Explaining why the Broncos should go all in on tanking this season
Oct 20, 2023, 6:13 AM | Updated: 9:27 am
Ever since the Broncos lost to Washington in Week 2, I’ve been calling for the Broncos to tank. While more and more fans and media have jumped on that bandwagon over subsequent weeks, there is still a vocal (minority?) of Broncos Country who believes that is a terrible idea. It reached a crescendo this week during my show with Stink when a listener sent me this terse text:
“Mike Evans has a loser mentality.”
Let me take this time to explain why I want the Broncos to tank. It has nothing to do with having a loser mentality. It has everything to do with what is the reality of the Broncos’ situation.
Simply put, the eight years of slapping band-aids on the problem has got to stop. There needs to be an understanding that it’s time to strip this thing down to the studs and rebuild.
When I suggest tanking, I don’t mean I want the players to go out and try to lose. I expect them to be professionals and try their best. Tanking comes from the front office in the forms of trading off players for draft picks, stashing players on season-ending injured reserve and cutting back veterans’ playing time to give younger players a longer look.
I hadn’t thought about the coaches being involved in the tanking process until I recently heard Philip Lindsay suggest Sean Payton was setting Russell Wilson up to fail with some of his play calling. While my more reasonable half chalks this up to poor coaching, the little devil perched on my shoulder wouldn’t necessarily mind if this was being done intentionally.
So why do I want the Broncos to lose? The answer is they need better players and finishing with as high a first-round pick as possible is the best path to getting a great player.
If that pick can be in the top two and it would allow the Broncos to get, in the words of Joel Klatt, a “generational” QB like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, then let’s do it. If it means picking somewhere between No. 3 and 5 in the first round and being able to snare a stud left tackle, then sign me up.
Please don’t try and tell me losing isn’t beneficial. Take a look at the way the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup-winning core was built.
In 2011, the Avs had just 68 points and missed the playoffs. They drafted Gabe Landeskog at No. 2 overall. In 2013, they finished with 39 points in a shortened season and missed the playoffs. They drafted Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 overall pick. In 2015, they missed the playoffs yet again and drafted Mikko Rantanen at No. 10 overall. Finally in 2017, they stumbled home with a franchise worst 48 points. Their consolation prize? Cale Makar with the fourth-overall pick.
Moral of the story? Please don’t tell me losing big can’t pay off in the long run.