Nathaniel Hackett won the Nathaniel Hackett Bowl. Revenge must be sweet for Hackett and the Jets, who won in Denver in consecutive years. This time, however, the stakes felt much higher after Sean Payton's comments in the offseason about the coaching job Hackett did in Denver. Although Payton has certainly made his presence felt in Denver, the results haven't been there. The Broncos are now 1-4 on the season with four days to prepare for a road trip to Kansas City.
With a 1-5 record looming, questions remain about this franchise and what we can expect moving forward. Are the Broncos about to truly throw in the towel on this season? This roster doesn't look like the "sleeping giant" George Paton said it was just two years ago. Instead, it looks like there's no giant anywhere in sight. It looks like Jack climbed the beanstalk and found an empty house at the top.
Talking is part of how we cope, but obviously this is painful to have to go through in real time. Nobody wants the Broncos to be suffering like this, but this team is showing its true colors. This is a team with a Super Bowl-winning head coach and quarterback, and as a collective unit, they make everything look incredibly difficult.
Let's look at five Denver Broncos who were embarrassing (or embarrassed themselves) in this one against the Jets.
5 Denver Broncos who were embarrassing in tough loss vs. Jets
1. Sean Payton, head coach
This Denver Broncos team is an abomination to the franchise's history. Fans are die-hard, but wanting to be associated with this team has become increasingly difficult. Despite Sean Payton's demand for near perfection in certain areas, results are not happening. The Broncos were sloppy in this game against the Jets. They had no downfield passing game to speak of. The play-calling in the red zone throughout the first half was horrifying and overly conservative.
Ultimately, this team's lack of execution falls on Sean Payton. They are not sound in the fundamentals of the game. They are not cohesive. Did we expect Sean Payton to fix things overnight? Well, kind of. Based on the way he talked all offseason, it sure felt like we could all expect a reasonably significant amount of change early on.
But as much as we liked his candor in the USA Today interview, that candor needs to be backed up with results. Right? We understand this. Sean Payton can't just be out there flaunting his stats and history with the Saints. He has to lead this team to results. We've seen the resurgence of Russell Wilson, but unfortunately, it feels like this Broncos team is worse off.
How is that even possible?
An accurate picture of this team needs to be painted. The Broncos are what the pessimists thought they were. We're to the point that even a shocking upset victory over the Chiefs on Thursday night would only muddy the waters even more substantially for this franchise.
Ultimately, this is Sean Payton's team for the foreseeable future. His job is nowhere near in jeopardy this early on in the process of taking over the team. But we expected the Broncos team, bad as they were last year, to be much more disciplined in situational football, to be more fundamentally sound, to be harder to beat. They aren't.