All good things must come to an end, Broncos Country, and that means even the UFG.
While it’s unfortunate to end this series for a few months, it’s mostly a relief to end this Broncos’ season.
Can Denver go out with a win? Well DudaBronco, in his second appearance this season, believes it can while HOFDuke, a regular around MHR but a rookie to the UFG, sees things perhaps a little more realistically. Either way, thank you both for an outstanding read and a worthy finale. Even if our Broncos have been a disappointment, this series has not!
Either way, we are all hoping to see more of what we saw last week out of the Broncos against the Chiefs - competence and progress.
If that happens, Denver will have at least finished better than they started and that’s a good thing.
So we’ll celebrate the little wins and hope for some real ones next season!
Week 18: Chargers at Broncos
MHR - For the second time, the Broncos played tough against the Chiefs but this time at Arrowhead with even more backups and an interim head coach. What did you like the most about that game and did it provide a spark of hope for not just this team but the franchise?
DudaBronco: I like the fact that they played four quarters of football, and they were sound in all three phases of the game. If they can keep this momentum going, they will have a good chance Sunday in the season finale.
HOFDuke: The elements of a football team in the making at Arrowhead were the antithesis of Broncos’ first game in Seattle.
MHR - I have been criticizing Justin Outten along with Nathaniel Hackett just about all season because it didn’t seem like he did anything. Rosburg comes in and makes him the true play caller and suddenly we have a hint of the original Russ Wilson with rollouts and play action and all the stuff we should have had 17 weeks ago. Is Outten better than we thought? Since it’s unlikely he stays with a new regime coming in, did his game plan show more of what this team should have been doing?
DudaBronco: Yes I think it is what this team should have been doing, and yes Justin Outten is better than we thought now that Hackett’s gone. It’s just a little too late. I think Outten was just Hackett’s crash dummy.
HOFDuke: Have NO knowledge of Outten. He’s a blank slate to this fan. Knowledge of Klint Kubiak is nothing more than cursory as Gary’s kid. RW has no choice in the NFL to be successful other than as a boot, RPO or roll out QB, he just cannot see the middle of the field. His vision is lacking both figuratively and literally.
MHR - Rosburg also wasted no time putting in players - and taking out players - he believed were needed. From moving Kendall Hinton to Special Teams (and taking out Montrell Washington) to actually making Albert O active and a primary target. Do you agree these were good moves? Should Rosburg be kept on with the Broncos for some kind of role?
DudaBronco: I like what Rosburg did and made changes that needed to be made to the coaching and the roster. Montrell Washington has a great future ahead of him. He needs more work with fundamentals. I would love to see Rosburg back doing anything with special teams.
HOFDuke: Head coaches are expected to make game-time decisions and adjustments. Jerry Rosburg is an interesting case. He is 0-1 as a head coach in the NFL - period. He’s a 40-year football lifer with 20 years in the college game as a position coach, primarily LB and DB. He retired out originally in 2019, but if Evero bolted for greener pastures, and DC was available, then I feel Rosburg is certainly worth serious consideration. As a ST coach he’s proven his value in the NFL, but I have no idea if that’s a role he’d relish any longer at this point. Here’s the deal, I retired early in 2021 due to a buyout, am satisfied and not hungry - the question is then - is Rosburg satisfied or hungry?
MHR - The Broncos’ first game against the Chargers was maddenly close that ended with one of the Broncos’ many OT losses. How do you see this game going - another close one? A lopsided victory by the Chargers? Can Denver avoid going winless int he AFC West on Sunday and get the W?
DudaBronco: I think this can be a close one, but we don’t know whether the Chargers will play their starters. I hope they do because I want an even playing field. The Broncos lead the series 65-55-1. We usually split with the Chargers. We need this win to avoid making history again.
HOFDuke: Guessing the Chargers feel they need the win so Herbert will play. I love that guy. Talentwise, I looked at him as a spear chucker coming out of Oregon. Though brilliant as a 4.0-plus microbiology student at Oregaon, his throws seemed primitive. Like Josh Allen from my alumni UW, once Herbert got in the pro game, he truly shined. He’s deadly as Hades, and I hated him like I hated Dan Fouts back in the day. If the Chargers had nothing to play for, then they would figure Denver gets the win, but without that, it’s gonna be a dawg fight. Broncos need to win this game or set the all-time low bar for Denver as a 13-loss season. Who wants that ignominy? Yeah, not really answering the question...they can win, but will they? ugghhh...
MHR - Pat Surtain has been a superstar for this defense and Justin Simmons has been improving ever since coming back from injury. The Chargers have quite the WR duo in Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, but can the Broncos’ secondary keep it in check…and maybe even out of the endzone?
