MILE HIGH MONDAY

Bye week provides chance to see how the Broncos stack up

Nov 6, 2023, 6:24 AM

The Denver Broncos enjoyed their bye week after winning their last two contests heading in Week 9 of the NFL season. Even though the Broncos were off, there’s still plenty of football action to go over.

I like when the Broncos get a break. I myself get a bit of a break when the Broncos are off, and I appreciate that given the hectic nature of the NFL season.

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.

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Just Get Your Guy

Sean Payton needs to find his quarterback. I believe it’s clear from film study that Payton does not fully trust QB Russell Wilson. Payton is simplifying his game plan, and he’s avoiding some of the concepts that he’s most famous for running all because Wilson cannot run them. That has people thinking Payton will somehow move on from Wilson so he can get “his guy” in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Yes, Payton did publicly praise USC QB Caleb Williams when he was a Fox analyst, but the search is not just “Williams or bust” in my opinion. There could be as many as five of six quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft, although I currently only have three quarterbacks with that grade. We’ll see if that changes with more film study, especially when I ramp things up in the new year.

I think you need to look no further than the Houston Texans to see what I mean by “just get your guy.” Stroud was my No. 2 quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, behind Alabama’s Bryce Young. We saw the Carolina Panthers move heaven and Earth to move up to the No. 1 overall pick for Young. The Texans were able to get Stroud at No. 2 overall, and they were happy because he was “the guy” for HC Demeco Ryans. While Young is struggling as a rookie, Stroud is thriving because his coach is crafting a system that fits what Stroud can do. Watch his five-touchdown performance from Sunday, and you’ll see why the Texans have their guy in Stroud.

The Texans have their guy in Stroud, and he’s a perfect fit for what they want to do on offense. Payton needs to find a similar player with the “fit” being key to future success.

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Can I Play, Uncle Pete?

The Seattle Seahawks love QB Drew Lock. I know enough people around that building who believe Lock can be a solid starter for them if he gets the chance. Lock was traded away from the Broncos in the move to add Wilson, and he’s currently the No. 2 on the depth chart for Seattle behind starting QB Geno Smith.

We’ve seen Smith go from a second-round pick of the New York Jets, largely considered a bust, to a solid starter with the Seahawks after spending time behind Wilson. Smith got a second chance to prove himself as a starter, and he’s done a good job of making the most of that chance. However, we’ve seen Smith struggle to make plays against tougher defenses. Look at what happened on Sunday agains the Baltimore Ravens. Smith was less than a 50 percent passer, threw an interception and lost a fumble as the Ravens won 37-3 in Week 9.

If Smith continues to struggle, would Seattle consider a move to Lock? I’m certain they would do just that – especially if a playoff berth is on the line. This is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ league, and if Smith is not playing good football, then Seahawks HC Pete Carroll will consider making a change. Seattle fans are already talking about this move, and it should be something they’re considering inside the building.

Smith was a great story last year, but he needs to play better this season if he wants to hang onto the starting job. Lock stayed in Seattle so he could get his chance, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it happen before the end of this season.

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Playoff Picture Reveals A Lot

The Broncos want to push for the playoffs, but that’s unlikely to happen in 2023. I’d like to see the Broncos ‘in the hunt’ toward Week 14 or so, but to make the postseason they would have to go on an improbable run. Currently, the Broncos have about a 10 percent chance of making the playoffs.

So, what does the current playoff picture say about the Buffalo Bills? We all love QB Josh Allen, but the window is not as wide open for this team as it used to be – partly due to Allen’s play. They lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football and fell to a 5-4 record. That mark means the Bills would not make the postseason if the playoffs began today. The Broncos are struggling this year, but not many expected much in Payton’s first year. The Bills were supposed to be a Super Bowl contender, but they are struggling to find their way.

Look at how strong teams like the Ravens seem as we get past the halfway point of the season. The Kansas City Chiefs took care of business against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9, and the Dolphins are 0-3 against teams that are above .500 so far in 2023. Like the Bills, the Dolphins need to get it done against tougher teams. Beating up on the Broncos is one thing, but taking down NFL elites is much different. The Dolphins are at least in the playoffs right now, something the Bills cannot say.

With the Bills up next for the Broncos – on “Monday Night Football” in Week 10 – they had better be ready for a motivated team. Things don’t get much easier than the Broncos on the remaining schedule for the Bills with games coming up against the Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Dolphins just to name a few. Denver has a bye to prepare for a beatable Bills team – but they’re talented and desperate. That’s a dangerous combination.

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Peter Parker is Spider-man

It’s interesting what you see trending on Twitter. As I’m winding down on Sunday night, I happen to see “Peter Parker is Spider-man” is trending. It doesn’t take me long to see why, and it’s kind of what I expected.

On Oct. 20, Spider-man 2 was released on the PS5. I’m an Xbox guy, but I do have a PlayStation – specifically for this exclusive. The Spider-man games are some of the bests in video games in history, and as a comic book fan I cannot miss these releases even though I prefer gaming on Xbox Live.

Well, this phrase was trending because it was revealed by some of the writers on the game that Miles Morales (the Spider-man from the Earth 1610 Universe) is going to be the main Spider-man in the Insomniac Games video game universe. That announcement has old heads going off on something that is not that important comparatively speaking. If you watched the latest Morales movie “Across the Spider-verse” then you already know that there are thousands of different people who take on the mantle of Spidey in their respective universes. Arguing that Parker is the only webslinger doesn’t understand the nature of the character.

What did you think of the new Spider-man game on PS5? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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Bye week provides chance to see how the Broncos stack up