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HomeSportsBroncos could be prime landing spot for talented QB

Broncos could be prime landing spot for talented QB

By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports NFL Writer

INGLEWOOD, Calif .– Denver Broncos Coach Vic Fangio took a short break before answering the last question of his interview session on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Three weeks ago his team were at 7-6 and in the playoff race. But after three straight losses, the Broncos fell to 7-9 and came out of the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Fangio. “We had three tough and close losses before this one – all close games against good teams. And it’s disappointing.”

Give Fangio credit for going all out to try and defeat the Chargers on the road with a shorthanded roster.

The Broncos faced LA with 14 players unavailable as they were on the reserve / COVID-19 roster, including founding players such as edge rusher Bradley Chubb and explosive playmaker Jerry Jeudy.

Fangio’s side went 1 for 4 at fourth base, including running the Philly Special on the LA 2-yard line instead of scoring a basket with just over five minutes left in the first half.

Receiver Kendall Hinton was pressured on the reverse pass, and his pitch fell short of quarterback Drew Lock, who was stopped before the goal line by Joey Bosa and Chris Harris Jr. helped the Chargers secure a 10-0 lead.

Solid all season, Denver’s defense especially held in check an explosive attack from Los Angeles in the first half.

However, as they did for most of the year, the Broncos’ offense failed to muster any sustained training and the defense crumbled, leading to a smash 34-13 victory for the Chargers. .

Special teams didn’t help the Broncos either, with a Diontae Spencer punt recovered by the Chargers that led to a score and a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Andre Roberts from THE.

The Broncos fell to 7-9, making Fangio’s already hot seat even hotter with one final game against the Kansas City Chiefs at home.

“There’s a certain barrier that I noticed that we just haven’t overcome,” said Broncos safety and defensive co-captain Justin Simmons. “And at the end of the day, you have to find ways to win close matches.”

During Fangio’s tenure, the Broncos are 10-15 in one-scoring games. Fangio is 19-29 overall in three seasons with the Broncos, with no playoff appearances and no winning records. So why should Denver bring him back?

The players always seem to be playing hard for Fangio.

“We are all extremely close,” Lock said. “We all fight for each other. And we all wanted a hugely successful season for us. And when that doesn’t happen, yeah, it hurts.”

Since a shrewd Peyton Manning and stingy defense helped propel the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 victory after the 2014 regular season, Denver has been cycling with 10 different quarterback players (11 if you include the WR Kendall Hinton making a start for the Denver COVID -19 roster ravaged in 2020).

Led by Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway as the team’s best man on staff, the Broncos have selected six flaggers, including Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Chad Kelly and Lock . Not all have managed to bring this proud franchise back to the playoffs since Manning left.

Siemian was the main starter for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, posting a 13-11 record.

Case Keenum started all 16 games in 2018. The Broncos finished 6-10 that year and fired Vance Joseph after two seasons as the team’s head coach.

Joe Flacco, Lock and Brandon Allen combined to win seven games in Vic Fangio’s first season at the helm in 2019.

In 2020, Lock, Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien combined to win five games.

This season, Lock and Bridgewater have led the Broncos to seven wins.

The Broncos brought in Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. The Louisville product has had its moments, finishing 7-7 as a starter this season. However, the injury virus bit Bridgewater again and he struggled to stay healthy.

Fangio, considered one of the best defensive minds in the NFL, has done a good job of building one of the best defenses in the league. Entering Sunday’s game against the Broncos, Denver arrived with the No.1 defense in the NFL, allowing just 17.3 points per game.

They limited Patrick Mahomes to 184 passing yards, no touchdowns and one interception in a Week 13 loss to the Chiefs.

The Broncos kept the prolific Joe Burrow just 157 passing yards in a 15-10 loss to the Bengals in Week 15.

Denver’s most impressive win this season was a 30-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

However, Lock and Bridgewater are not the answer for the struggling offensive Broncos in 2022. Through a trade, draft or free agency, GM George Paton must find a capable quarterback. to bring this team back to the playoffs.

“We just can’t seem to find a rhythm and a consistency in our attack to keep the practices going, get the first down and potentially get touchdowns,” said Fangio.

Tight end Noah Fant added: “The disconnect scores in the red zone.… We have to score in the red zone, not field goals but touchdowns.”

Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers would be a dreamlike scenario for this franchise. But a perhaps more realistic scenario is to use first-round selection on another quarterback from the future, with Paton calling in a young QB for new attacking staff.

The Broncos have five caps in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.

Selected in the second round of the 2019 Draft, Lock is 8-13 as a starter in three seasons in the NFL. The Missouri product finished 18 for 25 passes for 245 yards, with one touchdown pass and no interceptions in the Chargers’ loss.

Lock came out with a right shoulder injury but returned to the game. Lock said his shoulder was a little weird on the second ride. He had already been injured, shot in the locker room and came back and played.

“My # 1 goal is to win soccer games,” Lock said. “Take care of the ball, don’t win the soccer game and a quarterback will earn you a donut. There really isn’t much, not winning the soccer game earns you.

“I feel like my game has improved. I think I made progress in some areas where I needed to improve, but it doesn’t mean much to me if you do not win football matches. “

Lock still has a year on his rookie deal, but would likely only be a placeholder for the Broncos in 2022.

In a division that includes Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr, the Broncos need higher quarterback aspirations to return to more competitive times when they won five straight 2011 AFC West titles. to 2015.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for over a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on twitter @eric_d_williams.


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