MILE HIGH MONDAY

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

Jan 22, 2024, 6:43 AM | Updated: 6:47 am

The NFL Playoffs were fun to watch this weekend! That’s not always the case in the postseason, but this year, we were treated to a good round in the second week of the playoffs.

I like watching good football. It’s looking like an ideal matchup in the Super Bowl later this year, and the NFL’s popularity seems to be at an all-time high.

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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Championship Games Set

There was nothing “super” about the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend a week ago. However, the Divisional Round was much more fun to watch, as almost every game was a good one. We haven’t seen much good football this season, and I blame poor quarterback play. Getting deeper into the postseason, we cut down on that factor and that’s why the games are better.

The Baltimore Ravens have the most-dangerous player in the league in quarterback Lamar Jackson. He’s a superb runner and a threat to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball. However, I appreciate how Jackson has developed as a passer. With so many overlooking his passing skill, Jackson has sharpened that part of his game in 2023 – and that’s made him even more dangerous. Right now, the Ravens look unstoppable.

On the NFC side, the Detroit Lions are making a playoff run like most of us have never seen. With QB Jared Goff playing good football, the Lions find themselves one game away from the Super Bowl. While Goff is not as physically gifted as a player like Jackson, he’s operating the system that Lions’ offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has set up for him. The Lions have won two playoff games at home this postseason, and now they’ll travel to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Championship Game.

I think we’ll see the Ravens and the 49ers in the Super Bowl, but nothing is a given in the postseason. When we get to see good football, like we did over the weekend, it’s just a reminder why I love this game so much. Anything can happen, and that alone keeps fans on the edge of their seats.

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Love Pacheco, Hate KC

The Broncos should have selected Rutgers RB Isiah Pacheco on day three of the 2022 NFL draft. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, because you probably have, but why in the heck did Broncos’ GM George Paton choose guys like WR Montrell Washington over Pacheco? It’s even more puzzling as Pacheco was at Broncos HQ for a top-30 visit. He was clearly on their radar, and not drafting him is just another mistake for Paton.

I’ve complained about this since the moment it happened, and I’ve felt personally offended that even some of my coworkers at The Fan were perplexed as to why I was making such a big deal about a seventh-round pick. If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s finding late-round talent. Pacheco was a standout player on film at Rutgers, and I further fell in love with him at the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl practices. I’ve been attending these practices and scouting players in person for almost 20 years now (18 to be exact), and I’ve never seen a running back with a combination of power, intent, and blazing speed like Pacheco. In the late rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, it was an easy call to draft a back who runs angry – and runs a 4.2 40-yard dash.

I can’t stand the Kansas City Chiefs for multiple reasons. I have Chiefs fatigue, and even though I hate the Ravens, I want to see Kansas City bounced from the postseason. I thought the Buffalo Bills were going to do it on Sunday, but the play of Pacheco kept moving the chains for the Chiefs late in the game. Pacheco finished with 15 carries for 97 yards – a total number better than any single game from a Broncos back in 2023.

If the Broncos want a player like Pacheco on day three of the 2024 NFL Draft, I’ve found another player like him – Tennessee RB Jaylen Wright. He’s a 4.3 40-yard dash guy, and he certainly chooses violence when he’s toting the rock. I’ve done an early swipe at his scouting report, and as I further compile the details, I may fall in love with Wright the way I did with Pacheco – but the “one that got away” will always sting.

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Wasting Josh

Bills QB Josh Allen is one of my favorite players in the league. He’s as close to John Elway as we’ll see in today’s NFL. He’s big, he’s athletic, and he’s got one of the strongest arms in league history. Having scouted Allen from field level at the Wyoming pro day years ago, some of his rocket passes are downright scary.

The Bills are wasting Allen. They entered 2023 as a Super Bowl favorite, yet they lost to teams like the Broncos and had to fight and claw their way into the postseason. They got a “gimme” game in the Wild Card Round against a bad Pittsburgh Steelers team, but they were able to get the Chiefs at home in what could have been a “revenge” game for them.

Instead of crafting the best plan for Allen, Bills HC Sean McDermott continues to look lost on the sidelines. During the season, the Bills fired their offensive coordinator to help the offense – and they did get a spark. However, McDermott seems intent on basically ignoring that side of the ball since he’s a defensive guy. Well, his defense could not stop Pacheco or TE Travis Kelce and gave up almost 30 points in a home playoff game.

Winning a playoff game and advancing to the Divisional Round does not automatically guarantee a coach gets to keep his job. There are multiple reasons to move on from McDermott, but paramount among them is Buffalo needs to find someone who can get the most from Allen. Simply put, that’s not McDermott, and the Bills would be wise to move on.

***

Deadpool in the Super Bowl!

Nerds like me are buzzing because we should see the first theatrical trailer for “Deadpool 3” during the upcoming Super Bowl. New promotional art is out as everyone gets excited for the blockbuster later this summer.

I’ve read some breakdowns of the trailer that I won’t spoil here, but if the rumors are true, I think fans are going to be blown away by what they see – and what is teased in the trailer.

We’re all waiting for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be great again, and I think Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool will do just that. Watching him fight Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is something straight from the pages of the comics (Wolverine 88, Wolverine 155 specifically).

Are you as amped up as I am to see the first trailer for Deadpool? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

Mile High Monday

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