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The Broncos are slow dancing in a burning room

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
October 7, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — He didn’t mean it the way it sounded, but Chris Harris Jr. said it all in a feisty Broncos locker room following the team’s embarrassing 34-16 loss to the New York Jets.

“We have to start over from square one,” he uttered moments after getting on a teammate for trying to dodge the media.

Now, he was talking about this team getting back to the basics, but let’s be honest, it applies to the franchise as a whole.

The Broncos are slow dancing in a burning room. It’s becoming clear that they’ve been attempting to avoid the rising flames for some time.

For three years now, they’ve been grasping for relevancy, fighting off the dreaded “R-word” that John Elway hates so much. Rebuild.

They started Trevor Siemian over Paxton Lynch in 2016 because they didn’t want to rebuild. They kept Vance Joseph at the end of last season because they didn’t want to rebuild. They gave Case Keenum $36 Million because they didn’t want to rebuild. They passed on a quarterback at No. 5 in a QB-rich draft because they didn’t want to rebuild.

Don’t you think they oughta know by now?

As they hang on to the edge of the cliff with one hand, each thrust to pull themselves back on to the ground just chips off another piece of the rock.

While Isaiah Crowell and Sam Darnold gashed up a once-proud Denver defense on Sunday, it became very clear. This ain’t it. This Broncos season is on the verge of going up in flames once again.

“It’s the same shit every week,” a ‘pissed off’ Derek Wolfe admitted after the game. “I’m tired of talking about the same shit for two years straight. Something has to change… Something much deeper is going on here that I can’t even really understand.”

And there it is. They can’t put a finger on it, but the energy just simply isn’t right. No matter how hard they try—and believe me, they’re trying—they simply cannot put it all together. Sometimes, the only cure is change. A fresh start. A clean slate.

John Elway, Joe Ellis and the rest of the brass can shade their eyes as much as they want, ignore the crackles and the pops, try to figure out a shortcut here or a shortcut there but eventually, those flames are going to spread. Just let it burn.

“We have to change something, and we have to win,” Harris said. “It’s not looking too good right now.”

On Sunday, it looked awful. You could make the argument that it was the worst post-Super-Bowl-50 loss yet. 323 yards rushing. 8.5 yards per carry. Blown out by a bad team with a rookie quarterback. Anemic on offense. Inept in more ways than not.

“We’re just not very good right now,” Von Miller said, summing it all up so simply.

One day, this game will likely be looked at as the official moment that it no longer became a question of “if” but rather a question of “when.”

A year from today, the Denver Broncos will all-but-certainly have a new head coach, potentially a new quarterback and an already thinning herd, the Super Bowl 50 winners, will be on the verge of extinction.

You can call it whatever you want to call it, but the reality is the Orange & Blue have to take at least one step back before they can start moving forward again, they have to rebuild.

As they move into the future, they have a small group of stars to build around, and they have a fantastic rookie class to propel them into the next generation of Broncos football, but the rest of the puzzle is completely out of whack.

It’s time to grab the heirlooms and get the hell out.

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