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It’s time for Sean Payton to figure it out

Sean Payton vowed that the Denver Broncos would be able to compete immediately under his leadership. So far that hasn’t happened. It’s about time he starts figuring it out—and accept a complete rebuild is necessary.

Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country.

How many of you had relatively high expectations for the Denver Broncos 2023 campaign?

I was one of them.

After the additions in free agency and the perpetual talk of being competitive from ownership, the general manager, and head coach—I figured the Broncos would be able to show themselves worth of at least a Wild Card berth. In fact, most of our staff here at Mile High Report felt the same way.

Alas, after starting the season 1-4 and losing to a bunch of mediocre teams, being absolutely devoured by the Miami Dolphins, and losing the Wilson Bowl (otherwise known as Nathaniel Hackett’s revenge game)—it’s safe to say my (and most of our) expectations were wrong.

There is no hiding it. The Broncos are a bad football team.

And considering they’ve dropped fifteen straight to Kansas City and haven’t embarked on a complete gridiron performance in all phases to date, I wouldn’t expect them to rebound tomorrow night on Thursday Night Football and come out of Arrowhead Stadium with a victory. Hell, I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Payton is on record stating that the team won’t be sellers at the deadline. I’m calling his bluff. In fact, if he was at all serious with that statement, I don’t think he really understands what he is dealing with.

When the Broncos officially drop to 1-5 tomorrow night [and that’s going to happen] he should be getting together with George Paton immediately and start dialing up trade scenarios. If they haven’t already, they certainly need to be coming up with a list of who should and can be dealt.

Teams are calling, but he and Paton should be equally as committed to dialing up the lines in attempt to get as much as they can while they can.

The 2023 campaign for the Broncos is already a catastrophic failure. The only thing that would make that worse is keeping players who have trade value now and hoping things are going to get better next season. Does anyone reading this really think that Denver is going to turn things around as quickly as 2024? I certainly don’t.

It’s time for Sean Payton to figure things out. It’s time for him to acknowledge this season’s trajectory is already set in stone. If not, he might just prove himself to be an $18 million dollar mistake—one the franchise certainly wasn’t in a position to make when they traded all that draft capital to get him.

As always, thanks for reading. Here is a slate of articles to start your Thursday morning.

Broncos News & Tidbits

Report: Broncos indeed "open for business" on Jeudy, Sutton, more
ESPN's Dan Graziano wrote that "it feels pretty obvious from talking to teams around the league the 1-4 Broncos are open for business."

The Denver Broncos are not a tragedy, but a comedy -
If you wanted to name everything wrong with the Broncos, we’d be here forever.

Penner children receive ownership stake in Broncos
The Walton-Penner group is making changes to its ownership structure that confirm its current setup while also affirming its long-term commitment to the Broncos.

4 Broncos players 49ers should target at 2023 NFL trade deadline
If the Broncos wind up being wholesale sellers at the NFL trade deadline, the 49ers should shop for these key names.

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) questionable to play vs. Broncos
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is officially listed as questionable for Thursday night’s tilt against the Broncos. Kelce was a limited participant in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, giving him a shot to suit up on the short week.

NFL News & Tidbits

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins not thinking about trade talk: 'Not worth my time and energy'
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is in the final year of his existing contract, which also includes a no-trade clause. Cousins, however, doesn't sound too interested in considering such a future -- at least not yet.

NFL trade candidates: Notable players who SHOULD be moved before the league's Oct. 31 deadline
Who's ready for some wheeling and dealing? With the NFL trade deadline on Oct. 31, Kevin Patra spotlights 18 players who SHOULD be on the move.

NFL RB Index, Week 6: How six backfields should distribute carries moving forward
How should the Indianapolis Colts distribute carries in the backfield with Jonathan Taylor back in the mix? Maurice Jones-Drew provides his answer and examines the usage among five other RB committees.

Colts HC Shane Steichen says no timeline for Anthony Richardson's return from shoulder injury
The Indianapolis Colts officially placed rookie QB Anthony Richardson (shoulder) on injured reserve on Wednesday, and head coach Shane Steichen declined to speculate on when Richardson could return this season.