The Jets will look for their second road win of the year as they head into Denver this Sunday to take on a struggling Broncos team. To preview the game, I asked Sadaraine from Mile High Report six questions on Colorado’s resident football squad.
1. What is the long-term state of the Broncos franchise? Despite their shortcomings offensively (mainly at QB), there seems to still be quite a bit of talent on this roster, especially defensively. Can they get back into mix next year, or is a rebuild coming?
I'm not completely sold on the idea that a complete rebuild is in order for the Broncos franchise, but some big changes do need to take place. It should be obvious to anyone at this point that the path they have chosen to take post Super Bowl 50 was a bad choice.
There is just way too much talent on this team for them to have performed this poorly. I do believe the team can get things on course with some major changes to the offense (namely finding some actual NFL talent at the QB position and upgrading talent at some skill positions) and some adjustments at the front office and coaching levels of the team.
John Elway especially has to do his job at a much better level in the scouting and drafting departments. He also has to get very real about making sure this team has the right coach. Developing a young coach in Vance Joseph sure doesn't seem like the right fit to me.
2. What has gone wrong at the quarterback position? It seemed Trevor Siemian was a passable starter last year. What's caused his decline, and how has Paxton Lynch looked?
The first answer is plainly, everything. The Broncos have been pinching pennies for years at the position trusting in a mini-Kubiak (Siemian) and a mini-Elway minus the football brain and pedigree (Lynch) to duke it out in 2017 and morph into something resembling an actual NFL talent at quarterback.
Well, hindsight tells us that the addage is true: if you have two quarterbacks, you don't actually have one. Neither of these players has what it takes to hack it and the Broncos are left at this point in the season grasping at straws offensively because of it.
Siemian didn't actually decline at all. He has been the same quarterback he has been dating back to around eight games into the 2016 season. He locks onto his primary read, doesn't understand how to read and adjust to defensive schemes, and lacks micro throwing accuracy to make the style of football he employs work. Defenses have such an easy time when he is the QB because all they have to do is read his eyes and break on the route he is watching.
Paxton Lynch has simply looked like a project rookie. The problem is that should have been his look last year. The team has failed to develop him properly and has in the end robbed him of a possible career and themselves of a potential starting QB. He brings a better physical toolset to the game than what Siemian has, but his grasp of pro football is lacking. He also lacks accuracy as well due to inconsistent technique which is something that he hasn't needed to develop until last year.
3. Is a stagnant, turnover-prone offense to blame for the Broncos' statistical regression on defense (31st in points allowed), or has that defensive unit really taken a significant step back?
It is absolutely the offense that is THE key issue with the team. The defense still plays at a top 5 level. Sadly they are on the field too much in bad field positions due to the ineptitude of the offense. There is a thing called complimentary football and this Broncos team has little to no functional understanding of how that works.
4. How has Vance Joseph done in his first year, and what do Broncos fans think of him?
He talks a great talk. He looks the part of a respectable head coach. The fans are sick of it though. The product on the field is what counts and right now his coaching product amounts to a large pile of offal.
Unless something that looks a lot more close to winning happens in the next four weeks, it is going to be very hard for Joseph to keep his job.
5. Is there an unheralded, unknown Bronco that Jets fans should be wary of?
Justin Simmons is your guy here. He is a 2nd year player at safety for the Broncos and is the reason they cut ties with T.J. Ward this year. He is a dynamic defensive back that has no holes in his game. He tackles well, covers well, and has a nose for the ball. In last week's game the Broncos moved him around quite a bit playing both safety roles and as 3rd corner as a match up cover guy and he handled it very well.
6. What do you think of the Broncos' chances of winning this game against the Jets in particular?
I honestly would love to throw shade at the Jets given their history and talk about how we could surely get a win, but that just isn't reality. The Jets play NFL level football and absolutely should win this game. That is just the truth as I see it. The Broncos will need to have everything go their way and competent QB play on offense and we simply haven't seen that in months.