Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Denver Broncos Community!

Why the Broncos need a change in the worst possible way

Zac Stevens Avatar
September 9, 2021

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos need a drastic change.

Not with their coaching staff, quarterback or even their special teams coach. They need a change to their slow September starts.

By now, everyone knows the Broncos don’t have a single win in the month of September in the Vic Fangio era. Heck, even Shelby Harris admitted, “We’ve sucked in September.” But this year, it’s even more crucial that Fangio and the Broncos don’t just get a win, but get many to start the season.

“Being in the hole is not a good feeling,” Melvin Gordon stated, recalling Denver’s winless 2020 September. “Coming down that stretch where it’s like you have to win to get in is not a good feeling. You want to know that you have some security.”

In Denver’s first three games, they play one of the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in the NFL along with the first two picks of the draft—aka the two worst teams in the league last year. Despite only one of their first three games being at home, if Denver doesn’t come out of that stretch with at least a winning record, well, the season will be all but over, not just before Halloween hits, but before the calendar even rolls over to the month of October.

The 1-15 Jaguars and 2-14 Jets make the 2020 Giants look like world beaters. The Giants were 6-10. Those are the Broncos’ first three opponents to kick off the 2021 season, beginning on Sunday in New York against the Giants.

“I’ve been part of a winning team before. The atmosphere is just so much better,” the Pro Bowl running back stated. “When you’re losing, everyone can feel it, and everything is so tense… Everyone is tense, everyone is on edge. When you walk around, it’s just tough. When you win, it’s just loose. Loose is a better atmosphere, it’s a better place to be.”

A slow start in 2021 for the Orange & Blue would lead to an extra-tense environment within the Broncos’ walls with what’s in store for them. Last year, Denver was able to get off their September schneid by playing the lowly, lowly Jets. They won’t have that luxury if they drop this year’s game to the Jets in Week 3.

Three of the Broncos’ next four games after the Jets feature the Ravens at home (Week 4), the Steelers on the road (Week 5) and the Browns on the road (Week 7). All three of those teams went to the playoffs last year. The Browns and Ravens went 11-5 and the Steelers won the AFC North with a 12-4 record.

The following week the Broncos host the defending NFC North Champs in the Washington Football Team.

Talk about a cupcake scheduling quickly turning into a nightmare after September.

After that, the only remaining playoff team from a year ago that remains on the schedule is the Kansas City Chiefs. But with the return of Dak Prescott and the emergence of Justin Herbert, the Cowboys and Chargers factor to be significantly more competitive in 2021 than they were last year too.

If a 1-2 or, heavens forbid, 0-3 start is in Denver’s future, barring a miracle turnaround, dark days will be in store for the Mile High City.

If it goes down this route, the season won’t just be long over, there will be significant changes made from the coordinators, quarterbacks and even possibly the head coach.

Saying all of that, a hot start won’t guarantee job security for anyone. Just ask the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Broncos. Just ask Gary Kubiak and Vance Joseph. Just ask Trevor Siemian and Case Keenum.

In 2016, the defending Super Bowl champs dominated the beginning of the season, starting a perfect 4-0. They then went on to drop four of their next seven games and Gary Kubiak retired at the end of the season.

The following year, a 3-1 start was followed by an eight-game losing streak. Siemian lost his job in the mix and the Broncos saw Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch start multiple games each. What fun that was.

And finally, in 2018, after a promising 2-0 start, Denver dropped six of their next seven games. After the season, Vance Joseph was canned and Keenum was shipped out of town along with part of his salary.

Despite these hot starts, there was only one winning season—thanks Trev for the 9-7 year in 2016. And, of course, not a single playoff appearance.

A strong start certainly doesn’t guarantee anything. But a slow start in 2021 will nearly guarantee doom for many across the Broncos’ organization. The Broncos simply can’t slumber their way through September again.


Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?