MILE HIGH MONDAY

Loss to the Patriots could end Russell Wilson’s time with Broncos

Dec 25, 2023, 8:53 AM | Updated: Dec 26, 2023, 8:05 am

The Denver Broncos played on Christmas Eve, but Broncos Country was not celebrating after the team lost by a score of 26-23. It was a disappointing finish after a frustrating performance.

I like when the Broncos make the playoffs, but this loss likely ended the possibility of Denver playing in the postseason.

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.

***

They Were Inconsistent

The loss to the Patriots was fascinating to watch for a second time. As the game was live, I noted how inconsistent the Broncos were on both offense and defense. Watching the game a second time, the inconsistency was a glaring problem.

Early in the game, the defense was playing good football against an average-at-best offense. At halftime, the score was 7-3 with the Broncos in the lead. The Patriots offense seemed inept against the Denver defense. The Broncos had already gotten an early turnover – a key on their winning streak – and things were looking good on that side of the ball.

Then, in the third quarter, the Patriots offense came to life. While the Broncos locked down Patriots QB Bailey Zappe in the first half, the adjustments made by New England worked. Part of the adjustments included going after CB Pat Surtain in coverage. These plays to WR DeVante Parker worked, and it ended up costing the Broncos the game. On their final drive, the Patriots attacked Surtain and set themselves up for the game-winning field goal. They were good early, but the Broncos failed late.

There have been inconsistencies from the coaching staff over the last two games. Both contests were losses for the Broncos, so it goes without saying that if they’re more consistent they’ll give themselves the best chance to win their final two games of the 2023 season.

***

Future of Russ in Question

You may not realize it, but I believe this game caused a shift in what could happen with QB Russell Wilson. With three games left, the Broncos had a good chance of making the playoffs – if they won out. If the Broncos made the playoffs, and perhaps even won a game or two, I felt Wilson would stick around as the team’s starter in 2024.

Now that the team is likely out of the postseason, I think Wilson’s future is more unknown than ever before. It’s clear now with only two games left that Wilson is not a good fit for HC Sean Payton. While Wilson is a quarterback who thrives on chaos, Payton wants a precise quarterback who thrives in the timing of his system. This has always been an odd pairing, but I give both parties credit for trying to make it work.

Payton is not running his offense, and Wilson is not working within a system that best brings out his ability to be special in moments. I think Wilson is doing what is asked of him, but he’s not as capable as other passers who have worked with Payton (most notably Drew Brees). That’s not to say Wilson can’t make plays, he just makes plays differently than Payton sets them up to be made.

The Broncos could still go with Russ and a rookie (first-round pick) in 2024. However, after this contest the Broncos might make the painful decision of moving off Wilson before his 2025 salary becomes fully guaranteed five days into the new league year. As always, Broncos Country will be tuned in.

***

On to Draft Season

My favorite time of year begins in January. The regular season is a grind, and I can get burned out this time of year. What really excites me is draft season, and that starts in the New Year. Well, with the Broncos likely out of the playoffs, it begins now this time around.

It’s time to watch college football bowl games and enjoy the next group of players coming into the NFL. In the next month, we will learn which players are coming to the pros and which players are staying in college. That news finalizes draft boards in terms of the players available, but the work when it comes to organizing the board begins.

I will soon be booking my trips for the Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl. This is year 18 that I will be traveling to both games in January. At these games, I have seen several future pros – and future Broncos – in an All-Star format. These games give me an insight into what players can be, and it’s good to catch up with my friends in the scouting community. It’s a lot of work, and a whirlwind two weeks of travel, but I love it. With no postseason plans for the Broncos, I can turn almost all my attention to the draft a bit early.

This draft could be historic for the Broncos. I believe they will be drafting a quarterback in the first round – no matter what they decide about Wilson. That player will be handpicked by Payton, and he will be tasked with being a franchise quarterback. I can’t wait to study all the players and find out who would be best for Denver to help them get back on top.

***

Going Out with a Whimper

The final movie in the DCEU debuted this week, and it looks as if this is going to be a total flop. The reviews are in, and they aren’t great, for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” This is the sequel to 2018’s “Aquaman” which netted over $1 nillion in revenue for Warner Bros. Costing $205 million to make, Aquaman 2 generated $120 million globally in the first week of release. It will make back how much it cost to produce, but this movie is unlikely to get anywhere near that billion-dollar mark.

James Gunn didn’t do this movie any favors. The new czar of the renamed “DCU” (he’s DC’s version of Marvel’s Kevin Feige) said that the events of his movie had no impact on what was to come in the joint cinematic universe. Gunn is currently working on rebooting the DC cinematic universe, and he will have a shared universe featuring fan favorites such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. However, Aquaman – at least this version of the character – will not be involved. Since fans know this movie doesn’t lead anywhere else, they are not compelled to go to the theater to watch this film. Add in perceived superhero fatigue, and you can see the problems this movie had were unavoidable.

Aquaman star Jason Mamoa is going to stay in the DCU, but rumors persist that he’s going to be cast as the anti-hero Lobo. First off, he should’ve been Lobo from the jump. Think Deadpool on steroids and more violent if you don’t know about Czarnia’s last son (Lobo is the last of his kind – because he eliminated everyone from his home planet).

Are you suffering from superhero fatigue, or are these just bad blockbusters? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

Mile High Monday

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