3. It’s time for the Broncos to find their long-term answer at the QB position.
On May 2nd, 1999, the greatest player to ever don a Broncos uniform called it a career. He spent 16 marvelous years leading the Broncos to five Super Bowls and two World Championships. The “Duke of Denver” always found a way to win the game and keep Broncos Country energized. Of course, I’m talking
about the great John Elway, the quarterback.
Fast forward about 17 years later and here the Broncos sit. Fresh off of their 1st Super Bowl win since Elway
retired, the Broncos face a tough situation at the QB position. Or is it really that tough? When the Broncos won their 2nd Super Bowl in 1999, Elway moved on and left the Broncos with many questions at the position.
At the time, the immediate replacement was Brian Griese(and to a lesser extent, Bubby Brister). In what many had hoped would be a seamless transition turned into an era of stop gap solutions and underachieving draft picks leading the Broncos.
Over the last 17 seasons, the Broncos have had the following at starting QB.
Jarious Jackson (for one game)
Patrick Ramsey (for one game)
Chris Simms (for one game)
It may not be the amount of guys that have started for the Dolphins or Browns, but it’s more than Broncos Country wants to admit. With so many people getting wrapped up in the idea of trading for Colin Kaepernick, it only started to re-inforce my stance at addressing the position. For too long, Broncos fans, we’ve been content with stop gap solutions at the position. Although the team ascended back into the Super Bowl hierarchy the last few years, it was done with an aging legend who is no longer in the NFL.
The idea that the Broncos could get almost anybody to be their starting QB and be successful with them is reaching beyond any sense of reality. Do I think we need a top flight QB to help this team RIGHT NOW? Not necessarily, but it’s not something you look away from pursuing, either. One reason why many of the great organizations stay relevant in this league is because they know when it’s time to move on from a player and when they need to go get a player, even when it doesn’t seem like the best move at the time.
Alongside the Broncos in the “elite” ranks of the NFL would be teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Packers, Ravens and Seahawks. What is one thing they have in common that the Broncos don’t have with them? They all have franchise QB’s and found those franchise QB’s when they were a good value, NOT when they had to reach for one.
Against all rational thinking by the “analysts”, the Packers took a talented passer named Aaron Rodgers in 2005 because he presented a great value from where they were picking AND they knew Brett Favre was
nearing the end of his career.
Despite having 3 QB’s already on their roster, the New England Patriots took a flier on Tom Brady in the 6th round because they knew there was something unique about his game. And the Steelers?
Despite getting solid play from former Bronco QB Tommy Maddox, they made the most of a draft day slide and selected a top 10 prospect in Ben Roethliberger in the middle of the 1st round. Starting to see the big picture here?
Even if the Broncos have to trade up a handful of spots this year, they could be presented with a value at the QB position that is too good to pass up.
And wouldn’t it poetic that the guy that everybody has been trying to replace for 17 years IS THE ONE picking his replacement? That would be a true succession plan, if there ever was one.