The Denver Broncos firing Nathaniel Hackett, whenever that came, was expected, but that does not mean the team is far away from contending. For years the common opinion about the Broncos was that they were a “quarterback away.”
So, John Elway tried his hand at bringing in some veteran quarterbacks to try and solve that QB away issue. Unfortunately, none of them were nearly good enough, and as it stands now, Teddy Bridgewater has been the best quarterback the team has fielded since Peyton Manning retired.
Then, the team traded for Russell Wilson and all seemed well. However, between a league-high number of injuries, historically bad coaching, and incompatibilities with the offense and quarterback, the team has now, once again returned to the irrelevancy hole that they’ve been in since 2016.
The Broncos, beginning in 2023, will have three head coaches in as many seasons. Vic Fangio was the head coach in 2021. Hackett was the coach in 2022, and we’ll have a new face in 2023. Technically, if we want to count interim head coach Jerry Rosburg, that would be four.
Teams who cycle through head coaches like this are usually ones who are going through a full rebuilding mode, but I remain confident that the Broncos do not need to do this and are not that far away from being a contending team again.
The defense finally broke open in week 16 against the Rams, and it was going to happen at some point given how bad the offense was and the lack of much of anything to play for. It’s still abundantly clear though that the Broncos’ defense is elite, and even if they regress a bit next year, we can still say with strong confidence that the team will field a top-10 unit at the very least.
The offense is what needs the attention, and this offseason should be an active one. Denver can create a good bit of cap space with various restructures and releases to get themselves closer to $40 or $50 million in cap space.
Couple that with the urgency in which the team will act–that urgency was on full display on Tuesday as CEO Greg Penner and General Manager George Paton talked to the media. It was clear, especially from Penner, how urgent this situation is, and we’ve been hearing for weeks and weeks how there will be some significant changes coming.
Denver isn’t going to take the 2023 season and evaluate much; they’re going to take this season, grab it by the you-know-what, and try to make the best of what they were able to assemble. Given that the defense really does not need a ton of attention, the front office can focus on fixing the offense, and we’ve seen a plethora of teams invest heavily into one side of the ball and it pays off.
The Denver Broncos have an underrated edge when it comes to the 2023 NFL head coach cycle. What is their huge advantage right now?
I really do believe that Denver is close to contending, and you could argue that simply fixing the offensive line and hiring a solid veteran head coach like Dan Quinn or Frank Reich gets them back into relevancy.