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"I had just graduated high school": Denver Broncos in unfamiliar territory

Zac Stevens Avatar
December 29, 2016


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Rewind the clock to 2010, the last time the Denver Broncos did not make the postseason. Josh McDaniels started the year as head coach, Eric Studesville finished the season as head coach, neither John Elway nor Von Miller were apart of the organization and Paxton Lynch was a junior in high school.

After that 4-12 season, sweeping changes were made across the organization including changes in the front office with the addition of Elway, hiring John Fox as the new head coach and giving Tim Tebow, a first-round pick, a shot under center.

Although the changes this offseason may not be as drastic, it is truly difficult to tell what will be the fallout since this is uncharted water in the Elway regime.

The only player currently on the Broncos team that was a part of this organization the last time Denver didn’t make the playoffs was Demaryius Thomas. All 68 other players, including practice squad and injured reserve, were either not in the league yet or were on a different team.

“It shows how the organization has put together so many good teams in the last couple of years and really built up the standard of the caliber we need to play at,” linebacker Todd Davis said. “It’s a shame that it didn’t go the way we wanted this season. But we will be back.”

In fact, only ten other players currently on the 53-man roster were even in the league in 2010. The other 43 players were too young, either in college or high school, including Chris Harris Jr., Derek Wolfe and C.J. Anderson. Additionally, Gary Kubiak was still in the middle of his tenure as the Houston Texans head coach.

“[In] 2010 I had just graduated high school. That’s crazy,” Davis said. “I definitely have confidence not only in the organization [moving forward] but the guys in the locker room. I think we are hungry; we are definitely frustrated.”

The next season, in their first of five straight divisional titles, while Denver only went 8-8, they advanced to the second round of the playoffs after drafting Miller before the season started.

Since Denver will now officially miss the playoffs, they will be ensured their best position in the draft since 2011, when they selected Miller No. 2 overall. Their highest pick since then was in 2015 at No. 23 overall when they traded up to select Shane Ray.

While the draft order won’t be solidified until after Sunday’s Week 17 games, Denver will be looking at a pick in the mid-teens. Since there is nothing on the line in Sunday’s game against the Raiders, except for pride, the Broncos may be best losing to improve their draft position.

Whatever ends up happening in Week 17 won’t change the fact that 2016 was a massive letdown for the reigning Super Bowl champions. What might not be a let down for Broncos fans is what will happen in Elway’s first offseason after not making it to the playoffs.


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