Broncos Look Back, Ahead: Once coach arrives, big decisions loom to fix team with six-year playoff drought

Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) ...

One win over a team participating in the playoffs. Five defeats by at least 10 points. Two four-game losing streaks. And a 13th-place finish the 16-team AFC.

But don’t tell the Broncos they lack the necessary base of players to contend behind the leadership of a new coach.

“There is a foundation in place that I feel really, really good about,” general manager George Paton said. “(But) it does no good to talk about it. We need to bring in more players like we brought in last year, but I do think we have a really good core to build on.

“We’re not far away.”

Once he hires a coach to replace Vic Fangio, Paton must obviously put Quarterback Plan A (and maybe B-C-D) into action, but also address issues at other position groups.

How can the Broncos’ offense finally reach 25 points per game? How can their top three receivers (Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick) combine for more than seven touchdown catches? How can the defense improve on third down (ranked 28th)? How can a pulse be produced on special teams?

While answering these questions, Paton will have to make decisions about the team’s 18 free agents and also determine which players under contract should be moved on.

A week removed from their 7-10 season, here is a position-by-position look at the Broncos:

Jack Dempsey, The Associated PressDenver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Denver.

Cap hit

Teddy Bridgewater
Free agent

Drew Lock

Brett Rypien

Analysis: The Broncos are staring at a sixth different Week 1 quarterback in as many years. Something needs to be done to spark a dormant offense. … Bridgewater was 7-7 as the starter (18 touchdowns and seven interceptions) and his second concussion sidelined him for the final 3 1/2 games. … Lock was 0-3 as the starter and finished with as many rushing touchdowns as passing scores (two). Would Seattle or Green Bay want Lock in a deal for Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers? May be worth a flier, even as a backup since he has such a low salary in the final year of his rookie deal.

Running back
AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver PostMelvin Gordon (25) of the Denver Broncos runs for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2021.

Cap hit

Mike Boone

Melvin Gordon
Free agent

Javonte Williams

Also: Damarea Crockett.

Analysis: How is this for an equal division of labor? Carries — Gordon and Williams both 203. Rushing yards — Gordon 918, Williams 903. Touchdown carries — Gordon eight, Williams four. Explosive rushes (gain of at least 12 yards) — Gordon and Williams both 16. … The Broncos should consider re-signing Gordon, but on their terms and don’t budge from the price point. … Williams should be the Week 1 starter. … Boone is a little pricey for a player who had four carries and dealt with a quad injury and COVID-19.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver PostJerry Jeudy (10) of …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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