerz.
- Greg Dulcich and Albert Okwuegbunam would be a fantastic 1-2 punch as receiving TEs for the right offense.
- There needs to be a more robust plan than just Randy Gregory for pass rush. The Broncos need something more consistent in their front-7.
- Nic Bonitto needs to bulk up and solidify his work setting the edge or he’s a liability.
- Both inside linebackers could be upgraded still. I liked how both Josey Jewell and Mike Singleton looked in flashes this season, but both are good, not great, options.
- Justin Simmons and Patrick Surtain II are absolute defensive monsters. Because of their play, if you just get a decent team around them, the defense will be above average.
- Damarri Mathis is a very good cornerback in the making. I think it is likely he will start the 2023 season across from Surtain, honestly.
- Both kickers can be upgraded.
- Get a serious ST coach for the first time in a decade, please.
What about the head coaching search?
I’m not going to say anything here that is going to surprise anyone. The Broncos should go get an experienced head coach that you believe in who can handle it. Throw a wheelbarrow full of money at them and get a situation that is going to be stable for the next 3 years.
My preferences are as follows:
- Jim Harbaugh - Loved this guy at San Fran. He’s everything you want in a head coach and builds teams that play hard and with physicality. Sadly, he’s not leaving Michigan, but he’d have been the best thing for the Broncos.
- Sean Payton - Payton will build his team to maximize what the players do. I love that and think he’s flexible enough to get a great offense out of Russell Wilson.
- Jim Caldwell - Caldwell brings sound leadership and proven capability as a head coach. He’s the backup plan in my books just in case you can’t get one of the above two far better options. Really, I’m just saying how little I like the idea of Dan Quinn with this guy at 3.
Ownership and the front office
I think George Paton really shot himself in the foot this past season. Don’t get me wrong, I do think he’s a sound general manager. I just think the new owners trusted his vision and his calls and they went more poorly than any nightmare he could have had to start the season. His QB sucked. His head coach was an epic failure. His roster got decimated by any and all including the ineptitude of Loren Landow (who should be getting fired any time now, honestly). I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a new GM for the Broncos (especially if we see Harbaugh or Payton hired).
I like that Greg Penner and the ownership group are taking action and showing signs of being dialed into this team’s success. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so they should get some patience from us unless they go cheap and pick a cheap, first-time head coach that is out of his depth.
Change is in the air, and I’m for it. This team has been an absolute dumpster fire for years now. I have to believe this team is at rock bottom. It is time for some positive movement. I’m even changing my personal Broncos standard from “make the playoffs” to “have a winning season.”
Hit me up in the comments and share your thoughts. Any guys on the roster you are high on that I didn’t mention? What about the head coaching search? Is there a young guy you think could make it as a head coach like Mike McDaniel did this season in Miami?