It’s been said ad nauseam. The Broncos are soft, the defense has fallen from the graces of NFL lore, giving up 133 points in the last four games. The offense is abysmal. Seeing Devontae Booker and Jamaal Charles trying to run behind the front line is like watching a colon camera of a constipated professional hot dog eater.
This team is a joke. The 2015 Broncos were known for their grit on defense. They won the Super Bowl with an offense that had no business even sniffing the playoffs. They were a source of pride for the city.
The 2017 group is the antithesis of that team. When general manager John Elway referred to his team as soft, he had every right to. Some players and fans were upset over the remark but putting the fandom aside, ask yourself, is he wrong? Would a tough team get into an all out brawl not even 10 minutes into a rivalry game?
Elway tried to save face and say he meant the organization, himself included, is soft. Which, genuine or not, is also true. This team has talent that certainly can develop in the future like Jake Butt, Garett Bolles and Carlos Henderson, but Elway and his friends in the front office have laughably mismanaged this team.
Mike Klis, 9News Broncos insider, used a “games played” stat to defend Elway’s draft selections, saying that it’s a fact that he’s been the best general manager in the league at drafting. Contrary to what Klis said, Elway’s drafting has been miserable.
“In his seven drafts, Elway’s 54 picks entering play Sunday have combined to average 32.2 games played, which ranks No. 4 in the NFL,” Klis writes.
Klis ignores one important detail however, it doesn’t matter how many games a draftee plays, but how well they play in those games. Trevor Siemian has played in 23 games in his career, but his career passer rating is a pedestrian-at-best 82.6 and averages averages just under 7 yards per attempt.
Since 2011, Elway’s first year as a member of the Broncos front office, just two players drafted have been named to the Pro Bowl: Von Miller and Julius Thomas. One of those guys was a player who was going to succeed no matter who selected him, the other, just like his boss, found success thanks to Peyton Manning.
Did the Broncos win 38 games from 2012-2014 because of Elway’s draft picks or because they had the greatest regular season quarterback in the history of the game? Was it because of Montee Ball and Michael Schofield that Manning threw 131 touchdowns in those three seasons? No, it wasn’t. Manning and a defense led by Von Miller were the reasons the Broncos found so much success, not Elway’s picks.
It’s been taboo to say anything negative about Elway. He’s a god in Colorado. He brought the Broncos to five super bowls as a player, winning two, and he’s regularly in the conversation of greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, and rightfully so. He put Denver football on the map.
But the NFL isn’t about past triumphs; it’s a “What have you done for me lately?” league and what has Elway done for Denver lately? How long can he ride the coattails of getting Peyton Manning to sign in Denver? Something former GM Brian Xanders likely had a hand in.
Elway has run the team into the ground, which is ironic because the team he’s the supposed mastermind of can’t even run five yards down the field.
He doesn’t deserve all of the blame, but Johnny Boy, you’re right at the top of the list for reasons why the Broncos are abysmal. You can call the team soft because the city worships the ground you walk on, but they’re not the ones that hired Vance Joseph and drafted the likes of Isaiah McKenzie or Paxton Lynch. The temperature is getting colder in Denver, but your seat is only getting warmer.