So where do the Broncos go from here? How could this have been different?
Outlined here is how not to run an NFL team. It seems that, going back to the time when Elway was in charge, this team never wanted to admit it needed to rebuild. It seemed that Elway, and then Paton, thought they could find a quick fix to jump back into the race.
Earlier, I mentioned the Detroit Lions. One of the most downtrodden franchises in the history of the league. Not long ago, many people thought that they should fire their head coach, Dan Campbell. Many people also laughed at the thought of Jared Goff being their franchise quarterback. But the Lions exhibited something that any good organization or any good leader must have.
The Broncos should have been patient. Whether it was with Fangio or Hackett, but certainly with Lock as the quarterback. If Lock faltered, the team had draft picks to fall back on and rebuild with. With those gone, all you now have is an older quarterback and a head coach that certainly should be considered, at least as of this moment, a bit overrated.
You need that foundation. A strong head coach and an equally strong quarterback. That's where it starts. Even if Payton and Wilson are that, the team doesn't have much else because so many assets were given away to get them.
So, how does the train get back on the tracks? Well, it's certainly not by doing the same things. Instead of trading away building blocks (draft picks), the team is going to have to consider giving away some of the players it already has to get more of those building blocks.
Then, Joseph must go. The sooner the better and he must be exiled from Denver for eternity.
The team will have to play out the string this season to see what, and who, it has in order to go into next season with a better direction in mind. That will start with free agency and then the 2024 NFL Draft, which is a great draft class.
Note to George Paton, if you're still around by that time: DO NOT trade away your first-round pick. As bad as this season is going to finish, that one is going to be in the top five.