With each passing week, the Denver Broncos season manages to become even more depressing than fans thought was possible. In Week 12, the Broncos faced off against the equally struggling Carolina Panthers. Except this week, the Broncos made the Panthers look like an okay team. They even managed to make Sam Darnold look like a serviceable quarterback.
Like in previous weeks, there is plenty of blame to go around for the Broncos’ current struggles. But let’s discuss the Broncos most to blame for the Week 12 loss against the Panthers.
3. QB Russell Wilson
The Wilson era in Denver is off to an absolutely brutal start. We are just past the halfway mark of his first season in orange and blue, and many Broncos fans are discussing cutting, waiving, and trading Wilson.
While it is a bit early to make any major decisions on Wilson’s tenure with the Broncos, he certainly isn’t doing anything to prove that he is still a capable quarterback. The Broncos also signed Wilson to a mega-contract in the offseason. So even if Wilson has seriously regressed, the Broncos are unfortunately tied to him for a while.
Wilson finished the game against the Panthers with an abysmal 29.1 quarterback rating. The offensive line provided Wilson with very little help as well. Many of his passes were batted down, and he also seemed to constantly have defenders in his face.
The Broncos’ offense continued to look awful, and only managed one touchdown the entire game. The team barely crawled into double digits thanks to a field goal from Brandon McManus. Needless to say, the Broncos’ offense is in total disarray. Wilson has performed horribly all season, as has the rest of the offense around him. It’s hard to say that there will be any monumental improvements for the rest of the season.
2. The entire Broncos offensive line
Offenses will only go as far as an offensive line will let it go. The big guys up front have quite the task of keeping the quarterback protected and upright. Unfortunately for Wilson, he’s seen the turf far more than a quarterback should. He’s also left scrambling for his life far more than a quarterback should.
The Broncos’ offensive line is currently comprised of mostly 3rd and 4th stringers, thanks to being shredded by injuries throughout the season. Prior to all the injuries, the offense was still performing poorly. So basically the offensive line getting more injured throughout the season just added insult to injury (literally.)
No moves have been made to improve the offensive line. No signings, no trades before the deadline, nothing. Instead, the Broncos have been forced to try reshuffling in a desperate attempt to find a combination that works. So far, there has been no winning combination. Looks like the Broncos might be stuck trying to make this struggling offensive line work for the remainder of the season.
1. Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett
Another week, another article that Hackett appears in where his head coaching efforts are being critiqued.
Hackett has had a brutal start to his first head coaching gig. If you look at all the other first-time head coaches this year, Hackett is easily having the worst season. An argument could be made that Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus could be having a worse season based on his current record of 3-9. But the thing is, the Bears’ offense can actually score points and has shown signs of promise. There is no sign of promise with anything on the Broncos’ offense.
Because of the Bears showing some signs of promise for the future with Justin Fields and Eberflus, there hasn’t been a widespread call for Eberflus to lose his job. In Broncos Country, however, there has been a demand for Hackett to be fired. Not a call, but an actual demand for him to lose his job. It’s hard to blame the fans for this, as again, the Broncos have had virtually no sign of life in 2022.
It took Hackett 10+ weeks to turn over the play-calling duties to another coach on staff. That change aside, there have been very few adjustments or changes made. Instead, Hackett continues to trot out a scarily bad team week in and week out.
Right now the future in Broncos Country looks bleak and scary. Some big decisions and changes need to be made sooner rather than later.