The New York Jets try to keep their recent winning ways going when they travel to Denver to take on the Denver Broncos this week. The Broncos have announced they will be without quarterback Russell Wilson on Sunday, leaving backup Brett Rypien under center. Previewing this matchup, Ian St. Clair of Mile High Report was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the 2022 Broncos.
Check out the Q&A below, and be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook for all your betting needs this season.
1. The Broncos are off to a 2-4 start to the 2022 season, and they have scored 16 or less points in every game but one. Needless to say, this is not the way the team envisioned things going when they acquired Russell Wilson in the offseason. What has gone wrong with the offense, who are the major culprits responsible for the lack of production, and do you see any light at the end of the tunnel for Wilson and the Broncos offense?
There is so much to unpack when it comes to the Broncos offense and how offensive it’s been. What’s clear after six weeks is Hackett, and his system, paired with Wilson go together like oil and vinegar. There have been flashes, most recently in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers, when Wilson looked like Wilson and the offense resembled an NFL offense. Yet despite all of that, Hackett and his offensive staff see what’s working in the Monday night game and decide, “Let’s completely change course and go away from it.” It was to the point on Monday that Hackett’s play calling was more predictable than Bob Ross painting a mountain scene only nobody got the happy trees. Wilson hasn’t been good in his first six games in Denver. But the culprit is Hackett.
2. Russell Wilson wasn’t the only major change for the Broncos in the offseason. The Broncos also changed the head coach, bringing in Nathaniel Hackett. How much of the current troubles are Hackett’s fault, do you see reasons to believe he can turn this around, and do Broncos fans think he is, or should be, on the hot seat already?
Tied into the first answer, Hackett’s consistently shown he’s completely out of his element and has no clue what he’s doing ... with no inclination he has any idea how to fix it. The players no doubt need to execute better, but when they do and the coach flips the script and goes away from what’s allowed them to execute, that shows how horrible Hackett is as a coach. All of the current troubles rest squarely on the shoulders of Hackett, and Broncos Country is already calling for a change. In terms of that light at the end of the tunnel from the first question, it may have to wait until after the season when Hackett is fired and a competent head coach is brought in to mesh better with Wilson.
3. Other than Hackett and Wilson, could you let Jets fans know about any other significant additions or subtractions to the team since last year and how are these changes working out? Also, how has the 2022 draft class for the Broncos been performing?
The major defensive addition was Randy Gregory. And he was off to an incredible start before his knee injury against the Las Vegas Raiders landed him on IR. Baron Browning has stepped up in a major way in Gregory’s absence. Browning has had two incredible games as an edge for the Broncos and he’ll be a player the Jets have to keep an eye on. The subtractions are coming via injuries, whether Gregory, Garett Bolles, Josey Jewell, Ronald Darby, Tim Patrick, and Javonte Williams. As for players on last year’s roster, the addition of D.J. Jones has made up for Shelby Harris in the Wilson deal. The other two players involved in that trade, Noah Fant and Drew Lock, would have been non-factors. The 2022 Draft class has been hit and miss. There have been flashes and there have been some horrible moments. Nik Bonitto hasn’t gotten on the field. Greg Dulchich got his first action of the season and got his first career touchdown against the Chargers. Demarri Mathis has struggled as a rookie cornerback. Justin Herbert picked on Mathis on Monday and he got flagged for four defensive pass interference penalties. But to his credit, Mathis hasn’t lost his confidence and made a big play in the second half for the Broncos defense. The only other pick to see significant action at this point is Montrell Washington. Again, he’s flashed as a returner, but also was part of the game-changing muffed punt that cost Denver the game on Monday. All in all, too early to tell on the 2022 Draft class.
4. From an opponents’ standpoint, what has been working against the Broncos so far this year on offense and on defense? How would you go about trying to beat this Broncos team?
The Jets offense needs to run the football, and in particular, run on the edges of the Denver defense. If New York can’t run the football, it’ll be a long day for that offense given the pressure this Broncos defense creates. As for the passing game, Zach Wilson needs to attack Mathis. Pat Surtain will follow New York’s best receiver, and he won’t get anything. That’s how good Surtain has been. So pick on Mathis until he proves he won’t get beat or commit defensive PI. For the Jets defense, do what you just did against the Green Bay Packers. I wouldn’t change a thing from that defensive game plan because it will shut down the Broncos offense.
5. If you were a betting man, which team would you pick to win this game?
Bet the Jets on the spread and moneyline. Wilson and the Broncos offense is too horribly inept to do anything against this New York defense. And I would hammer the under. I have the Jets winning 20-15.