DudaBronco: Pat Surtain (PS2) is Elite CB already in his second year. Patrick Mahomes didn’t even throw the ball his way in the second game.J SIMMS. Is just the man I think he’s the best safety in the game.I hope so but besides Mike Williams and Keenan Allen they got Austin Eckler in the back field,he can also be a threat in the run game.The Broncos D will be up to the challenge.
HOFDuke: First off if you have read my posts then know I am a Boston born kid and seriously want Justin Simmons, a BC alumni, referred to as “the Hawk.” We had a guy in the 1967 world series, a right fielder for the Red Sox, a kinda wacky dude named Ken “the Hawk” Harrelson where fly balls went to die. Justin Simmons deserves that moniker IMO. The game has changed, Simmons has Dennis Smith’s body structure yet Smith blew guys up, punished them top side as he didn’t have lead in the pencil or sand in the pants to blow up low, so came up shoulder to shoulder like a boxer for the KO. The game has changed, and Simmons is the nuevo safety - a guy who can spread the field and show up anywhere to make mayhem as a pass catching thief. Love his game even though it’s nothing like what Smith played. Damarri Mathis is more old school, a little dawg, bites before bitten - dig his game too, and he’ll be an integral factor if playing Sunday. There’s a sadness in my mind that Ojemeda was cut as he was the kind of CB that had the size and length to compete with Allen and Williams, but alas...
MHR - What have you liked best about Ejiro Evero’s defense this season? Do you hope he stays on with the new regime? Would you put him in at head coach yet? Do you think the defense can be as good next season if he’s not here as DC?
DudaBronco: In Ej’s defense he has them boys flying around anybody can make a play,and he ain’t scared to send pressure. In Uncle Vic’s defense he didn’t really send pressure. I would love to see Ejiro be a head coach one day, but I don’t think he’s ready yet.
HOFDuke: Absolutely would not look at Evero as a potential HC in 2023. If he sticks around and if Harbaugh is the HC hire, then would love to see Evero as the DC/Asst HC and potentially if Harbaugh blows out then he can become the “interim HC ‘’ and insurance policy as the hire if proves himself at that point. Am not convinced Evero and his agents will be back in 2023 so make that same scenario for Rosburg as a DC/Asst HC to Harbaugh. Now why do I believe that Harbaugh would go along with that - well he’s sent his favorite DC dude to his bros with the Ravens and if money talks then think Harbaugh would listen as he’s seriously a QB and offense guy and open to Defensive coaching staff being installed.
MHR - With the same basic game plan for the Broncos offense this week most likely, do you anticipate the Broncos having more success against this Chargers’ defense than last time? Is the OL capable of holding back Bosa or is there a way we can make sure he gets food poisoning again? (just kidding…mostly)
DudaBronco: Yeah the Broncos will most likely stick to that same basic game plan, and yes, I think that the offense can have success. I really want to see Tyler Badie and what he is made of out of the backfield. Hopefully the OL can hold up. Quinn Bailey will finally get the start and it’s well deserved. We need to see what these guys can do because we are looking into next season right now.
HOFDuke: Good one Laurie - a bit of Lucifer’s debutante in you we see. Let me say this, I wouldn’t want anyone I cared about having to take snaps behind the Broncos' O-line at the moment.
MHR - How important does the run game need to be this week - especially with Jerry Jeudy still nursing an ankle injury? Do you anticipate a lot of two-back, two tight-end sets?
DudaBronco: The run game is very important because it opens the play action pass, and the play action pass opens up the down field threat. Yeah, we should see some two back and two tight end sets. I really want to see Tyler Badie; hopefully we will.
HOFDuke: I’d like to see a game where the jags (just a guy) get the opportunity to put something on film that matters the most.
MHR - Rumors are swirling that Jim Harbaugh is very likely coming to Denver as head coach next season (though Saturday we learned that Sean Payton met with the Broncos). First, how much faith do you have in those rumors? Second, do you like the idea of Harbaugh here? Finally, what are your main desires for the next head coach in Denver?
DudaBronco: I never put faith in rumors; that’s what they are - just rumors. And this is rumor season. But secondly, I love the idea. Everywhere Harbaugh has been he’s won. He’s a proven winner. And I want the next head coach to be a winner. All that stuff about being a hugger…just be about football be a winner. There’s no hugging in football, LoL.
