Simmons, like many others, expected the five-year period of record loss to come to an end when the Broncos acquired quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks last spring.
But the trade has not yet succeeded.
Wilson completes 58.8% of his passes – fewer than in his career and has only succeeded in six touchdowns in seven starts. The Broncos’ offense ranks at or near the bottom of the NFL in points per game, first touchdown per game, touchdown passes per game, red zone touchdown percentage, and turnover rate for third down.
With new coach Nathaniel Hackett going through his own growing pains, the Broncos faltered in a 3-5 start, averaging 15.1 points per game.
The only reason the Broncos are competitive in every game is their devastating defense, led by Simmons and Patrick Sertin II, which only allows 16.5 points per game.
“I wouldn’t say I hurt more than anyone else, but it hurts not to find ways to win,” Simmons said.
And continue to look for ways to lose.
Just as the team scattered its farewell last week, GM George Patton replaced star quarterback and captain Bradley Chubb for the Dolphins in the first-round pick after paying such a heavy price to Wilson in the spring. Chubb immediately signed a five-year, $119 million extension to Miami.
Therefore, the Broncos will have to navigate Chubb’s departure as they face a tough second-half schedule that begins with a trip to Tennessee (5-3) on Sunday.
“It pains me to see a man like that go,” Simmons said on Monday. “But man, I felt so much better getting up the next morning and seeing him sign this big contract because he deserved it. I am so happy for him and I wish him all the best in Miami. …
But for us, from a defensive standpoint, nothing changes. We have all the players in the room to reach the goals we want.”
While Wilson and Hackett need to take big steps to pull the offensive out of the doldrums, Simmons said the defense must do more than it has and need to produce more takeaways and even come back in for the touchdown.
“I just want us to win,” Simmons said. “And I don’t care what it looks like. I don’t care how it happens. We just have to find ways to come together as a team.”
“We can’t subscribe to this ‘You play well enough. You do this, you do that.’ Even games where you play well enough to win you don’t win,” Simmons said. You win these games.”
Denver defense despite losing Ronald Darby (knee) and Caden Stearns (hip). The return of Baron Browning (hip) would help the Broncos cope with Chubb’s departure.
Bronco crime. It’s been a struggle for Hackett and Wilson all season to unite their philosophies and strengths. They showed signs of life in London with Jerry Goody and KJ Humler making big plays at the big moments, but Courtland Sutton was a passive actor for a month.
Dre’Mont Jones is going through monster season and Bradley’s trade clears the way and cover room for a major contract extension.
Hackett. An increase is needed in the second half to appease skeptics who are already calling for a change of coaching after the rookie coach mishandled several games during the first half of the season. It came after a strange training camp in which the Broncos did little to no work at full speed, yet struggled with an infection epidemic anyway.
Browning (wrist) is expected to make his way back this week, but Randy Gregory (knee) needs more time.
14 and 53 – predicted touchdown passes and sacks, respectively, for Wilson this season, both of which would be his worst career careers for a nine-time Pro Bowler who has won just nine of his last 22, dating back to the 2020 playoffs.
A trip to Tennessee on Sunday, when the Broncos defense will be tested by Derek Henry, who had 115 yards and two TD races in the Giants’ loss 20-17 overtime to the Chiefs Sunday night.
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