Suggestions range from running back Philip Lindsay to running the ball on third down and 10 and 2:00 to go, to signing Chaney or even Sean Payton.
DENVER – I tended to stay away from the Broncos on Thanksgiving.
But then I looked inside the mailbag where I was also peeping at the Bills-Lions game—it must be nice to keep track of which teams can score consistently in their mid-twenties—and decided some cleanup was necessary. It turned out to be a labor of love.
To the Broncos’ mailbag:
As you well know, Philip Lindsay was a running back when he was with the Broncos. Is there any good reason not to call it back a Model 3 and a 7 Bronco? The Bronco is not a well-oiled machine. We need a running back who can hold onto the ball.
I’m a longtime Bronco fan since the mid 70’s and have watched the changes happen but when they let Phillip Lindsey go it was the last straw.
It’s hard to continue being a loyal fan when the Denver donkeys keep losing!
Hope you can shed some light on this for me.
robert – Let’s call Philip Lindsay the third most popular quarterback in Broncos history, behind Floyd Little and Terrell Davis. (Otis Armstrong and Peyton Hillis will be next.) Of this group, Lindsay is the only homegrown producer to be equipped with a great Afro big chip and even a bigger shooting chip than a University of Colorado out, rushing for a combined 2,048 yards on 4.9 yards per carry in 2018-19, his first two seasons with the Broncos. .
Injuries and Melvin Gordon limited Lindsey to 502 yards in 11 games in 2020, his last season with the Broncos.
In the past two seasons, he’s been with three teams — Houston, Miami, and Indianapolis — and they’ve combined for just 298 yards on 2.9 yards per carry.
I’m not sure why he fell – I suspect his new teams look at his diminutive stature and try to take advantage of him when he’s much better among tackles – but it’s been three years since his peak, and he’s a lifetime for an NFL running back.
However, with Chase Edmonds out for at least four weeks, the Broncos could do worse than add some Lindsay juice to their backfield. One problem with bringing Lindsay back to No. 3, though, is because of people like you, Robert. Everyone was yelling, “Put Lindsey!” which may be a distraction from an otherwise ineffective offense.
Is Mike Shanahan finished training?
Todd – it is. Unless…
John Elway almost brought him back after the 2017 season. But Shanahan last coached in 2013 when he was 61 years old. He is now 70 years old. While I think Shanahan could pull it off if the franchise gives him another fling – under what he considers the right situation – he seems content to help his son Kyle as an unofficial coaching advisor with the San Francisco 49ers.
Besides, Shanahan’s legacy lives on, including with the Broncos who play Clint Kubik, son of Shanahan’s first stepson, Gary Kubik.
Watching San Francisco on Monday night, I really appreciated guys like George Kettle, Christian McCaffrey, Debo Samuel and Brandon Ayuk. By comparison, Denver has no Playmakers. Cortlandt Sutton and Jerry Goody were overrated, and the team’s MVP (Jafonte) was injured. So you don’t have to worry about defenses with this set.
Denver’s problems are more than Russell or the coach. They don’t have much to work with.
Jimmy Garoppolo may have limitations, but with these guns, he doesn’t have to be an elite QB to be successful.
Just a few thoughts before the 4-day weekend.
Have a nice Thanksgiving.
Denise – Happy thanks to you. Sutton is going for 78 catches, 1,042 yards and two touchdowns which is just half a mark short of expectations for a 17-game season. And every time it seems like Jodi is about to reach his potential, an injury stops him.
But I agree with your hypothesis, Dennis. The Broncos’ weapons are subpar, though much of the blame can be attributed to injuries to Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, Jody, Javonte Williams, and Greg Dolch.
All of these players are under contract for at least the next year but General Manager George Button cannot count on all of them returning to the top level. He would have to add at least one receiver from either free agency or within the first three rounds of the draft. And the youngster returning from rounds 3-5 should also be on the Broncos draft plate.
Can someone explain to me why….why… someone would call a pass when their team is over by 3, their opponents are out of timeouts, and the clock is running under 2:00? Even Russell Wilson, a nimble quarterback, threw an incomplete pass rather than take a sack. I just do not understand.
James – You have every right to be confused. I have to run the ball over there. The thinking on third-and-10 was to catch a first down on one play and then kneel for the rest of the game rather than give the Raiders a slim chance to go 80 yards with about 1:03 remaining.
Wilson was given an “option” pass. Option: If easy completion is there, go for it, but if not, take the sack. But whatever you do, keep the clock running.
I would have loved this idea if it was the 3rd and 4th. But 10 yards was pretty low for a percentage. Wilson believed he had Galen Virgil on the way back and indicated that the trail simply moved away from him. It was wrong. costly mistake. An avoidable mistake. Being. The. a ball.
