MILE HIGH MONDAY

Jarrett Stidham was in total control during his first Broncos start

Jan 1, 2024, 7:13 AM | Updated: 8:12 am

The Denver Broncos won with a new quarterback on Sunday afternoon. On New Year’s Eve, Denver beat the Los Angeles Chargers with Jarrett Stidham under center and not Russell Wilson.

I like when the Broncos look sharp on offense, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday. I believe things can improve for the season finale, but it was a disappointing performance even though they won in Week 17.

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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Stidham in Control

Most fans were not impressed with QB Jarrett Stidham in his first start for the Broncos, and many say he looked like Russell Wilson would have. Statistically, he didn’t have a great game against the Chargers. Stidham finished the game going 20-of-32 for 224 yards and one touchdown. Yeah, that’s not great, but I think you should look past the box score when grading Stidham’s performance.

He was running the Sean Payton offense true to design. The commentators during the game admitted as much, and it was clear by the route combinations to see how Payton wanted to craft his scheme – and how Wilson was failing to run the offense. There were in-breaking routes, crossing routes, and even some sail concepts for Stidham. He was making full field reads, but Stidham was off with some of his throws.

Mainly, Stidham was in control. Yes, some of his passes were off, but he mostly was making the right reads and attacking the defense vertically. Add in one of those deep passes that were off the mark (like the one to Phillip Dorsett), and Stidham’s numbers would have pushed over 250 yards – which is what I had him projected for in Week 17.

I’m curious to see if Stidham will be statistically better next week. He’s in control, but his chemistry with receivers like Jerry Jeudy and Brandon Johnson needs to improve.

***

Surtain Struggles?

Broncos CB Pat Surtain is one of the best in the league at his position, so why does it seem like he’s struggling more than he should? Last week against the New England Patriots, Surtain let WR DeVante Parker get open on a fade-stop route with the game on the line. The play moved the chains for the Patriots as they worked their way down the field to score and eventually win.

This week, Surtain let rookie WR Quentin Johnston get open on a play. Instead of forcing a punt, Surtain was playing off coverage and the rookie got open to move the chains. Parker is not a special receiver, and Johnston is just a rookie, so they shouldn’t be getting open on key plays against Surtain.

Overall, Surtain is performing better than some think. Every cornerback is going to give up a play from time to time, and Surtain is no different. I would like to see him make more game-changing plays but overall, I’m pleased with his performance on a weekly basis.

I believe Surtain is a top-five corner, but I also believe that he’s not being put in the right position at times. Broncos DC Vance Joseph needs to tell Surtain to get in a player’s kitchen because he’s got the physicality to play press coverage.

***

Fresh Threads?

We may see the Broncos get a uniform upgrade in 2024. Fans have been waiting for some time as their current jerseys have been around since the 1997 season. That’s coming up on nearly 30 years with the same look, and it’s time for a change.

The Walton-Penner group likely had a plan to change jerseys when they bought the team. It’s common for new owners to change the jerseys to signal a new era for their teams. Walton-Penner could make the move to change things for the Broncos since the current jerseys bring up memories of John Elway or Peyton Manning.

Perhaps the team will draft a new rookie franchise quarterback in 2024. If that’s the case, then it might make sense to double dip. Keep the current jersey for one more year, then get a jersey change in 2025. That way fans would be prompted to buy both versions of Jayden Daniels (fingers crossed) or whatever rookie the Broncos choose to lead their franchise into the future.

When the Broncos change their jerseys, I hope it includes some of the old school styling from their classic design. I’d like to see a return of the “D” and the snorting horse to the helmet, and I would love to see white jerseys and orange pants – at least as an alternative jersey.

***

Next Level

It’s a new year, and I hope that 2024 brings you everything you want and more. Last year was a big year for me personally. I launched my independent comic book company, Smokin Gun Comics, in 2023 and debuted three of my eight intellectual properties (Fake Boos, Suimmortal, Death Support) to the public via Kickstarter.

I was thrilled at the end of December when the artwork for my final IP “Terminally Kill” was completed. In a little over a year, I was able to finish all eight IPs with 8-page ashcans to debut the stories. Five of the eight IPs have been printed, and all eight will eventually end up on crowdfunding sites. However, it was time to up my game and take my company to the next level.

I was working behind the scenes to secure one of the best artists over the last 30 years in the comic book industry, and I’m proud to announce a deal has been done. On Monday, I announced that colorist Dan Kemp was hired to work on my first four-issue limited series for “Suimmortal: The Awakening.” Kemp is best known for his work on the Amazing Spider-man and Spawn, and he’s been working in the industry since the 90s on some of the best-selling titles. My ashcans have all been black-and-white stories, and now I am going to be adding color to the pages. This year, I will be working on a four-issue limited series which will also be collected into a trade paperback. It’s a big project, but one I’m ready for and having Kemp on board only takes my comics to the next level.

What are some of your goals for 2024? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

Mile High Monday

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