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Sean Payton’s Broncos have failed to meet expectations

Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos ownership were confident they could change their culture and win now. Three games into the 2023 season—that certainly hasn’t been the case.

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Denver Broncos v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country.

Turn back the clocks to the beginning of the year and a profound sense of optimism surrounded the franchise and its fanbase.

The Denver Broncos organization had traded a first-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024 to acquire Sean Payton from the New Orleans Saints. A steep price to pay, but one that was justifiable to many, considering his long-term benefit would outweigh anything either of those draft picks could have provided—or so some thought.

They proceeded to give him one of the largest and most lucrative contracts in the history of the National Football League. The short-lived Nathaniel Hackett era was officially over, and better days were on the horizon. The Broncos finally had a coach to help lead them to the promise land. Or so we were led to believe.

The team was active in free agency and were easily the most aggressive. They agreed to terms with offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers during the legal tampering period. Both received top-end contracts to join a Broncos team who was ‘ready to win now’—according to ownership, their general manager, and newly hired head coach.

You don’t make big splashes like that unless you are planning to make waves immediately. That line of thought was furthered even more when they signed Zach Allen to one of the largest deals this past free agency period. Without question, all three of them have performed quite poorly to date. And I think it’s safe to say there might be some buyer’s remorse all things considered.

After an 0-3 record to start the season, Payton’s Broncos have failed to meet expectations. Sadly, it appears a lot of fans have become more interested in discussing the future of the team rather than what could transpire the rest of the season. That’s a harsh bit of truth to swallow, but if you stroll through the comments sections here or anywhere else on social media, it’s quite clear Broncos Country are wanting refunds on the wolf tickets the powers that be in Dove Valley sold to them throughout the entire offseason.

Optimism has turned to pessimism. And if this trainwreck of a season continues and the losing perpetuates, eventually that pessimism will turn into apathy for a lot of fans who are already close to tuning out from here on out. With that in mind, I’m not sure a win against the Chicago Bears this weekend, a franchise as destitute and hapless as ours, will be much of a needle mover in the way of morale.

In fact, I have a feeling—a burn in my stomach—that a great deal of you readers would rather see them ‘engage in the tank’. You might enjoy daydreaming about what might happen if they were terrible enough to secure a Top 5 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Does anyone here really want to see Denver scrape out 5 to 7 wins and knock themselves out of a prime opportunity to get a long-term difference maker and blue-chip prospect? Perhaps a few, but I’d wager most don’t.

What I’d like to see is the same people that told us the Broncos would be competitive in their 2023 campaign come now come out and acknowledge they were wrong. I’d like to see them admit it’s going to take some time to fix things.

I’d like them to say a true rebuild is on the way. That means bad contracts and players who only know what it’s like to lose are sent packing before the trade deadline. That means they acquire as much draft capital as possible to combat years of terrible drafts and free agent whiffs.

Brick by brick, piece by piece—the losing stench that has plagued this franchise needs to be washed away. And it’s not something that can happen in a year—and likely not even two years. And we should all know by year three whether or not the man leading currently leading the ship was the right call to make.

And we better hope he is, because if not—your beloved Broncos might not be competitive for a very, very long time.

As always, thank you for reading. Here are some stories to sooth your Thursday morning football appetite.

Broncos News and Tidbits

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos haunted by coach's brash words
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Broncos hit rock bottom, and they certainly won't get defensive
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After being let go by the Saints, Tre'Quan Smith is visiting the Broncos
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NFL News and Tidbits

NFL news roundup: Latest league updates from Wednesday, Sept. 27 keeps you up to date with all of the latest league news from around the NFL. Visit's transaction hub for a daily breakdown.

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Jimmy Garoppolo's status for Week 4 remains uncertain at the midpoint of the work week. Garoppolo remains in concussion protocol, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels told reporters Wednesday.

Colts rookie QB Anthony Richardson returns to practice, progressing through concussion protocol
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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks for Week 4
Does Justin Fields deserve one more chance in your lineup? Is Russell Wilson good again? Check out all of Michael F. Florio's QB starts and sits for Week 4 of the NFL fantasy football season.

Jets QB situation: Colin Kaepernick sends letter to Jets requesting to be signed to New York's practice squad -
Kaepernick made his case to Jets GM Joe Douglas