The Broncos are hoping top-heavy football can win games
Remember in math when we had to do word problems? Man, I hated them.
I especially hated the ones that went like this: “Two trains leave Denver at the same time. One train is heading East at 75 miles per hour and the other is heading West at 80 miles per hour. At what point will they be 310 miles apart.”
I harken back to those halcyon days as I reflect on the flurry of moves made by the Broncos on and after cutdown day. A whopping seven players who were not with the team during training camp made it onto the 53-man roster. That is staggering. After months of offseason conditioning, OTAs, mini-camps, training camp and preseason games the Broncos made up 13 percent of their roster with guys who weren’t there for any of it.
For the last three years, I’ve tried to tell anyone who would listen the problem with the Broncos wasn’t coaching; it was a talent drain. Some people got it. Others didn’t because they didn’t want to admit John Elway had fallen into a personnel slump. However, after this, is there any doubt there just isn’t enough homegrown talent to build a complete roster?
I can hear the Elway supporters rallying. “But what about the three Broncos placed on IR? Three of the seven guys brought in will likely go once those guys get healthy.” My answer is, Why couldn’t three players who had been here all along made the roster, only to be cut once guys came off IR? Why did so many outsiders, deemed better than what was here, get brought in?
I do give Elway credit. He owned it. He admitted his guys weren’t good enough and there were better players out there, even if they were other teams’ castoffs. That involves swallowing some pride, placing the ego aside and doing what’s best for the team.
So what does it mean for this year’s Broncos? It means a fascinating year where just like that word problem in math class mentioned above, the Broncos will be traveling down two different tracks at the same time.
On one hand, you have the attempt to catch 2015 lightning in a bottle again. You know the formula. A dominating defense supported by just enough offense, superior coaching and a healthy dash of luck can lead to great things.
The Broncos Super Bowl team won 15 games that year – 12 in the regular season and three more in the playoffs. Of those 15 wins, 11 were by seven points or less. Of those 15 wins, the offense scored 24 or less points 10 times. It was an incredible tightrope trick pulled off by those Broncos, but pull it off they did.
I can see them trying to duplicate that this year. If it works, great. But if it doesn’t, then look to that other track.
At the same time the Broncos are “in it to win it” this year, they are also rebuilding right before our very eyes. Thirty-three of the Broncos on the team’s current roster are 26 years old or younger. This is a franchise ready to switch to a rebuilding project that has already been under construction for two years.
If it doesn’t work out this year, if Joe Flacco doesn’t have anything left in the tank, if the team wants to move on from Chris Harris Jr. and Emmanuel Sanders, if the team wants to trade Von Miller for a haul, they can do that safe in the knowledge they’re in no way starting from scratch. They will have a young QB in Drew Lock to build around, plus building blocks on offense and defense.
So, fret not Broncoland. There is room for optimism when it comes to the franchise. Something good should be happening here in the future.
Just what train will it be?
P.S. the answer to the word problem is two hours… I think
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