Confidence in the 2022 Broncos is already starting to erode
I feel like a sports scout who started out loving a prospect but has had too much time to look at him. Now, I am searching for flaws and second guessing myself.
When training camp began, I felt I was looking at a 10-7 season for the Broncos. However, I’ve had so much time to pick and prod and dwell that I’m less bullish on 10-7 and feeling more like this could be a 9-8 team.
So in a moment of self-reflection I ask myself, why? Why an erosion of confidence?
Boil it all down and there’s too much newness for me. Yes, there are other NFL teams with an established coach breaking in a new quarterback. Yes, there are other NFL teams with an established quarterback breaking in a new coach. The Broncos feature that rare combination of new coach and new QB. Add in a coaching staff made up of guys doing everything for the first time and that’s a lot of newness to overcome.
I also admit to being spooked by the big picture painted by Nathaniel Hackett. Whenever he’s been asked about his laissez-faire approach to practices and preseason games, the Broncos head coach has consistently (I give him points for that) preached how this will keep the Broncos healthy and fresh for December football right through Week 17.
I’m not interested in December. This isn’t the Avalanche. Coming off the Stanley Cup, I don’t care what their regular season looks like because I know I can trust them to be ready for the playoffs. They’ve earned that. These Broncos haven’t earned jack.
I need them to get off to a fast start while the schedule is favorable. They play in a hyper-competitive division and a deep conference. I believe a fast start is crucial. The “Hackett Doctrine” leaves me wondering if this team can do that.
Then, there’s the players. On paper, it looks like a decent team with a lot of potential. But outside of Russell Wilson, do we know if this is a team that is ready to play in big games and handle the spotlight and expectations that surround this season? This is a team whose returning veterans have only known losing and mediocrity as Broncos. Are they ready and able to start playing and acting like front runners?
I need this team to start playing games! I circle back to my scout analogy. I need to stop with the nit-picking and trust why I liked the player (in this case, the Broncos) in the first place.
Two more weeks. Darn it! Too much time to live in my (big) head.