HOFDuke: Jimbo the Bimbo - love the Woody Hayes intellectual cousin by way of Bo Schembechler. Jim Harbaugh is an amazing football lifer, weird as a feral cat, and just as uncanny. He’s been a winner wherever he’s gone, bringing moribund college programs and an NFL franchise back to life. I burn people out - was a successful businessman and salesman for years, nobody really liked me all that much. I am a total Jim Harbuagh kind of guy. We’re two peas in a pod, he could be my younger brother. He’s a jerk, a total A+ type of personality and just doesn’t care, and he knows and breathes football. Is he coming to the Broncos - hell yeah he is, right now he’s throwing out false signals to raise the rate or cost of hire, My boy is coming to Denver people - get over it!!!
MHR - A lot of focus in the NFL this week was on the injury to Damar Hamlin and safety in football as well as overall medical protocols (which likely saved Hamlin’s life). If you saw the game or even if you’ve just paid attention to the coverage, what were your thoughts about the situation immediately? Obviously this was a rare physical response to a tackle but is it rightly bringing attention to the overall potential danger of the sport? Or do you see it as unnecessary attention to something that’s not the usual occurrence?
DudaBronco: First off, prayers up for Damar Hamlin and his family. This is a very touchy subject to speak on, but football is a very violent sport. Yes I think the attention given was necessary just to bring about awareness that anything can happen on any giving Sunday.
HOFDuke: Football is about violence, Darwinian survival between the white lines. The Romans had gladiators; we groom some of our finest athletes and reward them handsomely to play a game of crash car dummies with their lives. It’s nothing like it was pre-2000 yet still with speed of play and size, it’s very darwinian, and this incident with Hamlin isn’t in my mind about the NFL health issues. Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis in my day way back in the 1990s, and sadly off the court Lenny Bias in late 1980s, were more what I see of Hamlin’s incident - a cardiac arrest. Sure the hit may have precipitated that, yet it’s not a direct correlation. Will it lead to more calls to yet water down the game of tackle football? Probably it will. I love the modern game; its athleticism and speed far outpace the game that I played as a kid in the 1970s and watched as a fan thereafter, these guys are able on defense to be aggressive at the catch point in ways we never were. Yet as a fan, as a football player and as a coach, if we take getting guys to the ground out of the game - is it really football?
MHR - It hasn’t been a great season but there have been some great performances. Which players stood out to you over the season on offense, defense, even special teams?
DudaBronco: On offense I think Jerry Jeudy is coming into his own finally and Greg the hair Duclich is special. On defense, Damarri Mathis and Alex Singleton. On special teams, Montrell Washington is going to be special with the right coaches around him.
MHR - What do you think fans will be like on Sunday? Will the stadium be filled again after hope from last week’s performance and the promise of something better next season?
DudaBronco: Hopefully the fans pack the stadium help bring that MILE HIGH MAGIC BACK!!!!!!!!! And plus, it’s Fan Appreciation Day.
HOFDuke: Yeah, the Broncos showed enough in KC that the fans with tickets will show up.
The countdown is ON for #LACvsDEN! ⏳— Empower Field at Mile High (@EmpowerField) January 7, 2023
Don't miss your chance to win concert tickets, an XBOX, free @budlight for a year & more as part of our Fan Appreciation Game presented by @ArrowGlobal » https://t.co/dLAjboKe1M pic.twitter.com/XR1nkwt2VQ
Predictions - DudaBronco
Stats for RUSSELL “Maybe we can do a little riding” WILSON? 24-38, 2 passTDs, 1 rushing TD, 70 yards
Stats for each Broncos RB? Latavius Murray, 100 yards, 1 rushing TD
Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? Jerry Jeudy, 100 yards, 1 TD
Longest FG for McManus? 55
Number of sacks to Justin Herbert? 6
Broncos player with the most tackles? Alex Singleton
Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Nik Bonitto
Who gets the most sacks? Baron Browning
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Chargers D? 0 all the way around
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 3 INTs / 2 FF / 1 FR
How many penalties between the two teams? 8
Final Score? Broncos 28-Chargers 18
Predictions - HOFDuke
Stats for RUSSELL “Maybe we can do a little riding” WILSON? How about, RW has been riding us. He showed amazing courage the last part of the season so I am bagging off the hate. He was hated as a Seahawk and pulled the team out of the fire like Elway did the Broncos. He’s a weird dude, so what. Was Elway weird, Tom Brady weird, Brett Favre weird, or Aaron Rodgers weird? As long as not in a Ryan Leaf or Todd Marinovich way weird, who cares? If they win games then weird on, dude! I hope the best for RW in 2023 and going forward, I am pessimistic to be honest but not a hater! I would be thinking a 2TD passing game and 1TD running game would be a very positive outcome with only 1INT or better yet less. You want me to add to that Laurie - you go girl - I think that’s a decent estimation and would prefer this game to be zeo INT’s but one is probably realistic with Derwin James & Co. lurking.
