The Denver Broncos are 1-1 after a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season and a win at home against the Houston Texans in Week 2. The team doesn’t need to be smashing the panic button just yet, but there are certainly some areas of this team that must be fixed ASAP of the Broncos are just going to miss out on the playoffs again in 2022, leaving this franchise in a very confusing state after making a blockbuster trade to acquire star quarterback Russell Wilson in March.
There’s a lot of “good” happening with the Denver Broncos right now, believe it or not. No team in the NFL is moving the ball down the field better, as the Broncos average a league-best 41.2 yards per drive offensively. They call that “success between the 20s”. Defensively, the Broncos are top five against the pass, top five against the run, and they’ve forced five fumbles in two games.
So, the Broncos are seemingly moving the ball at will offensively, they are playing top-five defense, they are making plays on the ball defensively. What gives? Why is this team 1-1? Why are they averaging 16 points per game offensively?
That leads us to the reason I’ve gathered you here today. Five major problems we can see right now that will prevent the Broncos from the postseason for yet another year if they aren’t fixed immediately.
Denver Broncos problem no. 1: Game management
Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett is a rookie at his current job, even though he’s been around the NFL and coaching his entire life. Through two games, Hackett looks like a rookie on the job, and everyone in Broncos Country expected more after his time with the Green Bay Packers, one of the best-run outfits in the sport, and especially after the Vic Fangio era which was absolutely loaded with poor game management.
Coming off the heels of a game against Seattle where many questioned Hackett’s decisions in the final two minutes of the game, the Broncos looked like an absolute mess throughout the course of this game against Houston. As Mike Klis of 9News outlines:
I would strongly disagree that there was “nothing really hurt” by the game management issues here, especially when you’re talking about points being taken off the board at one point. The Broncos had a 54-yard field goal by Brandon McManus wiped off the board due to what? Indecisiveness? Lack of situational awareness? If everyone from their couch can see all of this happening, you’ve got to think that Hackett is getting an earful from general manager George Paton about this stuff, right?
Not to mention, the game management issues go beyond just the egregious errors the Broncos made in terms of wasting timeouts or not getting play calls in on time. There were a couple of instances against the Texans where plays were called offensively that were not suitable for the moment.
Namely, the tricky option play where Andrew Beck got the ball on 3rd-and-2. You have a running back averaging over six yards per carry and you toss the ball to Beck, whose job on the play was then to pitch the ball back to Javonte? It didn’t fool the Texans whatsoever.
Overall, the game management has to get better for Nathaniel Hackett. He’s getting absolutely grilled by others in the media for this and people are saying it looks like he’s in way over his head as a head coach. I’m not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater here because Hackett is in just his second game going on third as a head coach. With that being said, I think it’s fair to wonder two games in about the Broncos’ operation and whether Hackett can call the plays and manage the game at the same time.