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DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Kendall Hinton (2) of the Denver Broncos huddles the offense against the New Orleans Saints during the first half on Sunday, November 29, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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Mile High Monday: Don’t blame Kendall Hinton for Sunday’s debacle

(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Broncos were flat out embarrassed on Sunday. Going up against the Saints without a quarterback, Denver was beaten easily by a score of 31-3. They could barely move the ball on offense and that put their defense in a bad spot against a strong New Orleans rushing attack.

I like when it looks like the Broncos are actually competitive. Hopefully, the team can get Drew Lock back into the lineup and put up a fight on the road against the Chiefs in Week 13. If not, then it’s just another data point as the team is trying to determine whether or not Lock can be their franchise quarterback.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Not Even a Game

This game should have never happened. Not only were the Broncos embarrassed, the NFL as a league should be ashamed of the product that was put forth on the field. Not moving the game back a day or two hurt the quality of the product as the Broncos tried to scramble to put together a game plan for an undrafted wide receiver to run at quarterback.

This contest was not fun to watch. The Broncos would not do anything on offense other than run the ball – and that didn’t last long as soon as the Saints started stacking the box to stuff the run.

The integrity of this game should be of paramount importance to the NFL. A day or two extra of preparation might not have changed the outcome, but the Broncos would have been able to compete better.

The league has changed and updated the COVID protocols, and it’s on the Broncos to follow them to the letter. It’s obvious the quarterbacks did not follow the rules and the team – and the league – suffers as a consequence. I’d like the NFL to make a “COVID quarterback” mandatory going forward so this problem does not happen again. Football is fun to watch – and this Saints/Broncos game didn’t look like football.

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How Much Blame Should Lock Get?

Drew Lock is supposed to be the potential franchise quarterback for the Broncos. The other quarterbacks on the roster violated the league’s protocol, but Lock is supposed to be the leader and he was not available for the Broncos on Sunday.

I like that Lock put out a press release taking full blame for his mistake, but at the same time, I am tired of the talk and the excuses. Lock doesn’t have a lot of time left to prove himself as a potential franchise quarterback.

He’s already missed a few games this year due to injury and now he’s missed one more game due to rules violations. In fact, Lock has missed more games than he’s played in during the last two seasons. Availability is a skill, and we need to see more from Lock not less.

After the game, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio threw the quarterback room under the bus. He blamed the quarterbacks for putting the team in the position they were in. Fangio even expanded on that and said that he blamed the quarterbacks for putting the league in that position. It doesn’t sound like he’s happy with the quarterbacks, nor should he be. Like Lock, Fangio doesn’t have much time left to prove himself as a head coach to keep investing time in. The two are tied together and both are struggling now as the team is struggling to win games.

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Impossible Task

While there is blame for Lock (arguably at varying levels), Broncos fans should not blame Kendall Hinton at all. An undrafted wide receiver out of Wake Forest in 2020, Hinton played quarterback in high school and for a few years in college. During the last two years of his college career, Hinton played wide receiver and I liked him as a sleeper addition for the Broncos after the draft.

Hinton is athletically gifted and can use his quickness and speed to rack up yards after the catch as a receiver. I didn’t scout him as a quarterback, but I have talked to people around that program that call Hinton a “team first” guy who plays with a high level of football intelligence. He’s smart and understands concepts, but Hinton was tasked with an impossible feat on Sunday in Week 12.

He did the best he could do, and the results were abysmal. That being said, I don’t think anyone should be giving the young man a hard time for his performance. I liked to see after the game that the Broncos defenders were giving him praise as they walked off the field. The defense was put in a bad spot because of the offense, but the defenders know that it’s not Hinton’s fault.

***

Absolutely Perfect

Star Wars fans have been divided since “The Force Awakens” came out in theaters in 2015. The Disney sequel trilogy didn’t have a plan when they put it together, and that’s why the story was so disjointed and why fans were turning away from the franchise.

The Disney+ show “The Mandalorian” is saving Star Wars.

Not only has the show introduced a fan favorite in Baby Yoda, this season season has introduced characters that hard-core Star Wars fans love. This latest episode introduces Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan Ahsoka Tano who survived the slaughering of all the Jedi in “Order 66.”

Tano is played by actress Rosario Dawson, and it was absolutely perfect to see this character come to life. Dawson did a great job of mimicking what we’ve seen from Ahsoka in animated series like “The Clone Wars” or “Rebels.” She did all this while also starring in some great action scenes which has the Star Wars fan base falling all over themselves.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I certainly appreciate “The Mandalorian” and loved Dawson’s portrayal of a beloved character.

What did you think of Dawson’s performance? Hit me up on social media and let me know!