Stats for each Broncos RB? Guessing Badie gets carries, maybe 25-30 yards and a catch or two; Murray, the breadwinner, maybe 15-20 carries and 90-110 yards; Edmunds, maybe 5 carries and 15-30 yards or so.
Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? 320 yards as RW gets one TD in the red zone to Big O! RW finally gets rolling right, shows to the half the field and cuts up the Chargers for a game over 300 yards (maybe a RW bomb for a TD, maybe we see that action!) Just don’t bet on it on Draftkings or any other website and blame me! Sadly Herbert throws for about 400 yards and 3 TDs!
Longest FG for McManus? 52 yards.
Number of sacks to Justin Herbert? He is willing to hold the ball, can the Broncos get home? Would love to see Bonitto bring it and get two himself. Let’s go with five sacks for a positive pass rush.
Broncos player with the most tackles? Well I’d be an idiot to pick anyone else other than Singleton, he’s been a tackling machine this season. Not a guarantee, just a high probability.
Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Love to see Bonitto show on that.
Who gets the most sacks? Bonitto and Cooper, both with 2 each - a guy can dream can’t he?
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Chargers D? RW is steady in this game and has zero INTs; Forced Fumbles…well Murray doesn’t fumble period, so I don’t see it. Ok maybe one. Fumble Recovery…eh, nah - none.
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? INT against Herbert? Well good luck - maybe one; Forced fumble with Eckler and that other doggone secure dude - don’t see it; Fumble Recovery…maybe one on a kickoff or punt…maybe.
How many penalties between the two teams? Well Broncos have gotten better so maybe two and two for Chargers, so four.
Final Score? 38-28 Chargers. LA rallies for 3 TDs in the fourth quarter as the Broncos gas out.
The Favorites - DudaBronco
Favorite Broncos win ever? 2012 Broncos 38, Chiefs 3
Favorite win over the Chargers ever?1997 Broncos 38, Chargers 3
Favorite John Elway game, not called SB32? John Elways first comeback game against the Colts.
Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Raiders
Coach you despise most in the NFL? Andy Reid
NFC team you’d want to face - and beat - more than any other in the Super Bowl? GreenBay Packers
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Pat Surtain (PS2)
Favorite Broncos player of all time, not named John Elway? Shannon Sharpe
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Greg Dulcich
Favorite game analyst/commentator? Al Michaels
The Favorites - HOFDuke
Favorite Broncos win ever? Actually was a loss - the Broncos first Super Bowl against the Cowboys. I still say Butch Johnson didn’t make that catch before the end of the first half in the rollover TD. Met him a few times in Denver while I lived in Aurora and asked him about it. He winked at me. He knows that I know. In that loss, the Broncos won; they were NO longer on anyone’s “kick me” checklist.
Favorite win over the Chargers ever? Forgot the exact game and date, but I went to watch a Chargers vs Broncos game and sat totally randomly next to Lynden King’s sister. Lynden was an athletic LB, about 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. He was the second fastest guy on Chargers’ team with a 4.4 or so 40 yard dash. So she told me many stories about Lynden from his Porsche convertible driving in San Diego and cruising the streets as a bachelor and of course an NFL stud, which make me envious to this day. Oh yeah, the game… the Broncos won, whatever to whatever.
Favorite John Elway game, not called SB32? My nickname is HOFDUKE on MHR for the simple reason that Tom Brady is the best processor of information on the field, Joe Montana is second best. But when gawd designed a QB, the mold was John “the DUKE” Elway. I don’t care - pick whatever game you want - he amazed me week after week. His ability to light up DBs made them helpless, and I just loved it.
Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Is that a trick question - the Raiduuuhhhhs! Go home fat ass (reference of course to the great Tom Jackson yelling at great John Madden to get off the field after Broncos finally kicked some Raidus azz in the playoffs). To finalize Jackson - it’s over!
Favorite Tim Tebow win? Tim Tebow is a joke as a first-round NFL QB. No way, no how is he an NFL QB1, a QB2 or as proven a PS QB. I love Tim Tebow! Everybody remembers Tebow’s knocking the Steelers outta the playoffs with a slant to DT for an opening “get outta here” TD in OT! Loved it - but not even my fave Tebow moment. Not the Jets run for a TD either. Nope it was a game. Broncos played the last home game for the Raiduhs in the “black hole.” QB Tebow first half gets cheap shots from 12 players, as Al Davis was jumping his grave! He gets stitches at halftime and comes out second half, still gaining yardage somewhere in Oakland. Tim Tebow Owns Oakland - it’s official!
