MILE HIGH MONDAY

Mile High Monday: Why the Broncos could be a dynasty in the making

Sep 5, 2022, 7:48 AM
Broncos ownership group...
(Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
(Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

The Denver Broncos will begin the 2022 regular season one week from today. They travel to play the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, and we’ll get to see Russell Wilson perform in a game with the Broncos for the first time ever – and it’s against his former team.

I like when the regular season is here. In fact, I love it. Each year, I feel blessed to cover this great game, and this season should kick off with a bang.

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.

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Struck a Nerve

I don’t like hot takes, whether that’s on the radio or via social networking apps like Twitter or Facebook. Most of the time in this sports media world, hot takes are done to drive traffic or build controversy around an outlet or the host spewing this nonsense. Hot takes are disingenuous, and I think that’s my biggest issue with the culture of saying things that are not realistic just to get attention.

On Saturday, I certainly struck a nerve with many out there about something some were calling a hot take. During “Orlando and Cecil” on Wednesday, I was commenting about the Walton-Penner ownership group and how they tend to be 10 steps ahead of everyone else. These new owners are great in the world of business, and they know what it takes to succeed. The Walton-Penner group bought the Broncos, officially less than a month ago, and already things seem to be on a much better track than they were over the last six years.

I look at how this team is being built, who is in charge, and their style of business and I see one thing in the future of the Broncos – a dynasty. Yes, I said it. Yes, I believe it. The Walton-Penner group first and foremost get great people to run their organization. Then, they do not seem to be the type of micromanagers who run things into the ground (see Dallas Cowboys). Instead, this ownership group trusts the people they put in place. What a concept! It’s by this design that I see a great amount of future success coming for the Broncos.

You can always tell who doesn’t read past the headline. So many on Twitter came after me – even supposed Broncos fans – for saying they could be a dynasty under Walton-Penner. Hell, I get enough grief about my belief the Broncos are Super Bowl contenders this year. I didn’t say “dynasty” to stir the pot or mark my territory like a game of Marco Polo. I said it because I believe it. I believe in this ownership group.

Yes, it will be difficult. Yes, they first must play one game. Yes, these players need to stay healthy and play up to their potential for that to happen. These coaches must be great for one Super Bowl championship to happen, let alone a dynasty. I’m here to tell you that if these people/coaches/players don’t perform, the Walton-Penner group will find those who can. That’s just the way they run business.

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Not About the Money

There are so many misconceptions about Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. Many of these misconceptions were floated out there by Seattle Seahawks fans and media after the trade was executed that brought Wilson to the Mile High City. Most of these misconceptions revolve around the money that Wilson wanted in his upcoming contract situation. It was told by some that Wilson was “just about the money” and he wanted to reset the quarterback market with a new contract that would be the highest in NFL history.

As we now know, Wilson did not get a fully guaranteed contract that put other quarterback contracts to shame. Instead, Wilson signed a deal that is incredible because it’s team-friendly now and in the future (when the quarterback market is reset by guys like Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow). Wilson’s deal is great for him, and it’s great for the Broncos. The five-year, $245 million extension with $165 million guaranteed keeps Wilson on the team for a great price through the 2028 season. It’s a move Seattle fans, and media didn’t think could happen for a price that must drive them bonkers.

Seahawks fans are like bitter ex-lovers who exclaim ‘I never loved him anyway’ as they sit their supporting the latest thing, drinking a latte, and wearing Wilson jerseys. The Seattle media tries to spin the team narrative that trading away a future Hall of Fame quarterback who still has several years of playing at a high level away as a good thing. Just like Denver, every market has ‘state sponsored’ media outlets, and Seattle is no different. Now, it seems like most everyone in that market is supporting the team in their decision to move on from Wilson. That’s a stance that seems like absolute lunacy to me.

I love how Wilson is so focused on legacy. It is not about the money with him, and it never has been. Wilson wants to win. Wilson wants to win championships, and he wants to be remembered as one of the best to ever play the game at his position. Wilson is not about how much money he can get, but instead about how many Super Bowl rings he can win before his playing days are done.

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Breakout Begins Now

Many call me the president of the Javonte Williams’ fan club. It’s true. I had Williams as my No. 1 running back in the 2021 NFL draft above the likes of Najee Harris who was most every other draft expert’s favorite. I even posted a video for The Fan after the North Carolina pro day exclaiming how the Broncos should look at drafting the power back with a premium pick.

I don’t know who was more excited when Williams was drafted; me or Broncos general manager George Paton who moved up in the second round to select the bruising Tar Heels running back. Both Paton and I appreciate Williams’ power game, but both believe there is more to his game that just banging it between the tackles. Williams does have a complete game, and he can be used effectively on all three downs as a runner and receiver out of the backfield.

Having Williams as the lead back was the plan for the 2022 season. It’s the reason why I didn’t think the team needed to bring back Melvin Gordon in free agency. Last year, both backs had 203 carries exactly as they split time with Gordon as the starter. This year, some are projecting the split to be pretty much the same but with Williams starting. I don’t agree with that statement, although I do admit Gordon will play a larger role than I thought he would after they signed him. Many out there, including my friends at NFL Network, are predicting a breakout season for Williams, but the addition of Gordon could squelch those projected big numbers.

Williams’ potential breakout begins in one week. I’d love nothing more than Williams getting 20-plus carries to bludgeon the Seahawks defense for a big win in Week 1. I anticipate he will be the leading ball-carrier with Gordon chipping in when he needs a breather. No, a 70-30 split doesn’t seem likely as I predicted before the start of training camp. From what we’ve seen at practice, Gordon will get a bit more than that. We are all waiting in anticipation to see what that split looks like against Seattle – and I have a feeling it could fluctuate on a week-to-week basis. Williams will post better numbers than he did last year, but I don’t think he has a breakout performance like I (and NFL Network) believe he could.
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Liefeldverse a Must Read

Rob Liefeld is one of my favorite comic book creators of all time. One of the founders of Image Comics, I first ran across Liefeld’s artwork reading New Mutants in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Growing up on the Eastern plains of Colorado, working at 7-Eleven in addition to the family ranch, I spent many a day dreaming about working for Liefeld and his “Extreme Studios” crew.

Well, life went in a different direction for me and now I’m a talk show host instead of a comic book artist. I do still draw, but mostly now I’m writing in preparation of launching my independent comic book company ‘Smokin Gun Studios’ later this year via crowdfunding services like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. I also still love Liefeld, and I pick up anything he puts out there to support him but also because I love his style of storytelling in his art.

Liefeld has always had great ideas, see his most popular creation Deadpool, and now he’s launching a whole new universe for comic book fans. His latest creation, called “Heirborne,” debuted in the relaunch of his comic title “Brigade” (Remastered Edition) and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m not going to give away too much, but the story of Heirborne has reflections of today’s society interwoven throughout the storytelling. I can’t wait to see where this new Liefeldverse takes us.

What are your thoughts on the Liefeldverse? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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