(Image credit: Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
The Denver Broncos were likely the team out and now their latest loss against the Los Angeles Chargers was the nail in the coffin. Honestly, I thought the Broncos were one of the worst teams heading into the trade deadline that lucked into a few wins. I will be honest the Broncos did make some solid moves during the trade deadline after the team traded LB Von Miller. Honestly, Von Miller leaving the team heavily improved the defense and the Broncos salary cap. Plus acquiring DE/EDGE Stephen Weatherly and LB Kenny Young also improved the Broncos defense and it resulted in the team winning more games. However, it was just not enough and there were plenty of problems that the Denver Broncos had to deal with. In this article, I will go through three big reasons why the Denver Broncos did not make the playoffs this season.
1. AFC West was too talented and competitive to handle
I hate using a division as an excuse as every division is extremely competitive. However, I can’t here as the AFC West especially has been very competitive during the 2021 season. The Kansas City Chiefs while we're in a slump earlier in the season woke up and are currently the #1 seed in the AFC Conference and they have an 11-5 record. The Los Angeles Chargers currently have a 9-7 record and should make the playoffs this season but are fighting for the 7th seed. The Las Vegas Raiders despite the dark season that the team is having also have a 9-7 record and are battling for the #7 seed spot. One thing that is clear to me and that was that the Broncos did not have the level of talent that the Raiders, Chiefs, and Chargers have had.
The Coaching all season has been abysmal all season for the Denver Broncos. The offense is terrible especially with the poor play calling with both Head Pat Shurmur and head coach Vic Fangio. Fangio is supposed to be a defensive-minded coach and the Broncos defense has been abysmal this season. Fangio has also constantly been outcoached and that game against both the Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders heavily exposed him this season. I definitely believe that Vic Fangio is on the hot seat and I won't be surprised if the Broncos decide to move on from Vic Fangio. But then again I won't be shocked if the Broncos keep Fangio as the Broncos were winning big games against the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers.
3. No Long Term Franchise QB
It is clear that the Denver Broncos do not have a franchise quarterback on their roster currently. I will forever be a fan of Teddy Bridgewater but it is clear that he can’t stay healthy. He has constantly been dealing with injuries throughout his career ever since the brutal knee injury he suffered during his tenure with the Minnisota Vikings. The injury this time that affected Teddy Bridgewater is a constant ankle injury and he was often seen limping when he was getting onto the football field. Bridgewater currently as well is dealing with a Concussion and I doubt he plays next week. It is a shame too as when he is healthy Teddy Bridgewater can really play well. So next up on the list is QB Drew Lock who was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Drew Lock this season has been awful and it is looking more and more that he is a bust and won’t be the franchise quarterback for the Denver Broncos. I even wonder if he will be on the roster next season as it was clear earlier in the season that the team has given up on Drew Lock. Brett Rypien is also on the roster and obviously, he is not going to be the franchise QB. The Broncos need to find the franchise QB during the offseason via Free Agency or in the upcoming draft.
It will be interesting to see what the Denver Broncos do during the offseason especially when it comes to improving the offense and gaining more depth on defense. Definitely, a team to watch in the upcoming offseason.