Hey Mike, with all the reports on the number of Broncos injured, have you ever talked to anyone about could it be the hike? Does Denver make a difference on the Sea Level team? Or could it be improper stretching or conditioning?
so – I think less oxygen is a factor. Water is a must. But the Broncos have been playing in Denver since 1960 and injuries aren’t quite as debilitating as they have been in recent years. And in the ’60s and ’70s, hardcore football coaches often discouraged water breaks.
The current Broncos have a world class strength and conditioning staff led by Lorraine Lando and an acclaimed coaching staff led by Vince Garcia.
If they can’t stop the infection epidemic, the Murray State grad who never met an 8 a.m. class can’t be skipped won’t have the answers. There was considerable speculation that coach Nathaniel Hackett’s approach to maintaining his fresh-faced appearance in training camp was not properly harsh to the players towards the physicality of football. But Vic Fangio ran as physically as campy as his new collective bargaining agreement would allow, and injuries were a big reason he couldn’t survive past his third season.
However, studies, research and discussions with experts must be conducted during the vacation period.
Hey, Mike, I’ve been hearing a little bit of a buzz about this wide receiver, Jalen Virgil, #15, and I hope if you have any leverage, you might have them throw him into the mix. This guy has had some great moments in pre-season. So maybe he’ll get a chance. Well, Galen Virgil, that’s the guy.
BENDER – I don’t have any clout but I do know Galen Virgil’s NFL stats: 1 catch, 66 yards, TD.
So why not hunt more than once?
I agree with you, Bender. With Humler and Jody injured, Virgil is the Broncos’ top home threat. And he was stellar in the pre-season when he became the season-opener’s biggest surprise, 53-man squad.
But the Broncos’ coaching staff is trying to get Virgil up to speed, too. I know Clint Kubik thinks highly of Virgil.
But there are many reasons why junior receivers, in general, redshirt. Run one way. He sometimes cites learning how to practice at a professional level. The power and technique to beat off-line press coverage is a problem for beginners. It is a position where you cannot have a missed assignment.
I’m not familiar with why Virgil was held back – I was surprised he only got 7 shots last week against the Raiders. But there was no longer any reason to hold him back. The Broncos are 3-7 and are playing for next year. It’s Virgil’s time.
Why are we a testing ground for first-year coaches who only prove they can’t coach? McDaniels, Joseph, Fangio, Hackett. Write the check and bring Gruden or Sean Payton.
Randall – The NFL game was evolving very quickly with the rules favoring the passing game, and I think the Broncos brass wanted to keep moving forward. They wanted to find the next great coach, not settle for a “renewal” that had already failed.
Do you realize that Chuck Noll went 1-13 in his first season? Pitt Steelers fans didn’t think he had what it took as they were beating the Bears 38-7, 24-3 at the Browns, 52-14 at the Vikings and 47-10 at the St. Louis Cardinals in four straight weeks in November 1969.
Bill Belichick was 6-10 in his first season with the Browns and 5-11 in the first season of his sophomore stint with the Patriots. Can you imagine? Boston football fans no doubt thought Bill Parcells, president of the Jets, sold owner Robert Kraft a training lemon when Belichick was bought in the first round.
First year coaches often experience growing pains and it is not unusual for them to improve in the second year.
But these are different times. Had Noll gone the equivalent of a 17-game 1-13, 5-9, 6-8 in today’s environment, he wouldn’t have had a chance to lead the great Steelers dynasty from 1972-1979.
It’s a little more complicated for Hackett. Personally, I’m all for (Ouch! Aah! Lordy!) giving Hackett a second season (Oy! Pow! Sheesh!) as long as Klint Kubiak keeps calling the plays and brings in a veteran consultant to help coach the offensive line. If the offense is handed to Kubiak, could Rico Dennison, Brian Bariani or Clancy Barone fall far behind?
But if first year owner Greg Benner decides a change of head coach is necessary – and Benner’s call would be – you’re on the right track, Randall. An experienced master trainer would be the way to go. Think of the most successful Broncos coaches of the past 30 years: Mike Shanahan, John Foxx, Gary Kubik. All of them have previous coaching experience.
I just don’t agree with two of the candidates. Jon Gruden is radioactive and will probably never again get another NFL coaching job. And Sean Payton, A, will seek a trade offset and the Broncos must stop giving up first-round draft picks after giving up two of them for Russell Wilson. B, Button will likely get a $10 million a year contract. Under your scenario, Randall, the Broncos will eat over $20 million to let Hackett go. Do you think the Penner and Waltons got where they are by wasting millions every year? I think this will be a disciplined ownership group.
And C, I think Sean Payton (first names are in demand in Denver, where Peyton Manning and George Patton are part of the Broncos fabric), would rather coach talented youngster Justin Herbert and rebuild the Chargers than take over the Broncos franchise Russell Wilson is about to turn 34 years.
Frank Reich — an offensive head coach who had little chance in Indianapolis with a new old quarterback every year — would make more sense — Dan Quinn or Jim Caldwell — if the Broncos made a move. Which at this time I do not recommend. (Ah! Ouch! Ah!)
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