Coach you despise most in the NFL? I’m a Patriots and Broncos fan so I know the standard answer is Belichik, but I love that guy so I am an oddity. I don’t despise anyone willing to sell out to win in the NFL, but will say if I had to pick a guy wouldn’t mind leaving out in the cold in a Wyoming blizzard it would be Pete Carroll - and that was before the RW trade.
NFC team you could cheer for in the Super Bowl? Am an AFC fan, seriously just don’t give a sheist about the NFC! There’s no team in the NFC that I would root for in a SB unless playing the Raiduhs - and then it’s whoever is playing the Raiduhs!
NFC team you’d want to face - and beat - more than any other in the Super Bowl? Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, NY Giants and Seattle - we owe all those bastards, so take your choice.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Geezuz - Jerry Jeudy and Albert O. To me Albert O could be a sensation like Darren Waller or Erik Metcalf in the NFL as a total mismatch receiver. He can’t block, but who cares? He can catch in the red zone and run like a deer, and he’s 6-foot-5. I’d love to see him unleashed. Finally Bronco fans are seeing what scouts have known about Jeudy forever - he’s legit and dangerous. Forgot the lower number of passes he gets versus the other No. 1 WRs like Ja’MarrChase and John Jefferson, but Jeudgy gets like 20-25% fewer opportunities. Throw the man the ball and then judge him.
Favorite Broncos player of all time, not named John Elway? Was a kid in junior high going into high school, and our football coach in 9th grade told me to help him evaluate and cut film on players - as that would be best for me. He was an NFL regional scout for Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and another team as well as a backup O-lineman for the Packers during their Lombardi glory days, mainly as a guard. The first guy he wanted me to look at was LB Schmidt of the Lions, a HOF guy who the coach said was the greatest tactician as a LB he had ever seen, and he wanted me to use him in comparison to other LBs. This is my opinion, take it for what it’s worth as I wear orange and blue shades. In my mind, no LB in the NFL has ever been as complete a player and a tactician as Randy Gradishar. He’s by far the guy that I’d rate in his era, the player that solidifies an ability to get guys to the ground, few whiffs, his goal line stands were impeccable and could cover a zone in pass coverage. I loved that guy and why he’s not in the HOF to this day irks me to no end!
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? I am gonna split that with Jalen Virgil and Montrell Washington; they both excite me. Hopefully both develop into real deep ball threats, return threats and gadget play threats.
Favorite game analyst/commentator? Keith Jackson - “Whoa Nellie!”
How did you become a Broncos fan?
HOFDuke: In the 1960s as a little “punkin” I was an AFL Patriots fan. Jim Nance lived across the street from us (look him up Broncos fans; he was the Jim Brown of the AFL, and also a Syracuse grad who replaced Brown. At 6’1” and 250 pounds, he was not a man to be trifled with. We didn’t play football in my neighborhood as there was no grass, so we played street hockey and street baseball. I was a chubby or husky kid and kind of a bully, and we would take cardboard and slide down a water trough next to a hillside stair steps. My cardboard burnt off and my pants split open. Then the kids all excitedly say that Jim’s outside, let’s go see him. Off we go; he looks at me like “what's wrong with you kid?” so I told him I tore my pants on a slide and he laughed and said come on over and we’ll play catch. I fell in love with football from that moment on. Jim died of a heart attack in 1992.. He was a great guy for the AFL, Patriots, and Syracuse football. My parents sent us to Denver a couple of times in the 1960s to visit my dad’s brother who was a Broncos fan and had season tickets in the South Stands at Mile High. What a hoot. Seriously was like a melodrama then - the players stunk, the games stunk, the fans were boorish, the beer was cheap and everyone was happy in their misery. I was a husky kid and picked on for being fat and gravitated toward the Broncos being picked on because they sucked. So along with the Patriots, the Broncos became my adopted team. We moved back here to Wyoming in 1971 and, of course, being so close to Denver I just went to too many games to count and the first player who made the difference to being a fan of positive note was Floyd Little - also a Syracuse dude, the little man that didn’t know it. Been a Bronco fan ever since and love both the patsies and donkeys in their bad times and as champion Patriots and Broncos in their good times!
One word to describe this season? And one to describe next season?
DudaBronco: Heartbroken. Hope.
What word would you use to best describe how you feel right now about the Broncos?
This poll is closed
Ready to ride