The Denver Broncos have been a downright awful offensive football team since the downturn of Peyton Manning’s NFL career towards the end of the 2014 season.
Thanks to one of the best defenses in NFL history, the Broncos did manage to win a Super Bowl title in 2015, despite their glaring offensive issues. Since then, however, Denver has been a below-average football team. Their defense has remained dominant (for the most part), but their offense has been wildly inconsistent – and that’s being nice about it.
As head coach Vance Joseph said on Monday, to keep going on this same track would be pure insanity.
With that being the case, the Broncos’ best option going forward would be a complete overhaul of the roster on the offensive side of the ball.
The harsh truth of the matter is that with the exception of offensive guard Ron Leary, every player on Denver’s offense is expendable. That includes wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and running backs C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles, who all have at least one Pro Bowl selection on their respective career resumes.
The first, and most obvious, position the Broncos need to address is quarterback. If we’ve learned anything definitively this season it’s that Denver doesn’t have a franchise quarterback on their roster at this point in time. Veteran Brock Osweiler and 25-year-old Trevor Siemian have both proven that they are best suited for a backup role. Second-year pro, and 2016 first-round draft pick, Paxton Lynch is talented, but he has been beaten out by Siemian, a former seventh-round pick, for two-straight years.
The best route here would be to target a proven veteran such as Kirk Cousins or Drew Brees during free agency, then add an understudy in the 2018 NFL Draft.
After quarterback, the next biggest issue for the Broncos is their offensive line. Leary is the type of player Denver can build their line around, rookie left tackle Garett Bowles has shown signs of promise, and center Matt Paradis has had his moments. At the very minimum, the Broncos need to replace two starters (left guard and right tackle) on their offensive line next offseason.
At wide receiver, the Broncos would be wise to aggressively pursue trade options for Thomas and Sanders. They have just under $23 million in cap space committed to the two veteran wideouts, and at this point in their respective careers, neither player is a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver. Both are presently good, not great, players. Continuing to tie up that much cap space in such a dependent position would be a mistake.
At both running back and tight end, Denver is still missing an every-down, game-changing type of player. They have a couple of rookies who have some promise ( Jake Butt at tight end and De’Angelo Henderson at running back), but neither have proven anything in a regular season game.
General manager John Elway clearly has a lot of work to do in the coming months. Addressing all of his team’s offensive needs while also keeping his defense in tact will be no easy task. But for the Broncos to regain their standing as one of the premier teams in the AFC, drastic measures need to be taken.
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