BRONCOS

Mile High Monday: The future is bright for the Denver Broncos

Jan 10, 2022, 6:27 AM
Pat Surtain...
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos fired head coach Vic Fangio and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur on Sunday after finishing the 2021 season with a 7-10 record. It’s the right move for this once-proud franchise, which has been struggling to find any sort of success after winning Super Bowl 50 after the 2015 season.

I like the direction the Broncos are going in – without Fangio and Shurmur. This offseason is the most-important offseason in Broncos history. Key decisions will be made for the coaching staff and the quarterback position. The right decisions could quickly turn things around.

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.

***

You Gotta Believe

I believe in Broncos general manager George Paton. He is a smart football guy who appreciates the work that is required to be successful in this league. Paton is a good man, and I feel he has an eye for talent. Scouting is difficult, but with one great draft under his belt, I believe things will trend in that direction under Paton’s guidance in 2022 and beyond.

It’s a bad time for Broncos Country. I get it. I understand the pain this fan base is going through after yet another losing season and zero playoff appearances since 2015. Now that Fangio is gone, it’s time for this fan base to get behind Paton.

The Broncos have a ton of draft picks, likely some of those premium picks will be dealt to another team for a superstar quarterback. The Broncos have a lot of cap space, and that may be used to keep key free agents but also to go after top free agents. Paton is going to be leading the way in all of that.

The next move is to get a head coach, but I trust Paton to make the right call. One of the best things I like about Paton is the accountability he has with his job of making the Broncos better.
Paton took responsibility for fixing the problems that plague the Broncos.

“We need to take a look in the mirror and take responsibility for where we’re at and be urgent to get us out of this and sustain a winning culture year-in and year-out. That process starts with this head coaching search. We’re excited to learn more about some of these great candidates. It’s going to be a comprehensive and a collaborative process to find the best head coach for the Broncos. We’re going to be thorough. We’re going to be open minded. We know this is a critical decision, and we’re going to get it right,” Paton said.

***

Talent is There

Not only do I believe in George Paton, I believe in a lot of talent on this roster. A couple of weeks ago, running back Melvin Gordon proclaimed this team has talent and a ‘Super Bowl roster’ despite the losing record. While I won’t go as far as to say that I can admit that this team is much, much better than their record indicates.

I believe in the players on this team. Now, some of those players are free agents I’d like to bring back (like inside linebacker Kenny Young), but for the most part there is talent at the starting positions and there is quality depth. This hasn’t been there that often for the Broncos in recent years. I credit Paton for his work in free agency and the draft to give the Broncos more of what they need.

The Broncos don’t have a quarterback of note. They’re likely to move on from both Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock in 2022. I believe their top target is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They were close to getting something done last year until the Packers got cold feet. Rodgers is going through his “Last Dance” with the Packers and may very well end up winning another Super Bowl.

Yes, he could change his mind and stay in Green Bay. Yes, he could end up retiring if they win the Super Bowl. Yes, the Broncos will be as aggressive as they need to be in order to secure Rodgers – even if that means adding free agent wide receiver Davante Adams. Yes, I know the Packers could franchise Adams but I feel Broncos fans need to be open to the possibility of this happening.

It’s a quarterback-desperate league, and the Broncos certainly qualify as desperate. Adding Rodgers instantly makes the Broncos Super Bowl contenders in 2022. Adding Rodgers immediately makes the Broncos the best team in the NFL if Paton puts together another strong draft.

Paton assured Broncos fans he would emphasize quarterback once the head coaching search is done.

“I know how important that position is. It’s the most important position in sports, but we’re focused on the coach. If you can get the right leader—that’s the most important thing right now is getting the right leader. We’ll get the quarterback; we’ll get the positions. The leadership and the right head coach for this football team is the No. 1 priority,” Paton said.

***

That’s My Type

I have a certain type of head coach I want for the Broncos. The simple description of my type of head coach for the Broncos is the right one. However, there has been great debate about whether or not the Broncos need to go with an offensive guy or a defensive guy.

Upon further examination, neither one should be favored over the other. Yes, the last two head coaches have been defensive guys and neither has worked out. In fact, Fangio and Vance Joseph were abject disasters for the Broncos. This has a lot of fans leaning towards an offensive-minded coach this time around. I understand that sentiment and would guess the Broncos go in that direction.

I feel the best guy for the Broncos is the one who has the best plan for quarterback. In this league, the quarterback is the most important position and Denver needs a coach who can mesh and build a strong relationship with his passer. The timing of this head-coaching search is going to be interesting because the Broncos don’t have their quarterback yet. So, they’re going to have to find a coach who has a good plan for multiple options.

I believe that Rodgers is the top target for the Broncos. It’s imperative that you get a coach who can or already has built a strong connection. Rodgers only has a few years left in the league, and if the Broncos get him, it won’t be for that long. That’s why this new coach needs to be able to develop a young quarterback as well. I’d say 75 percent of Paton’s job is figuring out quarterback. I would give a similar number when it comes to a head coach’s job as well.

My type doesn’t really matter though, as the only thing that matters is who Paton wants to hire to lead the Broncos. On Sunday during his press conference, Paton was emphatic the team would solve the head coaching woes with the best candidate on the market.

“With the foundation we have, we have 11 picks [in the 2022 NFL Draft], we have over $50 million in cap room, and we have great resources with [President and CEO] Joe Ellis and [President of Football Operations] John [Elway], and we have the best fans in the NFL. We know we’re going to get the best candidate on the market. We’re really confident of that.” Paton said.

***

RIP to a Favorite

I was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of actor/comedian Bob Saget on Sunday at the age of 65. In the first 10 days of this year we’ve already lost some great actors like Betty White and Sidney Poitier. I’m not putting Saget in the category of those two, but he was an actor who brought joy to many who watched him on screen – including myself.

Everyone is going to remember Saget as the dad Danny Tanner in “Full House” as that was his largest role. However, there were several other things I will remember Saget for. One of those would include hosting “America’s Funniest Home Videos” from 1989-1997. That show was fun to watch because it was my generation’s version of videos going viral.
Some of his best roles, for me personally, were smaller ongoing roles like when he played himself in “Entourage” as a friendly neighbor with – let’s say – interesting lifestyle choices. I also love his cameo role in the comedy “Half Baked” where he’s only on screen for a few minutes, but his lines in that scene – which I cannot repeat here – are quite funny and memorable.

What was your favorite movie or TV show that Saget starred in? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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(Graphic by Johnny Hart/Bonneville Denver)...
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