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Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shane Ray (56) expresses his feelings about a penalty during the game between the Denver Broncos verses the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, November 26, 2017 at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum in Oakland, California(Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Klatt: Broncos woes may be due to lack of belief in who’s at QB

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shane Ray (56) expresses his feelings about a penalty during the game between the Denver Broncos verses the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, November 26, 2017 at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum in Oakland, California(Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

When the headlines surrounding the Denver Broncos at the end of November involve an on-the-field fight instead of a race for a division title, Joel Klatt told “Schlereth & Evans” on Wednesday it means things have gone downhill fast.

“It’s a joke,” the Fox Sports football analyst said of the current state of the Broncos.

Klatt called the melee involving Denver cornerback Aqib Talib and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree “dumb,” especially because the “beef” between two players seeming involved a chain.

“Are you serious?” Klatt said of the incident. “This is a division that, if you have any semblance of pride, you’ve got to think to yourself, ‘Boy, we could have come back and potentially made this a close division race in the month of December.’ But not.”

However, Klatt theorized there might be a deeper issue at hand when it comes to the Broncos recent woes, that the team might be finding it hard to get up for a quarterback — in Sunday’s case second-year pro Paxton Lynch — they don’t necessarily believe in.

“Maybe it’s the fact that they were starting a guy that I certainly don’t believe in — I don’t think they, certainly, were believing in — at the quarterback position,” Klatt said. “And they were just like, ‘Well, screw it.’”

“Schlereth & Evans” co-host Mark Schlereth, who spent six NFL season with both the Broncos and Washington Redskins, said there were times in his career in which he can relate to not having faith in who was under center.

“I’ve played in those games, where you have a quarterback playing that you just knew wasn’t ready or you knew that you didn’t have a chance,” Schlereth said. “It’s tough to go out there and play where it’s a 3-and-out every time or the guy doesn’t know the hand signal or the guy doesn’t know how to call a play from the correct formation.”

Klatt said the “effort level” drops when there are players on the field that you don’t trust, and that’s what he saw from the Broncos against the Raiders.

“It’s just human nature,” Klatt said. “And that’s what I saw on the offense line. That’s what I saw in the wide receiver corps. That’s what I saw on the defensive side.”

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.