MILE HIGH MONDAY

Between now and the trade deadline, the Broncos need to be sellers

Oct 9, 2023, 6:31 AM | Updated: 2:41 pm

This is so bad. The Denver Broncos lost 31-21 to the New York Jets at home in Week 5. The Broncos now have a 1-4 record, and they have a short week as they travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. That could be another humiliating loss for head coach Sean Payton and company.

I like when the Broncos are not embarrassed on what seems like a weekly basis. It’s tough to win in the NFL, but the Broncos are finding different ways to lose to some of the worst teams in the league. What does that say about them?

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

Sell! Sell! Sell!

With the loss to the Jets, the Broncos need to start trading away players. It’s a short week as they play on Thursday night, so guys might stick around in Broncos’ uniforms for a few more days. I get that, but it’s clear that this team is not going to make the playoffs.

The trade deadline in the NFL is on Halloween, but things are already scary for Broncos Country. The team could end some of the nightmare season by giving fans hope for the future with more draft picks. They already traded Randy Gregory last week, moving him to the 49ers, and he’s just the first one out the door.

Players like Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Josey Jewell, Justin Simmons, Frank Clark, and others could be on the trade block. Even before the Jets game, there were rumblings about some of these players getting moved by the Broncos. The reports were varied in terms of the seriousness of their potential interest in trading. I think the results of the game should have helped make the decision if there was even any uncertainty in the first place.

I believe the Broncos would be wise to move players a week or two before the deadline. If they wait for the end of the month, the teams in a championship window may have already filled their roster spots. If/when the Broncos lose to the Chiefs on Thursday night, they should start moving players the next day.

***

The Problem with Payton

I still believe in Sean Payton. I’m not sure why, but I do. I thought Payton was a “pipe dream” hire for the Broncos, and I felt he was the perfect coach to turn things around for the Broncos. Well, they’re worse than they were last season.

There are many problems, and I’m not sure where to begin. However, I know where most of the blame must be placed – on Payton. This is his team, these are his decisions, this is his staff, and many of the players added this season – likely all of them – can be classified as “Payton’s guys.” It’s not working, and it’s more than just a lack of talent (not all of that is on Payton but instead GM George Paton).

Vance Joseph should have been fired after getting beat by 50 points against the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago. The decision to fire him would be Payton’s call. Instead of sending a message that such a performance was unacceptable, Payton keeps Joseph around with little reasoning as to why. Sure, some say it would look bad across the league if a DC was fired a month into the season. I say that’s a phony excuse. Send the message, fire the coach. The fact that it has not been done is all on Payton. He’s benched players, but he needs to make a coaching change to try and help turn things around.

Payton is not infallible. Keeping Joseph on the team’s payroll is a mistake, and he will be fired soon enough. In the meantime, while the team waits to fire him for some unknown reason, the Broncos defense will continue to play terrible football.

***

Hackett FTW

I have mixed feelings about Nathaniel Hackett. I liked the hire, and he brought a new energy to the team when he was announced as their head coach in 2022. Now, I thought QB Aaron Rodgers was coming with him, but when that didn’t happen, I felt Hackett could get the best from Wilson.

That didn’t happen, and it seemed like Hackett let Wilson do things that didn’t work. Hackett didn’t have much direction for Wilson, and the young staff around him on both sides of the ball didn’t do him any favors. He was fired in his first season, and Hackett didn’t even get to coach for a full season before the Broncos pulled the plug. That’s why Payton called Hackett’s work one of the worst jobs in NFL history.

Well, Hackett got his revenge on Sunday. The Jets had been scoring less than 16 points per game, and their offense exploded for 24 points against the Broncos on Sunday. Hackett seemed nervous in the first half, but he settled things down for his team and adjusted at halftime that worked to near perfection. While the Broncos had one yard for most of the second half, the Jets kept running the ball down Denver’s throat. Hackett was elated after the game, but the Jets’ OC didn’t say much about the win. He didn’t have to, as Jets’ HC Robert Saleh gave him a game ball and the team was overjoyed by the gesture.

It’s clear the Jets used Payton’s words as motivation on Sunday, and Hackett’s offense was nearly unstoppable in Week 5 – specifically in the second half. The Jets celebrated Hackett, and they rallied around him. That’s something the Broncos couldn’t do when he was their head coach.

***

OMG Zombie Stormtroopers!

I’m a lifelong Star Wars nerd. That’s one of the reasons why I was so excited for the premiere of the series “Ahsoka” on Disney-Plus. Ahsoka Tano, played by one of my favorite actresses Rosario Dawson, was the padawan of Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. That’s when she was a little girl, and now she’s a grown woman who could be one of the most powerful Jedi in history.

The series had the final episode last week, and I was happy with the way things wrapped up. I’m not going to give anything away, but there was an “Empire Strikes Back” feel to the way the first season ended. Now, it’s not as fantastic as ESB, but I thought this was as good as the first season of “The Mandalorian.” Disney has not done great work with the Star Wars franchise, and they’ve kind of run it into the ground. The “Ahsoka” series felt like Star Wars – something most of what Disney has produced cannot do.

I appreciate the introduction of new destinations and new characters in this series. I also appreciate how animated characters from the “Clone Wars” cartoon make their way into live action. I’m not spoiling anything, as you can see the reanimated Stormtroopers in the trailer for the finale below, but it was damn cool to see zombie Stormtroopers in Star Wars. The series wasn’t perfect, but I like what was set up in this production.

What did you think of “Ahsoka” on Disney-Plus? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

***

Mile High Monday

Courtland Sutton...

Cecil Lammey

Sutton developing chemistry with Nix is the big story of minicamp

After missing voluntary workouts so far this offseason, the veteran wideout returns for mandatory minicamp, needing to find a connection

4 days ago

Quarterback Bo Nix #10 of the Denver Broncos...

Cecil Lammey

The Broncos roster is better than what some people think

Pro Football Focus ranked the Broncos roster dead last in the NFL, a distinction that doesn't seem accurate after watching OTAs

11 days ago

Devaughn Vele Broncos wide receiver...

Cecil Lammey

Has Sean Payton found another late-round gem at wideout?

Back in 2006, the Broncos coach found a gem when he was with the Saints in Marques Colston; has he done it again with a seventh-rounder

18 days ago

Broncos QB Bo Nix Broncos-Seahawks...

Cecil Lammey

Broncos Country, there’s no reason not to believe in Bo Nix

Sean Payton believes in his rookie quarterback, which is all the reason Broncos fans need to get behind the No. 12 overall pick in the draft

25 days ago

Broncos QB Bo Nix...

Cecil Lammey

Bo Nix shows that he’s more than just a dink-and-dunk passer

At the Broncos rookie minicamp, Sean Payton was drawing up ways for his first-year quarterback to go deep, as Bo Nix was airing it out

1 month ago

Bo Nix...

Cecil Lammey

It’s all about fit in the NFL, which is why Bo Nix will thrive in Denver

Being in the right place at the right time is what often determines success, something the Broncos rookie quarterback has going for him

1 month ago

Between now and the trade deadline, the Broncos need to be sellers