Let’s face it: The Broncos had a tough year, and so did fans. With their first losing season since the McDaniels debacle — a tenure so brief and disastrous that it’s tough to rightly call it an “era,” the 2017 Broncos failed despite a strong roster of both experienced and up-and-coming talent. Was it Vance Joseph? Was it the loss of Wade Phillips? Was it just Elway stumbling?
Whatever the case, it’s clear that the team needs a serious resetting. We’re in a rebuilding era now, whether we want to be or not. So we talked with Superfan Dan to discuss the resolutions that the team needs to make in order to become strong as it moves into 2018...and mercifully leave this season behind.
8. Admit There’s a Problem
It’s the first step to solving any situation — and a necessary one for the team if it really wants to move forward quickly. Saying “we just didn’t get it done today” is fine for the few minutes post-game in the locker room, but admitting that there’s something systemic that isn’t working will take fortitude and humility and hard decisions. And it’s where the Broncos have to start in the off-season.
7. Commit to Vance Joseph One Way or Another
A lot of fans are calling for Joseph’s dismissal, and they might be right. So far, Elway’s been reluctant to put the blame for the season at Vance’s feet, but clearly the 2017 record and the ability of the coach are somewhat (inextricably) linked. If we’re in the market for a new coach, let’s get on with it quickly. But if we’re going to give Vance Joseph another season, then let the man coach. Give him unfettered control of the game. Sink-or-swim time.
6. Same With Our Offense
Are we a run-first offense? Then let’s do that, and build our offense with that in mind. But supposedly our playbook was more complicated this year than it was with Peyton Manning — a smart, experienced leader on the field. With an inexperienced and increasingly demoralized QB roster, that’s just ridiculous. Get back to basics; consistency is key.
5. Check Your Scouts
The success of any NFL team starts with scouting, and the Broncos' system needs to be revamped. Denver drafts in the past few years have been decent but unsurprising; we’re going to need a solid roster of new blood to bring back the deafening roars at Mile High.
4. Look at Kicking and Special Teams
We need some serious competition for McManus at kicker. He might actually deserve the spot, but he either needs to be replaced or seriously inspired to perform more consistently. And Olivo just needs to go on special teams. He’s a good and honorable guy, clearly, and it’s admirable that he takes direct responsibility for everything from unprepared runs to bad boots. But he’s right — the buck for a lot of the numerous mistakes on special teams stops with him, and changes need to be made.
3. Retain Bill Musgrave
Give the only interim offensive coordinator a permanent gig, and turn him loose in the redesign of this Broncos offense. From ingenious play design to helping develop Carr’s skills for Oakland to shifting seamlessly between the spread and power-run game plans, Musgrave could be a boon for a team like the Broncos, who are hungry for a new identity on offense. A lot of folks think it was a mistake for Jack DelRio to have fired Musgrave in the first place, and the Broncos could seriously benefit from that lapse in judgment.
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2. Find a Leader
Don’t go into 2018 without a solid pick for our starting QB. Quarterbacks have to exude confidence in order to command the field, and if they don’t feel that confidence coming from the coaching staff, the front office or the fans, then nothing on the field will work, either. Are we sticking with Siemian? Are we long-balling it to Lynch? Or is Denver supposed to forgive and forget with fickle Osweiler? Whatever. At this point, fans just want to know what the plan is, and so do the players.
1. Bring Back the D
And by that, we mean the old logo. But an Orange Crush-worthy defense would be good, too.