Insiders

Teams Likely to Fall in ’16: Denver Broncos

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When you’re on the very top of the mountain, the only way you can go is down. This is the bitter-sweet reality the Denver Broncos will be facing when the 2016 season rolls around.

Having said that, John Elway’s team may not just go down a notch or two. We could be witnessing them going from Super Bowl champions to missing the playoffs entirely, while finishing third in the AFC West.

On paper, one could argue that the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders are more talented than Denver. There simply isn’t one ball club that’s lost more talent than Denver this off-season thus far.

When you see the likes of Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan going elsewhere, it’s difficult not to question what’s going on in the front office.

Even Jackson is confused.

“They could have gotten me done, they could have got Danny done, they could have got Brock done for less to nothing and now we’ve all branched out … I don’t know what they’re doing,” Jackson stated.

While their defense should still be one of the best in the league behind the leadership of Von Miller, it won’t  be nearly as good as this past season, which would’ve been almost impossible to repeat anyway considering they were arguably the best defense of the past ten years.

The primary issue happens to come at the most important position.

Yes, you guessed it, quarterback.

For the past couple years, it appeared to be common knowledge that Brock Osweiler was going to be Peyton Manning’s successor. Nonetheless, reports surfaced that Osweiler wasn’t particularly happy how head coach Gary Kubiak elected to go back to Manning before the playoffs.

Sure, it resulted in a Super Bowl title, but it’s left Denver scrambling for a signal caller. 

“We’ve stayed true to our philosophy of building a team with players who want to be Denver Broncos,” Elway stressed. “That’s been a successful approach to us.”

It’s hard to argue with Denver’s results under Elway.

Four consecutive AFC West titles and two Super Bowl appearances to go along with a title.

With that being said, everyone’s run must come to an end at some point. Fans may not want to believe it until it actually happens, but the writing seems to be on the wall sooner rather than later.

There’s been trade talks circulating around Colin Kaepernick, but it’s moving very slowly to say the least.

Even if Kaepernick does indeed wind up in the ‘Mile High City’, this can’t be the answer Elway is looking for. Well, technically he is, but it’s only because the options are very limited.

Nearly a month ago, Denver traded for the much maligned Mark Sanchez.

During his last season in Philadelphia, Sanchez only appeared in four games. He completed 64.8 percent of his passes to go along with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Whoever Denver elects to bring in, don’t expect for anyone to be handed the starting job. 

“Whoever we bring in, it’s about competition,” Kubiak said. “We’re not gonna give anybody a job. … We’ve got a good football team. So whoever comes in and plays that position for us is gonna have to earn it. And we feel like that’s across the board for our team. Obviously it’s gonna be a new face for us. I think our players will be excited, whoever we’ve got in there. If they’re busting their tail and proving every day they can be the guy for our football team, I think our players will rally around him just like they did around Brock last year when Brock played the seven games he played in. Like I said, [it’s] another challenge to work through.”

Making it to the playoffs will be a challenge within itself because Kansas City and Oakland are coming.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.