Well, that sucked, again. The Broncos fell to 3-6 on the year after they were defeated by the Tennessee Titans by the score of 17-10. Despite coming off their bye week, we saw a lot of the same issues that plagued this team continue to happen and were a big reason they lost this game. We also saw the injury bug strike once again which figures to sideline a few more Broncos for an extended period of time.
However, with the Broncos at 3-6 and all hopes of the postseason now dashed, this season continues to get more and more disappointing. I will touch on that and more with my five thoughts after yet another Denver Broncos defeat.
Hackett needs to go
The Broncos are all but eliminated from the postseason with this loss. The AFC is fairly competitive and the Broncos are at six losses already in mid-November. If you told me that back in August, I would have laughed at you. Unfortunately, that is the reality we face. This Broncos team came into the season with high expectations and fell flat on their face in the most epic and embarrassing way.
It is time for a change. Whether it be sometime today, next week, in December, or the day after the regular season finale, the Broncos need to move on from Nathaniel Hackett.
Well, we knew today’s #broncos game was likely to be a low-scoring, defensive battle but the offense, after having 2 weeks to prepare for the #Titans, severely underperformed. Injuries played a factor but patterns/mistakes this season can’t be ignored. Changes seem to be looming
— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) November 13, 2022
The Broncos’ offense is a complete mess. It ranks at the bottom of every notable metric. They’re one of the most penalized teams in the league, they routinely look unprepared, the play-calling is iffy at best, and every just sucks. All of these failures fall at the feet of Hackett who looks in over his head and terribly unprepared and unfit to be a head coach in the NFL.
This disappointment has caught the attention of the Broncos’ new owners. These people are very successful people who are not used to failure nor appreciate their expensive new purchase looking embarrassingly bad. More failure could lead to them moving on from a coach they did not hire and starting over.
Broncos’ new owner and CEO Greg Penner stopped short of guaranteeing a full season for Hackett during the lead-up to the teams game in London vs. the Jaguars.
“I’m supportive of Nathaniel, and we really want him to succeed. As you guys know, this is a week-to-week sport. So we’re always evaluating things, and our goal is to win as many games in the second half as we can.”
Well, the Broncos started off the second half of their season with a loss and blowing a 10-point lead. They looked inept once again, the same issues continued, and they’re now three games below .500. So, how much longer of a leash does Hackett get?
We have seen multiple teams now move on from their Head Coach this season. Could the Broncos be the next one?
The Broncos’ offensive line sucks
Quarterback Russell Wilson has been far from great this season, but his offensive line is doing him no favors. In this one, in a game where the Titans were down their best defensive player and one of their starting edge rushers, they were consistently pressing Wilson and getting in the backfield within seconds.
Russell Wilson has taken 6 sacks for -39 yards
Jeffery Simmons and Bud Dupree didn’t suit up today
— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) November 13, 2022
We even saw former Broncos second-round pick/bust Demarcus Walker get a sack and multiple pressures on Wilson as well.
What does not help is that this unit is fairly banged up. They’re without their starting left tackle, starting center, and starting right tackle heading into this one. During the game, they lost their center and right tackle which put a rookie and practice squad player into starting roles in this one. Obviously, we all saw how badly that went.
This already struggling offense is not going to produce if their offensive line continues to play this badly. Reminder, this was against a Titans front seven down multiple players and is not considered one of the more talented units as is. I hate to see how this unit will perform against some of the more talented units they will see during the rest of this season.
Injuries continue to pile up
It seems like after each and every game so far this season, the Broncos leave that game with an injury or two to a key member of their team. This game against the Titans was, unfortunately, no different. We saw wide receiver Jerry Jeudy carted to the locker room with an ankle injury and backup center Graham Glasgow sidelined with a shoulder injury.
The Broncos are on:
Left tackle no. 3 (Bolles, then Fleming, now Anderson)
center no. 3 (Cushenberry, then Glasgow, now Wattenberg)
Right tackle no. 3 (Fleming, then Turner, now Bailey)
And 3 of their top 4 WRs (Patrick, Jeudy, Hamler) are unavailable. As is RB1 (Williams).
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) November 13, 2022
It is hard, off the top of my head, to keep track of all the injuries this team has faced this season. We have seen multiple key starters get sidelined for an extended period of time multiple times this season. They have been decimated by the injury bug which has only amplified their struggles as a team.
When you’re seeing injuries like this continue to pop up throughout a season, you have to take a hard look at your strength and conditioning team. Whatever they are doing is not working and/or the Broncos are getting some extremely bad luck when it comes to injuries.
Like at Head Coach, I want to see the Broncos make a change to their conditioning team.
The Broncos are wasting an elite defense
The Broncos arguably have the best defense in the NFL right now. They’re doing this while down multiple key members to their squad but they haven’t missed a beat. Without this unit performing at a high level. we could easily see a winless Broncos team right now.
The Broncos currently rank last in scoring and 1st in points allowed. That’s unprecedented in the 32 team era.
In fact, the last NFL team to finish with the fewest points scored and fewest points allowed was the 1946 Steelers.
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) November 14, 2022
Coming into this one, Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed for 462 yards in his previous three games and found the end zone four times during that span as well. Well, not only did the Broncos keep Henry out of the end zone, they limited the leagues leading rusher to just 53 yards and 2.8 yards per carry.
They did this without Bradley Chubb who was traded to Miami, without Baron Browning, Justin Simmons, Randy Gregory, and others on defense. They started players like rookie Nik Bonitto and journeyman Jacob Martin at outside linebacker. We saw PJ Locke get the start at safety in place of Justin Simmons as well. Despite all this, the Broncos’ defense didn’t miss a beat.
Outside of a flukey flea-flicker play. the Broncos’ defense did its part and limited the Titans’ offense. Unfortunately, the Broncos’ offense could only muster one touchdown on a blown coverage and wasted another solid effort from its defense.
What is frustrating is that if the Broncos’ offense was just average, they could be looking at six or seven wins and firmly in the playoff conversation. Unfortunately, that’s far from the reality and the Broncos’ offense continues to look like absolute shit.
This was not supposed to happen,
The Broncos hired a coach who helped lead Aaron Rodgers to back-to-back MVPs. We finally acquired our quarterback. The offense look loaded. We were supposed to see players like Javonte Williams, Jerry Jeudy, and others have big breakout seasons. The playoff drought was supposed to end. Hell, we even thought we could maybe beat Patrick Mahomes this year.
How did Hackett fool everyone? Why does Russell Wilson suddenly look washed up? Why do we suck again?
We can’t even “embrace the tank” this year as Seattle owns our first-round pick which looks destined to be in the top 5 or 10. Meanwhile, the 49ers won again which increases the chances of us owning a pick in the back half of the first round.