MILE HIGH MONDAY

Mile High Monday: The Broncos “let it Ryp” and found their real problem

Oct 24, 2022, 6:39 AM
Brett Rypien...
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos have the worst offense in the league. After losing to the New York Jets by a score of 16-9 on Sunday, they have a 2-5 record. In six of their seven games, the Broncos have scored 16 points or less. Consider that if they scored 18 points in every game, they would be 6-1 this season.

I like the line being thin in the NFL, but for God’s sake, the Broncos need some wins. They may be closer than some want to admit, but the Broncos may fall apart (or get torn apart via trade) before they get on the right track.

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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Let it Ryp

We all knew there would be up-and-down play from Broncos starting quarterback Brett Rypien. He’s made only two starts in his NFL career, both against the Jets. In his first start, Rypien beat the Jets but this time out he couldn’t overcome the inadequacies of this offense. Russell Wilson has multiple injuries, and it was a hamstring injury that ended up being revealed as a partially torn hamstring. I’m glad Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett made the call to sit Wilson and go with Rypien. However, the game plan was awful.

Rypien went 24-of-46 passing for 225 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. He almost ended up getting another interception at the end of the game, and there were a few others throws that could have been picked off. Rypien did not look good, just like Wilson has not looked good (for the most part) in 2022.

That tells me everything I need to know. This isn’t a quarterback problem, although both Rypien and Wilson have issues, but this is a Hackett problem. The complexities of this offense have been too much for a 10-year veteran like Wilson and a super smart quarterback like Rypien. Yes, Rypien should have been more accurate with his passes. However, Hackett should have designed better plays – and the order of those plays – for a quarterback with limited arm talent.

Rypien should not be throwing the ball nearly 50 times in a low-scoring game. It’s a bad plan unless you fall behind by a large margin. In a close contest, the Broncos need to lean more on their rushing attack. I’d be saying the same thing if Wilson as the starter and the offense continued to struggle. Simply put, Hackett is not doing a good job of game planning for the team no matter who is at quarterback.

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Wanna Trade?

Broncos Country was a bit surprised by the news of players getting shopped by the team ahead of the November 1 trade deadline. Perhaps fans should not have been surprised with the way things are going for the team this season. The Broncos could certainly be “sellers” at the deadline, and with few picks in the next two drafts they need to be.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday morning that the Broncos have been receiving phone calls about Bradley Chubb, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler. Chubb and Jeudy are former first-round picks, and Hamler was a highly coveted second-round pick just a couple of years ago. With the way things are going this season, the Broncos might decide to move on from one or more of these players. In fact, there might be players not mentioned traded away in a week’s time.

Chubb has been playing good football this year. Finally healthy, the former no.5 overall pick has flourished under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. He’s in the final year of his contract, but the Broncos could use the franchise tag before he’s set to be a free agent in 2023. A tag-and-trade is possible, but it’s also possible the Broncos will decide to trade him now.

Jeudy was arguably the best wide receiver in the best wide receiver class (2020) in NFL history. He has failed to play up to his potential, and Jeudy has barely flashed the talent that made him a top pick in his draft class. He certainly doesn’t lack confidence, and Jeudy wears his heart on his sleeve when he’s not involved in the game plan. A fresh start would be best for both sides, and any team who trades for Jeudy now will get to decide on his fifth-year option after this season.

Hamler is incredibly fast, and you can’t coach speed. A major injury in 2021 caused him to get eased back into action this offseason after knee and hip surgeries. Hamler was averaging over 22.0 yards per catch this season, but against the Jets he caught just one pass for four yards even though he was targeted a season-high four times. He hasn’t been used that much by the Broncos in three years. Part of that is him getting hurt, and part of that is Hamler being fourth in the pecking order at the wide receiver position when everyone’s healthy. Some team may see the potential and throw a late-round pick for the former second rounder.

Fielding calls and accepting a trade offer are two different things. Calls happen all the time around the NFL, so much so that casual fans would be surprised to know how many times players are brought up in trade discussions of various seriousness. In a week, we’ll know what kind of offers the Broncos have been getting about these former top picks. I wouldn’t expect much in return for any of these players, but you never know when it comes to GMs who love the art of the deal.

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Remembering a Champion

Can you believe it’s been 25 years since the Broncos won their first championship in Super Bowl XXXII? Time flies by, and the 1997 Broncos team that beat the Green Bay Packers was honored at halftime of the Broncos/Jets game on Sunday. Dozens of players gathered at Empower Field at Mile High to celebrate their championship team.

It was awesome to see some Broncos greats out there representing the history of this storied franchise. No Broncos fan old enough to remember will forget where they were when the Broncos were big underdogs but were able to beat the Packers in the Super Bowl. It was a historic effort on the way to the win, with many plays from that game that will go down as some of the best in Super Bowl history.

I’d have to say the “helicopter” play from John Elway was the best from that game. Elway came into the league as a scrambler, but as he got older, he stopped running as much. With the game on the line, Elway broke from the pocket and dove for extra yardage when two Packers defenders caused him to spin in the air on the way to the ground. Elway got up promptly and pumped his fist. At that moment, his teammates knew they were going to win the game.

It was great to see that championship team get honored at halftime. Sure, the Broncos aren’t a good football team in 2022 but we can all remember how truly dominant those players from the past were. I would love, as would Broncos Country, to see this team return to that sort of dominance.

***

Stole the Show

I liked the new DCEU movie “Black Adam” featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the superpowered anti-hero. You can tell this was a passion project for Johnson, and he’s wanted to play this character for years. The movie wasn’t as faithful to the comic book as some nerds like me would’ve liked, but I understand how they had to make this more for the general public and movie audience. Overall, I thought this was a good movie.

One of my favorite characters – in comics and in this movie – is Doctor Fate. The character first debuted in 1940, and there have been several incarnations over the years. Doctor Fate is a succession of sorcerers, and he’s got one of the coolest designs of any character in all of comic books. The Kent Nelson incarnation was portrayed by Pierce Brosnan in “Black Adam”, and he did a great job of showing the nuances of this powerful character.

I won’t get into spoilers – just go see the movie – but I thought Brosnan stole the show in every scene he was in. Not only was the character visually appealing, but the way Brosnan brought the mystery and magic of Doctor Fate to the screen was fantastic. Some will say he’s just a ripoff of Marvel’s Doctor Strange, but those are people who don’t know Doctor Fate and the fact that he’s much older and much different.

Did you see “Black Adam” and if so, what did you think? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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