Undoubtedly, it didn’t happen for the Broncos on Sunday in Detroit. “It” is anything positive. It was a game to forget in every respect. It was a game in which everything that has been a problem for the Broncos was exposed in a huge way.
Head Coach Mike Shanahan and the players have repeatedly said that injuries are not an excuse. I agree with that. The bottom line in the NFL is winning and losing. It really doesn’t matter how a team wins. I’m not sure, for example, the Packers have looked great in every game this year. But they’re 7-1.
I’m also not sure how good the Broncos were before the injuries started hitting. And let’s remember the list is long: Javon Walker, Travis Henry, Nate Jackson, Tom Nalen, Ben Hamilton, Jay Cutler, Ebenezer Ekuban, Jarvis Moss, John Lynch, Rod Smith, Stephen Alexander, and Tony Scheffler. Those are just the guys I can think of off the top of my head.
Everyone can agree that it would be hard for any team to overcome that many injuries in one season, even though some, like Scheffler, eventually returned to action.
I’d like to think the Broncos would be a good team if many of the above players were healthy. In my opinion, they would neither be at the level of New England or Indianapolis, nor would they likely be at the level of Dallas in the NFC. But I consider Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and Green Bay to be pretty good teams and the Broncos played reasonably well against those teams.
The fact is, of course, that the Broncos don’t have those players and they aren’t playing well right now. Period. As Shanahan and the players said, they were embarassed on Sunday in Detroit. It’s not typical for that to happen to the Broncos once in a season, let alone twice as it has this year.
No one needs the coaches or players to tell them that the Broncos need to play better. No one needs to hear they have a lot of things to fix and, in many cases, second- and third-string players are the ones being counted on to fix them.
My head is not in the sand; I am well aware that the Broncos are not a good team right now.
At the same time, I am generally a positive person. With eight games left, I’m not going to say they won’t win again. I’m not going to say they might as well pack in the season. I’m not going to say they’re already playing spoiler. Again, the way the Broncos are playing right now can easily lead one to think those things. And someone who does think those things is not only entitled to his thoughts but has plenty of evidence to support them.
I won’t, however, think those things until they show themselves to be true. The fact is that half the season remains. The Broncos are in a division that has shown itself to be mediocre. They have eight games left and are one game out of first place. I will choose to wait and see how things play out. In sports, you never know what will happen. Many times we think we know and often those thoughts prove to be correct. But ultimately, we don’t know what will happen until it does.
To be honest, my expectations aren’t high for a sudden and dramatic turnaround. But I’m not smart enough to know what’s going to happen. I just know things don’t look good right now.
But you don’t need me to tell you that.
As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to share your realistic expectations for the rest of the season. Again, I ask that you temper your frustrations. We all know it’s a tough time for the team.