MILE HIGH MONDAY

Jarrett Stidham laid an egg in his audition for QB job

Jan 8, 2024, 6:22 AM

The Denver Broncos wrapped up the first season of the Sean Payton era on Sunday with a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. It was not a great way to end the season, losing 27-14 to a bad team, but this is what we got. Now, it’s time to think about building through the NFL draft for the 2024 season.

I like – nay LOVE – the draft season. While the regular season is a grind (especially in December), when we move into draft season, I get happier than I do all year long.

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.

***

Cecil Season

The regular season is over, and the NFL Playoffs are here. That’s great for the league, but there’s another season that has started now that the postseason is here – draft season.

This is what fans have been dubbing “Cecil Season” for years in the Denver area. I started traveling to both the Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl 18 years ago in January, and I have not missed a game during that time. At these All-Star games, I’m able to talk to my friends in the scouting community and take the pulse on prospects entering the league in the NFL draft.

The regular season burns me out every year, and 17 games don’t help. The draft season is invigorating, and it excites me to no end each and every year. It’s team-versus-team, and player-versus-player during the regular season. In the draft season, it’s GM-versus-GM instead and it’s fun to watch the process. It’s fun to be a part of the process, as scouting players is what I love.

I cannot wait to get on the road later this month. It’s my favorite time for year, but this is also going to be one of the most important drafts for the Broncos in their team history. Things need to turn around – quickly – and that can happen with a good draft.

***

Now, There are Two Needs at QB

Over the last two games, QB Jarrett Stidham had an audition for the Broncos. Things haven’t gone well for the veteran quarterback. Yes, the Sean Payton offense has returned with crossers, slants, and in-breaking routes. However, Stidham did not play consistently enough for this team to lock him in as a potential Week 1 starter in 2024.

In fact, Stidham may not win the backup job next season. I think the Broncos will move up in the draft to select a quarterback, and that player is most likely their starter. That player, let’s say for example Washington QB Michael Penix Jr, may not be ready to start in Week 1. I thought perhaps Stidham would be a “bridge” quarterback who could start early in the season only to relinquish the job when the rookie was ready mid-season.

Now, I think Stidham needs to compete for the backup job in 2024 – and I don’t want him anywhere near the starting job. Denver needs to be better – and fast – which does not happen if Stidham is out there. He was hand-picked by Payton, and he had all season to develop. While guys like Mason Rudolph (Pittsburgh Steelers) are making the most of their late-season advantage, Stidham is not and that means he can’t be counted on in the future.

Stidham can compete for the backup job in training camp, but I’d prefer another player to be the veteran backup behind a first-round rookie quarterback.

***

Fire VJ Now?

I wanted Broncos DC Vance Joseph to be fired after the debacle against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3. When you give up 70 points in a game, that’s not a great look, and I thought the Broncos would make the early-season dismissal. They did not fire Joseph, but now that the season is wrapped up, they should be considering that move.

Joseph has never been a great defensive coordinator outside of one year with the Arizona Cardinals. With multiple teams (Broncos, Cardinals, Miami Dolphins), he’s mostly been a below-average coach and this year is no different. The Broncos ranked 31st against the run, 22nd against the pass, and 30th overall this year. That’s simply not good enough for a team that is trying to turn things around after seven straight losing seasons.

Yes, the players love Joseph. That’s fine, and he is known as a leader of men. However, they’d like a coach that gets them better production. A “player’s coach” is fine so long as the results are there. Simply put, the results are not there with Joseph. The Broncos would accept mediocrity (at best) if they kept Joseph.

It’s past time for the Broncos to upgrade their defensive coordinator spot. Who that coach is remains to be seen, and they’d have to first move on from Joseph.

***

Chocolate and Peanut Butter

In Mile High Monday, I wrote about the debut of Skybound’s “Void Rivals” in comics last year. Robert Kirkman, the creator of “The Walking Dead”, bought the rights to GI Joe and Transformers for his company Skybound. Last year, he revealed that the universes were now combined in his new series Void Rivals.

I have enjoyed where these two ’80s franchises are going together. It’s an unusual idea, although we did see GI Joe versus the Transformers in a limited series for Marvel 30 years ago. Void Rivals is a story that anyone can pick up on, regardless of whether you liked GI Joe or Transformers from back in the day. It’s an accessible story that kicks off a new universe that is exciting for comic book fans.

This has now led Skybound to spin off the series in titles like “Duke” and “Cobra Commander” coming out in 2024. I’m here for it all. As a fan of both franchises, this is like combining chocolate and peanut butter – it’s perfect!

Are you excited about this shared universe between Transformers and GI Joe? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

***

Mile High Monday

Bo Nix Broncos mock draft...

Cecil Lammey

Bo Nix can solidify his draft status this week at the Combine

After a rough showing at the Senior Bowl, the Oregon quarterback needs to have a good showing in Indianapolis to be a top-10 pick

3 days ago

Nik Bonitto...

Cecil Lammey

A decision on Justin Fields will impact the Broncos plans at QB

What the Bears decide to do with their current quarterback, given that they hold the No. 1 overall pick, will be the first domino to fall

10 days ago

Patrick Mahomes...

Cecil Lammey

Reid, Mahomes and the Chiefs aren’t going away any time soon

Super Bowl LVIII didn't mark a coronation of the Chiefs dynasty; instead, it served as a reminder that Kansas City is just getting started

17 days ago

Spencer Rattler...

Cecil Lammey

With Broncos in need, a tale of three QBs at the Senior Bowl

Michael Penix, Bo Nix and Spencer Rattler all had a chance to show off in Mobile, providing the Broncos with plenty to think about at QB

24 days ago

Isiah Pacheco...

Cecil Lammey

Isiah Pacheco was a miss for the Broncos; one they can fix in 2024

Denver should've taken the Kansas City running back in the 2022 NFL Draft, a mistake they can correct with a similar player this year

1 month ago

Sean Payton Russell Wilson Broncos...

Cecil Lammey

Playoffs thus far showed the Broncos weren’t ready to compete yet

The Denver Broncos are not in the postseason, and that may have been a good thing based on what we saw over the weekend

1 month ago

Jarrett Stidham laid an egg in his audition for QB job